Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy New {school} Year!

Are you starting a new year at a new school? I have TIPS for you to get your year started on the right foot your very first day on the job!




The Obvious


So, you know where your room is and where the files are but, now what should do you? Have you met the administrative assistant? How about the custodian? They will become your best friends at your new school. Go and find them and introduce yourself!


First Things, First




Time to get a copy of your caseload. Maybe it comes from a computer. Maybe it comes from the files. Either way, that is where you must start. Enter every student’s name as shown on the chart below. Is an IEP coming due soon? Believe it or not, I have seen IEPs due at the beginning of the school year. Yikes! Don’t wait to discover that at the last minute. Note the date the annual review is due as well as the triennial date on the chart where indicated. Highlight anything coming up soon. Now you’ll be ready ahead of time. Like the scouts say, be prepared!



*Psst: Soon I will be making the above form fillable!  Sign up for my newsletter to get exclusive access to it! What does "fillable" mean? That means you will be able to type in the information instead of printing and doing it by hand. Of course, you can still do that too!

Study the IEP

Yes, it seems obvious, but I thought you might want to know how I approach a new file. I always start with the current progress notes. If there is a recent assessment, I read that also. Is this a complex case? Time to seek out the special education teacher. That person will be a wealth of information which will save you tons of time!

Goals & Objectives


Make a brief note of the student’s goals. This isn’t the place to put a lot of details. I usually just note the basic area the student is working on (articulation, receptive language, etc.). Then I might write a very short description of their goals. 

Service Delivery


Now you know what they need to work on, but how, exactly, does that happen? Note the frequency and duration for each student. You will need to check the IEP to determine if they can be grouped. Are the pull-out or push-in? Make sure you note this on your caseload form.

Next Step


Get a complete class list for every teacher and every grade level. Your school’s administrative assistant will help you with this. You must have it in order to locate students and get a schedule set up. Enter both the student’s grade level and the teacher’s name on the form mentioned above.

School Schedule


Don’t try to do anything else until you have a copy of the basic school schedule. Are there multiple lunch periods? What about specials? What are the start and end times? Make sure you have a copy of the schedule ASAP. Again the administrative assistant is your BFF when it comes to getting this information!

School Calendar


Most (but not all) schools will have a detailed calendar set up at the beginning of the school year. Does your school have a calendar? You know who to ask! Why do you need it? It is important to know when parent conferences take place and there might be special events listed that will impact services. Save yourself some time and grab the school’s calendar now!

Get Out of the Speech Room!


I don’t know about you, but I can only do so much paperwork before going cross-eyed. By the time I have filled out the students’ basic information and studied some files, I’m ready for a break. It’s time to go and meet some of the teachers! Yes, it can be a little intimidating to walk into a classroom when you have never met the teacher before. Go and do it! Chances are that they will be very happy to meet you. Most will appreciate that you took the time to track them down. You don’t need to know specifics about their students necessarily. I usually just keep it to small talk. They may share some valuable knowledge or may be too busy to chat much. Go with the flow. 

Managing Multiple Sites (Schools)


Traveling to more than one school can be overwhelming, especially if you are starting a new assignment. If you have multiple sites, you will need to spread the organizational process out over a couple of days, maybe even over several days. Try to avoid pushing yourself to get it all done at once. Yes, I know, you want to do it quickly (I’m like that, too), but taking your time reduces stress. Pace yourself by taking breaks and getting to know a few of the folks on your new campus(es). Do you want to talk more about managing several schools? That will be the topic of another upcoming post.

Scheduling


Look for the next post about scheduling! 


Here’s wishing you a fabulous new school year!



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