Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday Re-Post: It's a Dream Job + Scheduling

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" WordI give the teachers the following form:
(This form is included in my Editable Forms for Back to School found in my TpT Store for $1.)
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?

3 comments:

  1. I love the form! What a great way to think about scheduling. Previously I was asking teachers when the student was available or the time they would like the student seen. This then had the potential of creating conflict when I told Teacher A I could not give her the preferred time because I had given it to Teacher B. This way it looks like it would be a win/win.

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  2. Why is it that your school contracts out for the medicaid students? I would have nearly no students to see if my school did that.

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    1. I think they don't want the hassle of billing, honestly. We're still responsible for the paperwork and they're on my caseload. They're seen individually, and the contract SLP/SLPA makes up missed sessions. My groups are smaller, so it's a win-win situation! I'm only seeing 32 students on my caseload of 54 between 2 schools.

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