This post was originally published on 08/24/2014.
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?