A school-based speech-language pathology career can be stressful and complicated. It is particularly hectic when a new school year begins. However, there are measures that you can take as an SLP before the school year begins to help the year get off to a good start. Here are six back-to-school tips that can help you prepare for the upcoming school year.
Get Ready For The School Year With These Six Tips
Start a Computerized Caseload List
Use an organization system that is comfortable for you and add students as needed. Excel works great for this task. Sort your students by the annual review date to quickly see what meetings you will need to schedule. At the start of the year, check with school secretaries to see which students are still in attendance, check if there are new SLP students, and which students are no longer in the district. At the end of the year, update your list to reflect which students are moving, which students might be moving, and updating the students’ grade levels.
Create a Master Student Binder
This binder is where you can keep your students’ goal sheets, attendance forms, progress monitoring data sheets, and any other relevant forms. A 3” binder with tabbed dividers to separate students by grades works terrific. Are you figuring out the caseload? Print extra blank forms for more students and fill them in as the year progresses. Keep the binder at your desk and update it every week when time allows.
Make copies of teacher/parent explanation handouts to inform students’ teachers and parents why you are doing what you are doing and why speech-language therapy is essential. Please make a small packet for parents with a note regarding the days and times that you see their students. Make a larger packet for teachers with information regarding which students have which disorders.
Weekly Data Sheet
When you have your schedule set up, go ahead and enter student names into their time slot with their goals into a weekly datasheet. Print out a new sheet for each week. Leave space to write notes for each session and store the previous data sheets in the master student binder.
Reach out and send each teacher an email listing the students you see from their class, how much therapy time you need, and then request that each teacher give you three possible time slots for each student. Since responses often take time to come back, try to send the requests out early. Upon completion of your list, make each classroom teacher a schedule for their students.
Buy a folder for each student as their homework folder. Write each student’s name on their folder and put a sticker inside with your contact information. Keep laminated reward charts in your room and write the names of your current students on the charts.
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