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Hello School Psychologist friends! I MADE IT. I just had my last IEP meeting of the school year! Every part of me wants to shove all my files in a box, activate an out-of-office email auto-reply, and just ride out these last few work days. Yet, I know from over 15 years in this job that a little bit of effort to organize and plan for next school year goes a long way to starting off in the fall right. *

So without further ado…the Top 5 Things School Psychologists Can Do to Get Ready for Next Year:

1) Reflect on the reflection of your reflection.

There’s nothing psychologists love more than deep reflection, right? It’s helpful to look back to the promises and pitfalls of your school year. Take a moment to write down your top achievement of the school year and one thing you want to change for next year.

Post your answers by June 15th, 2017 on the Notes from the School Psychologist Facebook page for a chance to win a pressie from me! Hint: It starts with “The School Psychologist” and ends with “Guide.”

2) Get feedback/data from your staff about your work

What school psychologist doesn’t love DATA? Whip up a survey on Survey Monkey in a few minutes and send it to your teachers and administrators you’ve worked with about your work over the year. Find out what types of support you gave that they valued the most? Consultation? Counseling? Program Development? Assessment? IEP attendance?

Then, you can use the data in the fall with the Powers That Be to show that you are much more than just a testing machine. When I did this, my highest valued service was not the way I cleverly wrote up the phonological processing section of my reports, but offering counseling services to kids in crisis.  I shared the information with my supervisor and the Principal to advocate for more counseling time at the school.

3) Prep the fall initials and triennials

If you’re returning to the same school site next year, you probably have a good sense of what’s on deck for September. And it may be already packed with overflow initial assessments from this spring and kiddos you know are going to be due for triennials.

“Future You” will thank “Present You” if you put together some of the data for these kids on-deck for the fall. Some of the things I do include: teacher feedback forms, rating scales, parent intake/interview, talking with support staff (SLPs, OTs, therapists) about their work with the student, and cumulative folder review. I put them all in a folder so we’re ready to go in the fall. It is like a present you give your future self!

4) Make a Follow-up List of Kids You Want to Check in on Next Year

Do you have a counseling caseload? Did you see any kids in crisis counseling? Are there students who you are not going to be working with again but want to make sure they’re doing okay? Make a list now, when they are fresh in your mind. Even if you won’t be continuing to work with a student in the fall,  a quick check-in with a student about their summer can make them feel important. You might also find out that they do probably need someone to work with them and you can work to connect them to support.

5) Download your FREE copy of the School Psychologist’s Survival Guide time-saving forms!

Whaaaaa? Free schwag? Yes! Many of you already have the School Psychologist’s Survival Guide and have emailed me to get the forms in the book in PDF form. So I put a little PDF carepackage together for y’all! Those of you who don’t have the book, you can get the forms too, along with the first chapter of the guide, and see if the book might be up your alley. It’s a great beach read! Well, maybe not, but it’s a good way to get a jump start on making next year your most efficient and enjoyable year yet.

Click here to enter your email address so I can send you the Guide!

BONUS TIP!

When you’re all done, have a fabulous summer. Get outside. Celebrate surviving another school year. Read something for funsises. Recharge. Travel. Sit by a pool. Do nothing. Play with your kids. Just be. You’ve earned it, friends!

*Oh who am I kidding? You guys know me by now. I was born to go to Office Max and color code and label everything I see. I actually love this time of year!

12 thoughts on “Top 5 Things School Psychs Can Do To Get Ready for Next Year

  1. I would love the PDF mentioned. I am stating my internship next year any help would be appreciated.

  2. Would you be willing to share the Survey Monkey survey that you did for the end of the year? I’m curious how you phrased your questions to gain the information that you needed

  3. I would like the PDF please. It’s my first year and I could use any information that you are willing to share!

  4. Dr. Branstetter, I just discovered your blog, and it has some interesting readings and thoughts. I take it from what you’ve said that in your work environment, school starts in September and ends in June; further, I’m guessing you are on a 10 or 11 month contract. The environment is somewhat different here in Florida, where school starts in early August and is done by Memorial Day in May. While some of my colleagues work 10 month teacher contracts, the standard contract is 11 months, and some of us, me included, get very little break, because we are on 12 month (247 days) contracts. That was also my experience in western Pennsylvania, where I worked for 11 years before moving to Florida in 1986. Unlike some places which have a much more favorable ratio of school psychologists to students, in my current district between Tampa and Orlando there are only 38 school psychologists for 105,000 students. Given our 60 calendar day timeline to complete initial evaluations and a 90 school attendance day timeline to complete reevaluations for Exceptional Student Education students from the time parent consent is received, school psychologists now do mostly assessments and report writing and fewer comprehensive services, such as counseling, consultation, etc. For more about our district, see the website.

    1. Wow, that is a challenging ratio and I can see why assessment has to be the primary role. I worked in a similar district and there were some creative ways to get funding for comprehensive services, even during budget cuts. The district has to prioritize and value school psych services though, which requires some strategy–we must be seen as more than testing machines!

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