Ready to dive into the first week of your clinical fellowship (CF)? We put our heads together and came up with a list of essential tasks to prepare for the school year. There are 35 items on this list, which can definitely feel a little overwhelming! Set a goal to tackle 5-7 items a day. You may not be able to complete all of the items within the first week, and that’s okay! Just do your best!
Print this list (or download our free CF binder at the bottom of this post) to keep track of your progress. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your progress as you highlight/cross off completed items!
1. Introduce yourself to school staff (principal, assistant principal, secretaries, custodian).
2. Find out when your first meetings are and add them to your calendar.
3. Look at a staff directory (on the school website or an old yearbook).
4. Make a list of your district contacts (e.g., program coordinator/director, department secretary).
Getting Set Up
1. Get a key to your space.
2. Pick up your work computer.
3. Get access to your work email.
4. Get access to your caseload/IEP management system (e.g., SEIS).
5. Get access to your billing setup. (Your district should provide training for this.)
6. Get access to your attendance/student information system.
7. Get your caseload list. (This can sometimes involve quite a bit of sleuthing. You can typically request a list from the special education secretary. Ask your supervisor and/or lead SLP for help, if needed!)
Finding Your Way
1. Get a map of the school.
2. Find the copy machine.
3. Find your mailbox.
4. Figure out where to find school supplies (or how to request items).
Your Speech Space
1. Take an inventory of what materials you have.
2. Make a note of basic school supplies that are needed. (Your school/district may provide these!)
3. Note what tests you have and where your protocols are. Make a note to request more if you are low.
4. Ask about rearranging your room. (Some schools don’t want you to move furniture yourself.) Request new furniture if needed.
5. If you do not have an adequate space, see if you can work with your supervisor on advocating for a more appropriate space that is FERPA compliant.
When You Have Your Caseload
1. Find out how to cross-check your caseload to make sure that no one is missing. (You can ask your supervisor or SLP lead for support.)
2. If you have SLP Now, follow these steps to set up your caseload.
3. Send out “IEP at a Glance” printouts to teachers.
1. Write down which teachers you are going to be working with.
2. Ask your school psychologist or educational specialist for advice about your school’s culture.
4. Make note of other providers that you will have to schedule with. Introduce yourself to them as well, and ask them when they typically have their schedule ready.
5. Get a master school schedule with recess, specials (e.g., PE, art), and regularly occurring assemblies (e.g., morning assemblies).
6. Once your schedule is complete, send out teacher (and student) session time reminders. (Even though you will make many adjustments to your schedule!) You can use paper, send an e-mail, create a calendar invite, or use a digital communication system–like Google Voice or Seesaw. Whatever you do, make a template and save it.
1. If one teacher has a lot of your students, meet with them and ask if they have any information to share about students. This could include what will help them succeed and help you support them. For example, ask about special interests, sensory preferences, or how you could set up the environment for a successful and fun session.
2. Take an inventory of your students’ goals and find patterns so that you can start to make a game plan for what type of therapy will be the most efficient.
3. Take note of what population you will be serving and how you will need to support them. Will you need to provide extra support for sensory regulation? All kids benefit from emotional/sensory regulation, so it’s something that you can integrate into your sessions. Does your school have translators? Social workers? Community resources? Counselors? Trauma-informed resources?
Other Things to Consider
1. Find out how to send paperwork to the district.
2. Find out what the session makeup policy is in your district.
ASHA’s stance is that there should not be a blanket policy from districts. Decisions should be made on an individual basis whether missed sessions are a denial of FAPE for that particular student.
3. If you are a part of the union, you can ask your supervisor about what support is available.