Speech Therapy Scheduling
Tomorrow I start seeing my students for the first week in speech. I’ve got some ready-to-go activities planned, including my Would You Rather…Questions and my Beginning of the Year Tic-Tac-Dough boards. This past week has been a little nuts, to say the least. That’s because I’ve been doing all the “behind the scenes” work- setting up my room, attending beginning of the year meetings, and working on scheduling. Speech therapy scheduling is never fun, but now that I have experience doing it, I’ve created a “go to” checklist that I’m going to share with you.
Let’s conquer that tricky speech therapy scheduling once and for all.
Speech Therapy Scheduling Checklist
Here’s what you need to schedule:
1) Your speech caseload list: This should be a list with all of your students on it. Make sure you have included the IEP monthly minutes for each student. You’ll want to have a quick reference available when working on your schedule. Make an extra copy of this list so you can write on it.
2) Progress reports: Pull these out of your charts if you need to, because it’s super handy to be able to glance at your students and quickly see their goals. It will be helpful to know if your student has articulation goals, language goals, fluency goals, or a combination of goals, because chances are, you’ll need to group students together. Consider coming up with a color coding system. I just grab markers or highlighters and color code my speech caseload list. Draw a red dot next to students working on articulation goals, a purple dot next to students with language goals, and a brown dot next to students with articulation and language goals.
3) Administrative homeroom list: Ask the building secretary for a printed out list of this. You’ll go through these lists and highlight any student on your caseload you find. Hopefully, you have access to a computer system where you can type in the name of your student, and immediately see what teacher they have and what homeroom they’re in. Then, go to your printed out list and highlight that student.
4) A map of the school: This will be helpful too. It’s nice to be able to quickly glance and see how close classrooms are together, especially if you’re considering scheduling in groups. How long will it take you- or your students- to get from Point A to Point B?
5) Letter to teachers: Since you’ve now highlighted the homeroom lists with your students, get a scheduling letter out to those teachers. If you’re only in that building one or two days a week, make sure you explain this. I like to provide my teachers with the number of IEP monthly minutes I need to meet. I explain that I need to “over schedule” minutes, if this makes sense- because there are going to be assemblies, fields trips, sickness, testing days, and meetings (just to name a few things) that can get in the way of meeting minutes. Get straight to the point- state how many blocks of time you’ll need, and how long those blocks of time should be. I explain that I will always do my best to group students in classes together, but this can’t always be accomplished, as the priority is to group students based on their individual goals and needs. Are there specific classes that would be best to take these students from? Are there classes that would absolutely be terrible to remove the student from? You’ll want to know this.
Basically, you need to know the best, the “okay”, and the worst times to take your students, and schedule around this.
6) Sticky notes: You will both love and hate sticky notes by the end of your scheduling experience. While you don’t have to use them, I’ve found that I need to be able to physically move the pieces of paper around as I work out where to place my students. I do this on a desk, and just give myself a ton of space. Even if I put students together in groups, I give each student an individual sticky note. Why? That group might not work out, because chances are, someone will come back to you and say, “Actually, that time doesn’t work anymore…”
7) Post It Tabs: Yes, get these if you can. Remember how I talked about group scheduling? When I pair students together in a group, I put a post it tab and write “group” on it, so I can quickly see who is paired with who. In addition, I place these to the side of the sticky note when I plan on seeing that student more than once a week.
Oh, and p.s. …don’t forget to leave yourself time in your schedule for evaluations, medicaid billing, planning, and report writing.
8) Excel or Powerpoint: Once your schedule is in front of you (at least, the sticky note version), you’ll want to type this out. I highly, highly recommend having a “week at a glance” schedule.
9) Letter to teachers (again): Once you have your schedule figured out, write out a quick note to your teachers letting them know when you’ll be by to pick up their students.
I know scheduling is a headache- but you CAN do this! Please share your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below.