Sunday, August 3, 2014

Getting Organized For A New School Year

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Getting organized for a new school year can be daunting. I've done my share of changing jobs since graduation, due to moving or other reasons, so I've probably "started over" a little more than the average person.

I almost always get organized in a similar way though, so I thought I'd share how I go about doing it. Maybe it'll make your life a little easier, too!

Materials I Need: 
I buy a monthly planner. There are TONS of cute SLP planners (<--- click that link and you'll be taken to some of them, I just searched "SLP planner") out there, plus I know some people enjoy Erin Condren planners. But I actually just use a plain old monthly one, like the one seen below. I like to be able to see the whole month at once and just write in meetings, times, upcoming IEP due dates, etc. 

I use a small binder clip at the top to make it easy to flip to the current month. I prefer mechanical pencils, and always try to write in pencil in my planner. Why? Because things ALWAYS change (yes, you know those IEP meetings that get rescheduled 3 times). I do tend to have white out on hand for those times I didn't have a pencil. Also, sticky notes are a necessity, because I jot down things I have to do and stick them on my desk. When the task is done, I get great satisfaction in throwing away the note (it's the little things, people).


Steps To Tackling Scheduling, Planning, Etc:
1. Make an Excel spreadsheet...actually make four. One for my caseload info, one for my schedule, one for my planning sheet, and one for IEP dates. You can add sheets at the bottom of the workbook:

Caseload Sheet: I put name, date of IEP, date of re-eval, primary disability code, teacher, grade, and goals. I like to have everything in one place, which helps immensely when I go to plan. As I go to IEP meetings through the year, I just go back into the sheet and update dates and goals. This is how I set mine up:

Schedule Sheet: I put the days of the week across the top and times down the left side. Then I look at the master schedule and see when kids are going to lunch, specials, recess, etc. I slowly go about the task of putting kids in where I think would be a good time. I'm usually shooting for language arts since it seems to be a good time to pull/push in (I realize that might be different wherever you are). When I put in kids names, I also put the teacher, because it takes me a little bit to remember who is where. 

Planning Sheet: When I think I've got a schedule ( WILL change, I know that), I copy that sheet to a new sheet and leave the kids names and a some extra space. This is what I use to help me plan each week. I will pencil in ideas for what I think we'll be doing. Some weeks, I have a book that I do with multiple grade levels or some weeks I have a craft. It all depends, and I try to do open ended themes that I can tailor to whatever goals I need to. *Names are not real*

IEP dates: Since you have the kids name and IEP date column already on the caseload sheet, I copy that to a new sheet and organize by ascending date. This way, I can see which kids' IEPs will be due in any given month. *Names/dates are not real*

This is unsorted:

To sort, you click on that AZ sort button (circled in red). You are given the option to sort oldest to newest, which is the one you want. Just make sure to highlight the name and date boxes, so the names stay with the dates. See below, you can now see IEP dates by the month!

2. Data logs: We have a district wide data sheet that SLPs use, so I make a folder on my desktop for logs. I type in the name and goals and save a copy for each of my kids. That way, when I need more, I just go in and print one off with the goals already on it. I put all of these in a binder. At the beginning of the day, I go through and pull out the logs for the kids I'm seeing that day and put them all on a clipboard. 

I will admit, it's a lot of work at the beginning. However, this system seems to really work for me. It keeps me organized and having most of the info on the computer makes it really easy for me to go in and change something. 

*You will notice that I'm not mentioning anything about room organization. I'll tell you why. I have been parked in a lot of very, less than desirable areas. I never know where I'm going to be, so I usually wait until I have time to scope out the space I'm given before doing anything room-wise. I would love to share a whole bunch of decorating ideas, but the reality for me is that sometimes I don't have much more than a desk to call my own. So I go with what I'm given and do my best to make it work. I love looking at everyone else's very cute rooms though!


  1. I was just wondering how many students you have on your caseload? I have about 60 and I find it hard to keep such detailed records. Thanks!!!!

    1. This past year, I ran up near 50-53. I do it at the beginning of the year and then change as we have the IEP meetings. It's a lot of work initially, but it works for me!