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Are you ready to party? Because we’re all about partying around here today… and not just any party, a scheduling party!

Believe it or not, this just might be the best start-of-the-school-year advice you can receive as an SLP. In this episode, Marisha takes the mic to share what she considers to be one of the best-kept SLP secrets — and it has the potential to transform your entire outlook on scheduling.

Get ready to learn how to plan a scheduling party, and turn scheduling into a more collaborative, efficient, and dare we say… enjoyable experience for school-based SLPs.

In this episode, Marisha shares how scheduling parties can revolutionize the way SLPs handle scheduling in a school environment. From highlighting the benefits of teacher involvement to providing step-by-step insights on hosting a scheduling party, Marisha ensures that listeners leave with a fresh perspective and the tools to implement this game-changing strategy.

The Benefits of a Schedule Party for SLPs

✓ Efficiency: Picture this – a completed schedule in a matter of minutes. That’s right, it’s that easy! A scheduling party will save you countless hours of scheduling stress.

✓ Teacher Involvement: Give teachers the power to choose their preferred time slots. This collaborative process wipes out the guesswork and significantly reduces scheduling conflicts. Plus, when teachers actively participate in scheduling, they feel a sense of ownership which leads to better adherence and fewer last-minute changes.

✓Positive Start: Hosting a scheduling party isn’t just about scheduling; it’s a fun way to kick off the school year. You can even throw in some treats and coffee to create a positive atmosphere that sets the tone for a productive year ahead.

Episode Summary

In this episode, Marisha talks about:

💛 Making a Paradigm Shift. Marisha introduces the concept of the scheduling party, which might change the way you approach scheduling forever. Get ready to take back control and actually enjoy the process!

💛 The Scheduling Party Unveiled. Discover the logistics of hosting a scheduling party. Marisha explains how she brings teachers together to collaboratively create a schedule that benefits everyone involved.

💛 Why It Works. Find out how this approach empowers teachers to choose their preferred time slots, fostering a sense of ownership and making sticking to the schedule a breeze. Say goodbye to the dreaded Tetris-style scheduling nightmares!

💛Preparing For a Successful Party. Marisha breaks down the essentials you’ll need for a successful scheduling party. From poster boards to sticky notes, she’s got you covered with practical tips.

💛 Creating a Positive Start. Learn why the scheduling party isn’t just about organizing your calendar – it’s also a fantastic opportunity to connect with teachers and kick off the school year on a positive note.

By offering teachers the power to choose their time slots, fostering smoother coordination, and setting a positive tone for the school year, Marisha’s approach offers more than just an efficient solution – it creates a more connected and productive school ecosystem.

Click here to download the scheduling party packet. It includes an overview of the process, a calendar template, and a printable letter to send out to teachers.



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Marisha: Hello there and welcome to The SLP Now Podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech language pathologists. Grab Your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.

Hey there, it's Marisha and welcome back to the podcast. I am really excited to be chatting about scheduling today. I know it's a topic that a lot of school-based SLPs don't particularly love, or maybe we love to complain about it, but I am really excited to share how I learn to navigate scheduling and scheduling has actually been something that I enjoy and look forward to in the school year. So I'm going to go ahead and share what that looks like for me. And I learned this from a more seasoned SLP who was in my first district when I was a CF, and she shared this with me and I'm excited to pass it along and share it with you.

So how I do my scheduling is I use a scheduling party and I'll walk through exactly what the party looks like, what you need to prepare for it, and just some quick logistics and everything. And if you go to, so again, that's, those are the show notes for today's episode, and you'll find a free template and just like a quick recap of what we're talking about. So that is a great resource to reference.

Okay, first, scheduling party, what is it? So when I do my scheduling, I invite all of the teachers at a designated time. It's typically just a little bit before school starts and you'll maybe just want to do a little bit of sleuthing to see what time would actually be feasible for the teachers at your school. But I just kind of asked around and it's like, what would be a reasonable time to expect everyone to be there? And so I went ahead and set that up. It would've been awesome to be able to do this before school even started, but I never had my caseload list in time to do it before school started and then I couldn't schedule my students until SPED and all the other things were scheduled.

So I did this just the morning before school started on a school day and the teachers come in and I have a poster board schedule and I have any blocks of time blocked off. I was working in a preschool serving students in a preschool, so I had that whole time blocked off and lunch paperwork, whatever you want to block off, go ahead and do that. But then each teacher has sticky notes for all of the groups that I was seeing, and I'll go into a little bit more of the details, but basically each teacher has a stack of sticky notes that they're responsible for putting on the poster board, and then they get to walk up to the poster board and put down their sticky notes and then the schedule is made.

I know it sounds like it can be a little bit chaotic and complicated, but it's actually been really, really easy each time I've done it. And the schedule has always been made in a matter of minutes. And the cool thing is the teachers get to choose their time, so they're really happy with their time. I've heard of a lot of speech therapists who will do that whole Tetris thing where they send out a form and then the teachers select which times would work, and then the speech therapist is spending hours and hours trying to figure out how to get everyone seen. But with this way, the teachers get to see what the options are, and they do some troubleshooting together, which there hasn't had to be a lot anytime that I've done this. But then they can talk to each other of like, "I'd really like the 12 o'clock slot," but I know that they kind of adjust with each other and figure things out that way.

And it's really cool because then the teachers, again have a say in the schedule and they feel good about it. It ends up making it a lot easier to stick to the schedule because I'm not giving them a time that they don't really like. And even if they choose a time that is not their a hundred percent ideal time, they chose it. And that helps a lot with that rapport and all of that. And so the benefits of that scheduling party are one, your schedule is made in a matter of minutes. The teachers get to choose this schedule and they just have a little bit more buy-in and ownership over it, which makes it a lot easier to actually pull the kids because they pick the time and all of that. So that's what that looks like.

So we're going to chat about what you would need to do to prep for the scheduling party, and then just some notes for things that you want to do might want to do as a follow-up in terms of what you need to prep. I think it's really nice to have a poster board and butcher paper could work too. I just bought a poster board and I drew out time blocks on there, and then I was able to use it year after year. So whatever works, but I would just map out the times that I'm available to see students. And so there would be rows with all of the times and then columns with all of the days of the week, and you just grab a big ruler and draw those lines.

The next step would be to make a set of sticky notes and you would just write the students' names on each sticky note. To make this easier to implement, I did try to see students within a classroom, so I tried to group my students at least with the same teacher if possible. Or maybe for an older grade there were some classrooms with only one student or whatnot. I might group students across a grade level, but that's how I try to do my scheduling. This works out well. It makes it easier to schedule. It makes it easier to pick up the students, and it also makes it easier to implement curriculum-based therapy because the students in the same classroom or the same grade are encountering the same curriculum during their school day. And that's something that's really important to me.

So I make the sticky notes and each sticky note just has the names of the students in the group. That's all that I write. So I just quickly go through and if I'm seeing a student two or three or more times a week, then I would just go ahead and make multiple sticky notes and maybe I have some 30 minute sessions and some 60 minute sessions or whatever variation. And so you can adjust the size of the sticky note based on the time interval that you're using. So that's the second step.

So we have our poster board, we have our sticky notes, then we need to invite the teachers. And so I have the show notes that I mentioned. Again, I have a template for the email. So the template explains what a scheduling party is and what the teachers need to bring, like their schedule and that's basically all that they need. So then it invites them to the scheduling party, then they know what to expect. So I will email that out and I might also print out a hard copy and put it in their box. So I send out the invite. Then we have the scheduling party. And when the scheduling party is happening, I just have the poster board and one thing, so teachers will try and get their before the official start time, and they'll be like, "Ooh, I think I can get in a little bit early and get the best times."

But I always had it start, my mentor recommended this, but to have it start at the exact start time, and all of the teachers showed up on time when I did it. So they were all there at the same time. They all got equal access to the schedule, and that's how we did it. And I just felt like that was a fair thing to do, and the invite mentions that. So then, yeah, that's how it works. So that's what you need to do to prep. That's what it looks like to actually implement it.

Like I said before, this is a cool way to give teachers ownership of the schedule, but it's also a fun way to kick off the year, especially if you are new to a building. It's a nice way to meet everyone. And I usually bring some coffee and some quick pastries or whatnot so that I'll bribe them with food, of course. And then if they get there a little bit early, then they can pour themselves some coffee, have a little treat, and then it's just a really fun way to kick things off. So that's what my scheduling looks like. I'd love to hear if you've implemented this and how it's worked for you, or if you have any questions, feel free to head to the show notes and leave a comment there. But again, the link to check that out is, and that's where you can grab the templates and there's a picture of the poster board and all of that good stuff, all the resources you need to implement this. So that's a wrap and I'll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to The SLP Now podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode sent directly to you. See you next time.



Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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