TGIF! Today I’m going to address scheduling. AHHHHH! The most dreaded requirement of our job. I’m going to share the steps I do in this process. My biggest tip to new SLPs is to communicate constantly with guidance counselors, principals, and teachers to make the process a little easier for everyone.
- Obtain class lists from principal, assistant principal or guidance counselor. Obtain a FTE list of all of your students that includes their services and IEP minutes. Get a master school schedule (this is going to change even after school begins so wait until the latter portion of the first week that students start before you really start arranging the schedule).
- Even though you have obtained an FTE list, you still need to go directly to the original IEPs because, unfortunately, sometimes the minutes are wrong in the system. Make stacks of each student’s file into grades and self contained classes. Create a list on top of each pile that includes student’s name, service (speech or language) and teacher. See below:
- Check with guidance everyday to see if there are any new speech or language students that have enrolled. Start tracking down those transfer students’ IEPs, make copies and create files for them.
- Find out when you are allowed to pull students out of their classes if you are going to be providing the pull out service delivery model. In Florida, you are restricted from pulling during the Reading/Language Arts block and PE. It may also help you to see when the previous SLP at your school pulled from. I try not to pull students from academic slots so I try to see them during their RTI/Intervention times since speech and/or language is considered an intervention. The teachers have been very receptive to this time slot since they aren’t being pulled from Math or Science. E-mail team leaders to see what their team prefers. Some teams may prefer you to pull from their center time versus intervention (for example: Kindergarten) or sometimes they may prefer you to pull from Math versus Science (5th grade is assessed in Science in Florida). If you are at a Magnet program, such as a Science based program, they may not want you to pull from the Science labs. It gets tricky but communication is key! Everyone wants what is best for their students.
- If a student has inclusion minutes on his/her IEP, find out from the teacher when the best time would be. Usually there is a center/rotation time during the reading/language arts block which would be conducive to providing s/l therapy. This approach would work with going into self-contained classes as well. The self-contained ESE teachers usually have more flexibility when setting up their own schedule so start communicating with them early.
- Once you have started figuring out therapy times and IEP minutes, I start listing the time slots. (Use pencil!)
For example: K : 8-8:30
3rd: 8:45-9:15 and so on
- Then I start writing out the times/days in sequence on a white board. Start putting students in groups by grades and minutes on post in notes (so you can move them around) in appropriate slots. For instance, put the child’s name, IEP minutes (ex: 60 mpw), service (speech, language,etc), and teacher. Your post it notes may look like this (use pencil):
And your whiteboard schedule may look like this:
- After you have figured out your schedule on the whiteboard, start inputting into an excel document. It can be really simple like the one found here: http://www.speakingofspeech.com/Caseload_Management.html (scroll down to SLP sample schedule)
- Collaborate with other specialists to ensure your schedules don’t overlap with the students you share.
- Don’t forget to give yourself a lunch and some planning times!! It is very important for sanity purposes! Also, your schedule is going to change at least 5-10 times; this is normal
I’m sure I omitted several tips..so if you think of any more, please comment below! Good luck!