My seasons consist of Winter, IEP, Summer, and Fall. The county where I work has yet to adopt the year round IEP review, instead we have a season from March 1-April 26. This of course is a dreaded time of year for SLPs who have at least 50 students on their caseload. We are expected to conduct our usual therapy, write progress reports, write IEPs for the next school year, and attend all of the meetings for our students and occasionally meetings for upcoming students. That is a lot to accomplish in 2 months.
I thought I would share with you the way I organize all of these responsibilities to help manage this “Season”. For those of you who also are starting IEP season, I hope you will find these tips helpful.
Tip #1: I use a spreadsheet to organize meeting dates and other important information I need for annual reviews. The spreadsheet includes:
- Student Name
- Transfer Y/N ( This is so I know which students are transferring to a different school next year.
- Re-evaluation date (Is the student due for a re-evaluation within the IEP Season window? If so what else do I need to have completed?)
- IEP Date ( When is the IEP due this year?)
- Scheduled Meeting Date
- Date Info Sent to Secial Ed. Office
This spreadsheet is my lifeline to staying organized and not letting deadlines slip past me. I complete all of the information in the first 4 bullet points and then sort the spreadsheet according to IEP Date from soonest to latest. This helps me know which ones need to be completed first. After I print this out, I look at my calendar to schedule the meeting date.
Tip #2: Next I get my expanded file folder organized. I put tabs on each section that have the dates for each week. Once I complete an IEP I place that in the week that the meeting will be held. I also include tabs for different documents that I will need during IEP season. It is helpful to have all of this information in one place. Here is something similar to the file folder I use.
Tip #3: Once I complete an IEP, I highlight the student’s name on my spreadsheet to indicate complete. It is a nice visual to let me know what progress I am making throughout the process.
Tip #4: Progress reports are also due during this chaotic time. As I am completing the IEP for students, I also work on the progress report as well. In our county, both are completed in the same program so it is easy to do them together.
Tip #5: While you are writing IEPs and staring at a computer screen, don’t forget to stretch. You need to get the blood flowing every once in a while so you can think clearly. Play music while you are working, take a short walk, and breathe. It will be over soon and the end of the school year is in sight.