Workload Management Ideas
Use of a Workload Model
- ASHA's Caseload/Workload Web page offers successful examples of districts using a workload model.
- Use of a caseload/workload model to increase student services:
- Dyann Cooper, Cincinnati Public Schools, Ohio
Use of a 3:1 service model in which SLPs provide traditional, direct intervention to students 3 consecutive weeks, followed by a week of consultative services. View her story on the ASHA Web site.
- Sharon Soliday, formerly with the Portland (Oregon) Public Schools. See the complete story on the ASHA Web site. Contact Sharon via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) Task Force that developed eligibility templates for various communication disorders including: articulation, language, voice, and fluency, and a training of trainers system to help determine eligibility for services. See The ASHA Leader: " Guidelines Help Texas Clinicians Manage Caseloads."
Clerical, Technical, or Other Support
- Provide adequate work space; see ASHA's policy document Appropriate School Facilities for Students With Speech-Language-Hearing Disorders (2003).
- Provide administrative support for speech-language programs and staff
- Allowing in-service days within the organization
- Establish structure for meetings and networking for SLPs
- Providing flexible schedules, part-time contracts, or job sharing
- Reduction of non teaching duties
- Clerical assistance
- Use of Speech-Language Pathology Assistants to supplement not supplant SLP services
- Development or purchase of standardized computer forms for IEP development and implementation and for other paperwork
- Provide laptop computers or software programs. See Juanita Whitehurst's success story below. Her rural North Carolina school district, facing staff shortages, provided laptops for SLPs and additional funds for materials and professional dues.
Success Story: Receiving Additional Equipment, Resources, Payment for Fees, and Professional Development
What are the unique challenges that your district faces in recruiting/retaining qualified personnel?
This SLP shortage is a new experience for our school system. Perhaps denial existed since we have always had resumes from which to choose. As a group, our SLPs were concerned with the increasing responsibilities and expertise demands, specifically related to caseload/workload. Just as we had received approval for an additional part-time SLP, we were hit with shortages in our area. We are a small school system in rural eastern North Carolina.
What are the strategies your district employs to recruit and retain qualified personnel?
There seemed to be no strategies to recruit and retain because there had not been any problems since we are near a university training program. We have enjoyed a good working relationship with East Carolina University, in Greenville. Our school system already offered a sign-on bonus for all new hires.
Recently, we have had new results:
- In Spring 2005, each SLP was allowed to order $500 worth of materials (increased from $300 from previous year; varies from year to year). Tests and test forms are ordered from a separate budget line item.
- Laptops were purchased for payroll SLPs.
- Effort was made to find a budget line item to pay dues/fees for ASHA, NCSHLA [the North Carolina Speech, Hearing, and Language Association], and the state's Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists beginning in Fall 2005.
- Approval for continuing education money for ASHA telephone seminars. (We received the first one ordered and will present seminars for both payroll and contract SLPs.)
- Hiring payroll and contract SLPs; currently negotiating with another SLP for 2 days/week beginning in January. We currently have one full-time opening in a primary school, and one part-time opening in a middle school.
What activities do you feel contribute most to your ability to recruit and retain qualified personnel?
Our SLPs used to meet almost monthly. One result is a letter drafted to our director to address the SLP shortage and suggest considerations. The letter stated the reasons for our concern/need, which include the changes in continuing education requirements, changing times/mindset of younger SLPs, and changes in the job market. The next section addressed our awareness of events around us including references to ASHA Special Interest Division 16, and contact with our state consultant. In other words, we are aware, not whining, and were offering to be a part of the solution. The third section was a summarized list of eight considerations. The fourth section, or closing, indicated our desire to know which of the presented options would be realistic options.
Also, a major contributing factor was that two of our SLPs accepted other job offers before any incentives were put into place, no SLPs could be located to hire, and we completed the school year with shortages. That spoke volumes and only reinforced the content of the letter. An additional factor, unrelated to our local efforts, included the governor's announcement of a salary plan to move North Carolina teachers above the national average by the 2008-2009 school year. SLPs are paid on the psychology pay scale.
What advice would you give to other districts with recruitment and retention problems?
- Contact your state consultant to determine trends in other areas of your state.
- Put concerns in writing to the director of special education so he/she will have needed information to present to the next level, such as to the assistant superintendent.
Edgecombe County (North Carolina) Public Schools
Telepractice in Speech & Language
Telepractice is the application of telecommunications technology to deliver professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation. It is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) that telepractice (telehealth) is an appropriate model of service delivery for the profession of speech-language pathology. (ASHA, 2005). The use of telepractice to deliver speech-language pathology services is a growing trend especially in rural settings where shortages are acute. Jeanne Juenger, a speech-language pathologist, has been providing services using this model. Her overview of telepractice is listed below.
Telepractice in speech/language is gaining favor nationally as an effective mechanism for:
- providing real-time access to consistent, high-quality professional services regardless of geographic location or demographic conditions
- optimizing school districts' limited professional and fiscal resources
- preserving the SLP's restricted time resources for more productive work demands
- enhancing access to colleagues across work settings.
Services delivered via telepractice must:
- be of the same level of quality as services delivered face-to-face (ASHA, 2005)
- ensure student progress toward IEP goals and objectives
- provide both direct and indirect learning opportunities and
- comply with all State, federal, and local mandates. (ASHA, 2005)
Professionals engaged in telepractice in speech/language collaborate with local, regional, and state-level stakeholders to create programs that are efficacious and standards-based within the context of the client's or district's cultural values. Program success is dependent upon:
- a keen understanding of the collaborative team's strengths and limitations
- access to and the skilled use of supportive technologies
- ongoing and effective communication with stakeholders
- the culture's willingness to change long-established routines and perspectives, and
- time and sustained energy.
Documenting clinical outcomes and describing efficacious practices continue to challenge telepractice speech/language pathologists. Just the same, prospects for meeting the needs of under-served groups via telepractice service delivery models remain encouraging.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005). Knowledge and Skills Needed by Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Clinical Services via Telepractice [Knowledge and Skills]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005). Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Clinical Services via Telepractice: Position Statement [Position Statement]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2005). Speech-Language Pathologists Providing Clinical Services via Telepractice: Technical Report [Technical Report]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.
Masters ProResource Network
La Crosse, WI