Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's a Dream Job + Scheduling

I just finished half of a week of therapy with no glitches in my schedule.  Honestly, when I hear about other SLPs  having such a hard time with scheduling, I just shake my head.  Now, you have to remember, I have an absolute dream job.  Yes, even after my 9th year in this school system, I can still say that.  The reason is that, even though I have over 60 students on my caseload, I don't see that many. (I see a little more than half of my caseload for services.) My school system has chosen to contract for the medicaid students' speech/language therapy.  What does that mean?  I do the paperwork that goes along with the IEP Process, and the contract company does the evaluating and conducts the therapy.  They send us their evaluation reports, and, this year, they will do their own progress reports.  We plug the information from their reports into our online IEP program and hold the meetings.  There are times when there are a few tweaks we have to make:  we write the IEP as if we are going to see the student in therapy.  If the student's medicaid should term, we would pick them up immediately so there is not a disruption of services.
When I worked in a different state, we did our own medicaid billing, and it really wasn't that bad. We had a form on the computer, so we just had to plug in our information.  We each had around 55 students on our caseload, and we could see them in a group of no more than 6.  The contract company for my current (and final!) school system sees the students individually, and will make up their sessions if either the SLP/SLPA or student is absent.  This allows the School SLPs to see their students in smaller groups, which, as everyone knows, means faster progress.  Isn't it our goal to get them in and get them out as quickly as possible?
I'm telling you all of this so you can understand that I may have different circumstances when creating a schedule.  As I explained in a post titled, That "S" Word, I give the teachers the following form:
I used the same form this year, and blocked off time for S-Team.  At my MWF school, every single one of the teachers blocked off the morning times, and I was still able to get a schedule in 10 minutes. (I plugged my special ed students & walk-ins during the mornings.)  Well, about 15-20 if you want to count the extra time I had to take when one of my teachers didn't mark off his specials, and of course that was the time I picked!  My T/Th school took just about the same amount of time.
The reason I talked about the medicaid students in the beginning of this post was to let you know that I didn't have that many students to schedule.  That being said, last year, when I had a school for 3 days that should be a 5 day school, I still didn't have any difficulty with my schedule.  
Here are the keys to almost stress-free scheduling:
*  Don't look at the schedule requests until everybody's are in.
*  You know you have students who have to be put in the schedule first.  I always have special ed students who have certain times they can be pulled, and you have to work around OT and/or PT.
*  5th grade students have priority since their academic demands are the greatest, followed by 4th, then 3rd.  
That's basically it.  I schedule the students in the same classroom for the same time so as not to interrupt the teacher more than is necessary.  Last year (at my overloaded school) I had a couple of groups that had 5 students. I've really gotten spoiled with my current school system:  there was a time when I was used to having 4-5 in almost every group; now, I don't like to have 4 in a group...I think that's too many!
How do you schedule your students?  Do you think this would work for you?

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to Use Labels for Collecting Data

Hopefully this will clear up any questions anyone may have about how I use labels for collecting data.  It's very quick, very easy, and no ink cartridges are involved!
Questions?  Leave a comment below, or email me at:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mountain School

I revealed the layout and decor of my new/old school a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I would do a quick video of my "mountain school"!
I absolutely love my room in this school!  It's small and away from everything, but not too far away!  I get left alone, so it's very nice.  I don't have the room that my new/old school has, but I'm only here 2 days, so it's enough.  And, it does have 2 fairly large windows so I don't feel cramped.
How does it compare to your room?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Paper or Paperless?

This time of year, it's extremely difficult for me to restrain myself from buying cutesie calendars & planners.  From TpT to Office Supply Stores, there are more than a few choices.  I use my utmost restraint and don't buy them.  Some people say they have to have the paper in their hands, and that's okay.  Sometimes I feel the need to have something to hold, too.
What's the alternative?  Last year, I discovered that my Outlook Calendar was underutilized.  Not just by me, but by the teachers in my schools as well.  I absolutely love using Outlook.  I have access to my calendar on my computers at both of my schools, I can access it on my home computer, and it syncs to my iPad.  
I color-code my categories:  To Do, Tentative IEP Meetings, Scheduled IEP Meetings, etc.
It has saved me an enormous amount of time when scheduling meetings.  I double click on the date I want, and type in the subject as well as the other information.  Then, I click on "attendees", type in their addresses, and hit "send".  When the attendees get the email, they either accept or deny, and I get the response.  If they accept the day/time, it automatically appears on their calendar.  If they deny it, I know to try again.  You just wouldn't believe how much time this has saved.  
Unfortunately, one of my schools isn't quite a tech savvy as the other one, so they are having an adjustment period.  I told the faculty in a meeting that I have gone paperless with meetings, and that they would no longer receive a paper invitation to meetings. 
 There is a way to track your responses to your invitations so you can refer back and resend the invitation if needed.  If you need to change the day/time and the attendees have already responded, you can go into the calendar, click on the meeting, change the information, and you will get a pop-up box that asks if you want to send the revision to all attendees.  It's that easy.
Does your school system use Outlook or some other program that will do the same thing?  Or, are you a "paper person" & like it that way?

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Big Reveal!

A few weeks ago I posted a video of my room. And now...the big reveal!

One thing:  I meant to say "Jenn" instead of "Jenna".  (I knew I'd mess that up and say the wrong name!) 
 Special shout-out to Katie Winfrey for suggesting the calendar outlined with Washi Tape.  The calendar numbers are from 3 Dinosaurs (
Speech Slides and Language Ladders Bulletin Board is a freebie from Sublime Speech.  It is totally awesome of her to keep this free!  In the bag (that I decided to not show you) are  Game Pieces from AliMath (another freebie!).  
I'll write the students' initials with a dry-erase marker so they can tell which game piece is theirs.  
The Speech & Language Banner is from Heather's Speech Therapy.  Instead of punching holes in the individual letters, I hung the letters on black & white polka dot ribbon with these super cute clothespins I found at  Michael's:
They come in different colors; I'm using the black & white ones for my "artic ladder".
I hope you enjoyed the tour of my room.  I changed some things at my mountain school, but I have pretty much the same reinforcements, just in different colors.