So, it’s about that time again! Some of you have already started school, and some of us are still holding onto those last few days of summer. Soon we’ll all be getting into the swing of things–including our yearly scheduling fun. This task was very daunting at first (especially as a new SLP), but an experienced SLP in the district shared this idea…
Instead of pulling your hair out and playing scheduling Tetris for hours, why not involve teachers in the process? Hm… How can we do this? With a scheduling party, of course!
How Does a Scheduling Party Work?
Before the scheduling party, I drew a week-long calendar on a big poster board. I made slots big enough for sticky notes. Then, I got several colors of sticky notes. I color-coded by grade, but you can use whatever “system” works best for you (e.g., speech-only students vs. students who receive other services might be helpful). I wrote students’ names on the sticky notes and put students in a group on the same sticky note. The teachers then came to the party, picked up their sticky notes, and put the sticky notes on the time slots they wanted. We had a schedule made in about 10 minutes! It was so simple, and I got positive feedback from the teachers. They really liked being more involved in scheduling therapy times.
What about Scheduling Conflicts?
My main job during the party was to double check the times that teachers selected. I starred students with other possible conflicts (e.g., resource room, occupational therapy), so it was easy for me to see who I would have to check. I printed the other therapy schedules and also reminded teachers to avoid double-booking their students. A reminder that double-booked students would be re-scheduled by me was also helpful.
What about Scheduling Groups?
I tried to keep groups within a classroom, but there were a few “inter-classroom” groups. Most teachers met beforehand to discuss times that would work between them and were ready to pick a good time at the party.
How Do I Set This Up?
Last year, I sent an email to all of the teachers and let them know that I was having a scheduling party. It went something like this…
It’s about that time again! I will be holding a speech-language therapy scheduling party on Friday, September 12th at 8:30 in the speech room. At that time please bring your plan books and schedules so that you can select a treatment time for your student(s). I will have schedules for other special education services posted. This way, we can all work together to avoid ‘double-booking’ students.
A list of student(s) to be scheduled (along with any group specifications) will be provided no later than Wednesday, September 10th. If applicable, please coordinate with your grade level teammate regarding days/times for services.
Scheduling will be on a first come, first serve basis. No early birds – door opens at 8:30.
FYI – Several time slots are already booked due to the time constraints of half-day kindergarten, ECAP, and OT/SLP co-treat sessions. Feel free to stop by and check availability.
**Treats will be provided**
A little closer to the date of the “party,” I delivered slips to all the teachers, listing all of the students in their classes who would be receiving speech services.
Of course, no “party” is complete without some treats, so I offered coffee and donuts.
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.
Right? I'm so glad the SLP in my district shared this with me. It's such a time saver!
Amazing!! You know everyone will come when you mention doughnuts and coffee!
I used this last week and it worked perfectly! This is an extremely efficient way to complete scheduling. Both my principal and my SPED supervisor were impressed!
Marisha (Road to Speech) says
Yay! I’m glad it worked for you! It’s so simple, but I think it really does make scheduling easier for everyone involved.
Jess K says
I tried this with school staff I have been working with for some time and got a fantastic response! This saved me countless hours and I avoided all the headaches of scheduling!! Thanks so much for sharing!!
Marisha (Road to Speech) says
That’s so great to hear! Thanks for sharing!
I am really wanting to try this this year…coming back to school therapy, new start. I have a question though…if you have kiddos that have two 30 minute sessions and possibly in different groups (or even if same group), do you just give the teacher two post-its…one with each group to place on the schedule?
Please send the scheduling packet information. I look forward to trying it this year!
We’d love to send the packet your way, Elise! Just enter your name and e-mail in the “Access the FREE Scheduling Party Kit” section just under the blog post text!