American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

State and Local Workload Activity

California

Antioch Unified School District
Advocacy work in Antioch resulted in seperate salary scale for teachers that is 20% above teacher salary. Gains were also made in stipends for Medi-Cal billing, use of SLP-As, stipends for supervising SLP-As and caseload language in the context of using SLP-As. Reference: Antioch Unified School District, contact: Judi Jewett at judi@jewettslp.com.

Illinois

The state of Illinois now mandates that each district adopt a workload plan for all special educators. View the Overview of Special Educator Work Load Plan Requirements [PDF] dated August 31, 2009. For more information on the Illinois workload plan see this presentation Workload Plans for Special Educators: Navigating the Process Effectively [PDF].

Consolidated High School District 230, Orland Park
Applications of various workload models are implemented such as writing minutes per month on IEPs, designating set times for eligibility meetings, annual reviews or parent meetings, identify "flex" time in the schedule that can be used for observations, report writing, etc. Individualizing the workload model by creating customized logs using the "mail merge" function in computer software has also been useful for SLPs to manage tasks. Contact: Sharon Foster, sfosterslp@msn.com.

Indiana

Brown County School Corporation, Nashville

  • Redefine the role SLP within the school setting to include becoming a resource for how children use language to learn
  • Broaden my understanding of how a team of educators that includes the SLP, can build the language base for literacy
  • Sell myself as a logical candidate to serve as the district level Title I Consultant
  • Link my schedule to the special education teacher's schedule to facilitate working together toward meeting IEP objectives
  • Develop a database of goals and objectives aligned with state education language arts standards to be used to develop an integrated set of goals and objectives for students
  • Develop a report template to make writing up assessment results more efficient
  • Take as many graduate student clinicians for school-based externships as possible
  • Develop 3 to 4 lesson plan frameworks per unit of study that align with key grade level standards and developmental data in areas predictive of literacy learning
  • Write into my school calendar time for attending professional development conferences
  • Vary session frequency and length based on severity of communication disorder and rate of student learning
  • Train special educators, Title I teachers, and K-3 teachers to develop phonological awareness in young children
  • Attend general education intervention team meetings for students with academic concerns once a month
  • Construct a goals and objectives page of the IEP that doubles as a 9-weeks progress report format
  • Refuse to bill Medicaid without additional compensation or release time
  • Use of computerized IEPs
  • Unlimited use of a laptop computer owned by the school district

Contact: Debbie Harman, DHarmanSLP@aol.com.

Kansas

Lawrence Public Schools
I used the ideas from ASHA's documents on workload to develop a data collection system and format that worked for me. Prepared proposal and information to advocate for adding an SLP position. The result was an increase of 1.3 FTE. Contact: Anne Fowler, afowler@usd497.org.

Harvey County Special Education Cooperative
Working as a pilot district in Kansas under the Schools Focused Initiative using the workload analysis approach. Presented workload information to superintendent and gained 1 FTE SLP position in district. Contact: Mary Beasley at mary.beasley@sbcglobal.net.

Kansas State Speech-Language-Hearing Association (KSHA)
Working revising state wide SLP processes and procedures documents to include workload analysis approach; piloting workload model in Harvey County Special Education Cooperative (see Kansas district information above); providing training on workload model and process to SLPs throughout the state. Contact: Dixie Heinrich, ksha96@aol.com.

Louisiana

Terrebonne Parish School System, Louma
Terrebonne Parish School District in Louisiana has a ten year history of using workload analysis to assign caseloads for SLPs. In the workload analysis, all duties assigned to each SLP are assigned a value based on the estimated average number of hours per week that is needed to complete the duties assigned. The SLPs report workload helps them to increase their involvement in RTI activities. Due to this involvement in RTI, the SLPs have a reduced number of students on IEPs, but have increased duties to general education (Tier 1) and at risk students (Tier 2). These duties are difficult to "count" in a caseload approach, but have been easily documented on the workload analysis in place. Even though the "caseload" (i.e., number of students with IEPs) has decreased they have maintained staffing level of SLPs to maintain and expand their engagement with RTI. Contact: Stephen Mire, 985-851-1550, smire@tpsd.org.

Maine

Maine School Administrative District #58
Strategies for identifying and managing workload overload are addressed in this district. In order to achieve balance, service delivery models are examined. Flexible and varied service delivery increases successful workload management. Scheduling options may also impact workload. IEPs are written to be more flexible and dynamic. Changes in the frequency, duration and location of services can be written into the IEP and implemented accordingly as various benchmarks are achieved. Developing IEPs in this manner help to foster LRE and ease the workload burden of the SLP by preventing the need for repeated IEP meetings. Contact: Sabrina Jellison, sjellison@sad58.k12.me.us.

Massachusetts

Pittsfield Public Schools
Created a software program with her husband that reflects a workload analysis service delivery/attendance form. Used the software program to collect data on her workload demands. Worked to get minutes per therapy session changed to contacts on the IEP. Students' IEPs include indirect services provided by the related services unit during the contact. Contact: Mary Hynes-Drumm, 413-499-1760, mmm@berkshire.net.

Minnesota

Minneapolis
Worked with district administration and teachers union to put "workload language" in teachers contract. Worked with special education administration to have SLPs relieved from "non special education duties," to free up time for third-party billing, and to use contract preparation periods for preparing lessons, instead of billing or due process tasks. Worked with district SLPs, special education administration, and district compliance/legal department on "new" way to write speech-language IEPs that build in time for indirect and compliance activities, along with direct service. Will train district SLPs on this, and other workload strategies at start-of-year meeting in fall 2004.

Special Education Teacher Caseload Recommendation:
It is recommended that staffing caseloads take into consideration the need to engage in the broad range of professional activities necessary to:

  • Meet the intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by implementing appropriate and effective service options, and providing interventions designed to meet individual student needs,
  • Implement evidence-based practices, and
  • Meet mandated compliance, third-party billing, paperwork and other responsibilities.

Workloads for specific special education programs are delineated in Minnesota Rule part 3525. The following recommended caseloads area goal to strive for while taking into consideration program, site, and individual student needs that determine the workload of special education teachers. The District will work towards reducing caseloads for special education staff.

Teachers With Caseloads:
Teachers with caseloads who are assigned city-wide (adapted physical education, speech and language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, audiology, nursing, psychology, may have their caseload adjusted with consultation during the school year, depending on IEP requirements and city-wide distribution of students. The following special education departments will internally post vacancies for its staff to indicate interest through a polling process: Speech-Language, Occupational and Physical Therapy, School Psychology, Nursing, and Audiology. In each department, partial positions will be bundled as needed. Lead staff in these departments will make placements following seniority while taking into consideration polled preferences, individual expertise, and other factors that support a positive match between the site and the teacher. Contact: Frank Cirrin, fcirrin@mpls.k12.mn.us.

North Carolina

Guilford County Schools
Looked at number and size of the school and number of students to be served, reexamined after 20 day count. Took into consideration the number of special cases/classes at each school (e.g., separate classes with AU or cross-categorical, HI or LD classes which require intensive speech-language services, AAC students). Contact: Sue Bennett Kellum, 336-370-2318, kellumd@guilford.k12.nc.us.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Conducted a workload survey with the help of a graduate student at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Awaiting the results. Contact: Barbara Gerhard, MS, CCC-SLP, Lead Speech-Language Pathologist, bgerhard@wsfcs.k12.nc.us.

Ohio

North Central Ohio Special Education Resource Center, Mansfield
Collected data across the state to support the need for reduced caseloads. The numbers will be used to advocate for lower caseloads with the state legislature. The data also includes documentation from districts that have gone to the expense of hiring additional staff to reduce caseloads to determine whether service delivery and staff retention improved. This data is also available to school-based SLPs in Ohio for advocacy efforts in their local school districts. Contact: Teresa Farnham, 800-424-7372, ncoserrc_tlf@ncocc.k12.org.

Oregon

Portland Public Schools

When SLPs in the Portland (OR) Public Schools embarked on a mission in 2001 to reshape their service delivery model, they hoped to create a better working environment, increase consultative time with teachers and parents, and ultimately enhance services to students. They now have a service delivery model that meets all those goals and more, thus making Portland Public Schools a very attractive place to work. Before implementing the model district wide, they began by piloting a "3:1 model" for service delivery. With the model, three weeks out of each month are designated for direct intervention with students, and one week is set aside for indirect services, such as meeting with teachers, parents, and other specialists; observing and training in classrooms, developing treatment materials; and completing paperwork. "With this service delivery model, we sought to do a better job reaching out to other specialists, parents, and general education staff to align with No Child Left Behind," says SLP Sharon Soliday, (SLP technical assistant for Portland Public Schools). "We also wanted to meet the new demands of the reauthorized Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] for us to align with curriculum. In the past, we never had time to meet with teachers, know what's coming up in a curriculum, or be able to consult with teachers about students' needs in the classroom. The workload model implementation resulted in:

  • significant reductions in districts having to provide compensation to SLPS for completing work outside of the regular workday
  • significant increase in billings for third-party Medicaid reimbursement, thereby generating money for the district fewer student service cancellations, thus improving compliance
  • increase in consultation to teachers and parents, thereby improving quality
  • better morale among SLPs, thus better retention
  • improved ability of SLPs to integrate speech and language goals with classroom curriculum, as mandated by IDEA 

While data collection during the pilot did not track student results over time, anecdotal data indicate strong student benefits. "Our increased consultation with general education can only lead to improved, seamless services. The next logical step in data collection would be assessing student progress and teacher/parent satisfaction over time," Soliday reports. SLPs now spend time in classrooms supporting teachers and students directly. Many clinicians have become significantly involved in building literacy and reading programs, and introducing new curriculum ideas to teachers. This model has also been en effective recruitment incentive as the district competes to attract SLPs when competition is high. We're never at a loss for SLPs interested in working for Portland Public Schools," she adds. Contact: Sharon Soliday, sharon@slpservice.net.

Texas

Houston
Texas has combined the Workload Approach Strategies and the Texas Eligibility Guidelines to make huge inroads into getting services to students and cutting back on "uncovered" caseloads (those not receiving services). Four years ago Houston had 38 vacancies and about 50 uncovered campuses. Today only seven vacancies exist and retention is significantly higher. They have implemented workload strategies, using the 3:1 model, specialized assignments (some regions have one group of SLPs that does therapy and IEP implementation and another group of SLPs to do testing and eligibility recommendations) and other strategies. One of the benefits of the Houston implementation model is that each region of the county is custom designing workload strategies that best fit their needs. Marion Polk (SLP Coordinator, Houston School District) reports that there were no increased costs resulting from implementation of the workload model alone. In fact, ensuring that all campuses had SLP services reduced litigation, as well as costs due to private contracts used in the interim to provide services, actually resulted in a cost savings benefit. The quality of services has improved, collaboration among all service providers has increased and the SLPs are doing a better job at identifying students who truly do benefit from services. They are also more effective in identifying students who can be moved off the direct service schedule and working with other staff to contribute to maintaining and enhancing communication skill development. Marion reports, "I wouldn't ever want to go back to a typical caseload model. This is so much better for students, other service providers and our SLPs." Contact: Marian Polk, mpolk@houstonisd.org.

Washington

Tacoma School District
The following programs and systems have been put into place to improve caseload and workload conditions in the Tacoma School District:

  • establishment of a deployment team to assist with equitable staff assignments
  • use of SLPAs
  • development of guidelines for eligbility and dismissal detrmination
  • Weighted Caseload System
  • Assess, Consult, and Team (ACT) Model-SLPs provide 3 weeks of direct service followed by 1 week of indirect service.

Contact: Gail Rothwell, grothwe@tacoma.k12.wa.us.

University of Washington, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Graduate students are prepared for the working world by challenging them to design and implement various models of service delivery and assessment. Practicum placements introduce concepts of workload and alternative models. Students are also encouraged to become organized at the start of their training program in order to track clock hours and monitor their progression toward the target minimum of 400 clock hours. By requiring graduate clinicians to account for their workload, including each of the components of their day to day clinical responsibilities, they establish a workload mindset for future employment success. Contact Nancy Alarcon, nalarcon@u.washington.edu.

Wisconsin

Fall Creek
Shared the workload analysis with the Fall Creek School District Administration and School Board. The Fall Creek School Board increased the total SLP FTE for the school district. The workload responsibilities were shifted so that all of the SLPs had reasonable workloads. Contact: Gayle Holte, 715-720-2157, gayleholte@fallcreek.k12.wi.us.

Marion
Conducted a time audit in minutes-per-week to analyze workload responsibilities. The District Administrator added another 20% FTE SLP position to the school budget. Contact: Marycarolyn Jagodzinski, 920-855-2114, ext. 418, mcjagodz@granitewave.com.

Middleton/Cross Plains
Created an ad-hoc committee of 8 SLPs to use the workload analysis approach to create a weighted formula. Piloted the project during the 2004 school term. New language was written into the master contract to reflect the workload weighted formula. District plans to add 1.1.FTE position for the 2004-2005 school year. Four SLPs used a workload analysis approach to document the services that the SLPs were providing when faced with potential personnel cuts. The School District, the administration, and the School Board agreed to reduce the cuts from 3.5 FTE to 1.2 FTE. Contact: Heidi Notbohm, 608-829-9223, hnotbohm@mcpasd.k12.wi.us.

Oshkosh Area School District
Meeting with Department of Education to create examples of how IEPs may be written in Wisconsin to incorporate all four quadrants of workload so that Wisconsin SLPs can use a workload analysis approach for caseload standards in schools. Contact: Trici Schraeder, 608-265-4809, pbschrae@wisc.edu

Challenges

Moving forward to implement workload can be challenging. Finding time to organize the project, identifying others who would assist in the project, defining the specific issues to be addressed, marketing the concept to colleagues, administrators, parents and financial concerns are some of the biggest obstacles. 

Advice

The following is offered to consider when addressing these challenges:

  • Consider forming a small group of individuals to address the issues, assigning tasks according to members strengths and interests. Invite others to participate when needed skill areas are not available in the initial group. The team may wish to organize the project over the summer when more time can be devoted to the activity.
  • Be specific about what problems you need to address. What is the current workload problem and what impact does it have on students?
  • Research how workload has been implemented around the country, learning about the various options. What are the options to address the workload issues and provide appropriate services to students? The ASHA Web site has many examples of successful workload strategies and other helpful resources for workload planning.
  • Identify those who can help to resolve the SLP workload issue, working with administrators, teachers unions or associations, district committees etc.
  • Understand what advocacy strategies will have the best chance of generating the desired outcome.
  • Decide upon a reasonable action plan. Start small , perhaps doing a small scale pilot of the workload strategy of choice
  • Do a comprehensive workload study, ensuring all responsibilities are considered and documented.

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