Why is it that whenever progress report time comes around, I completely dig my heels in the dirt. I am the queen procrastinator doing this drawn out task. Let me will tell you why. Progress reporting periods seem to come right when I have 4 pending assessments and 5 IEP’s to write. I have hidden places in my speech room dedicated to shoving piles of paperwork that I know I need, but don’t want to lose. Right around progress report time, my tolerance for the “piles” has hit its max and I go in cleaning frenzy mode. Thus, neglecting my progress reporting adventure. Not to mention that you have 60-80 on your caseload, so the idea of writing progress on 80 students makes you want to apply for a job at Starbuck’s.
Please tell me I am not the only SLP that has thought about a career change to be a barista mid-year.
This year let’s all finish progress reports like an SLP rockstar! Growth mindset, right folks!?
Every year progress reports stress me out! This year I am determined to manage the stress better. There are some external factors that I believe make this case management task a little more manageable. First of all, my caseload is at 48 this year. I know, gasp, right!?
Over half my career, I have had a caseload of 65-83! So, cutting out 15-25 progress reports was a blessing!
How To Finish Progress Reports Like A Rock Star
Here are some tips that will help YOU complete progress reports in a timely manner:
Treat Yo Self
Budget some money and/or time to reward yourself for completing these ghastly things! Starbuck’s, manicure, happy hour with friends, a hike, date night, etc. Keep that reward on a post it note right next to your desk as you are cranking these fun things out. We all need motivation to complete undesirable tasks and progress monitoring is definitely one of them.
Try to take data during your sessions
I try to take data on goals during therapy when I can. Rubrics are a great tool to collect data on those kids that you couldn’t take discrete trial data during the session. I love The Speech Bubble’s Rubrics! SLP’s can play a generic game like Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Go Fish, or Candyland, during a session. Grab stimulus items for each student’s goals in your group and have a progress monitoring game day! Before each turn, a student has to complete a question/stimulus item, so you can take data on each student. I have some of Natalie Synder’s progress monitoring tools that are great to use during the session. I also will do a “craft” day with students and use my craftivity sets to progress monitor. While each student is working on their craft, I will pull them aside to progress monitor their goals. The stimulus items on the crafts are also a way that I can “assess” their skills. So, if a students has the craft template with “categories”, I will have the student name three items in that category.
Block Out Time For Progress Monitoring
Block out time for progress monitoring. Batch a large chunk of time to grab students for progress monitoring. If you only have 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there to do this task, you will NEVER get it done. SLP’s can block off a day or a large portion of time to progress monitor your students.
Use Tools That Will Help You Get The Job Done
This year, I am using SLPToolKit to help me assess progress on my student’s goals! SLPtoolkit is an online progress monitoring caseload management tool. You can read all about it HERE! Some of my student’s have four to five goals, so this has been great to assess their growth. Everything is digital, but I can then print out a copy if I want to bring to an IEP or send home with parents!
Start Progress Monitoring Early
If you are not careful, progress reports will creep up on you! You need to get started three weeks before they are due. Some things you can start doing is printing out labels for addresses (if you have to mail them out), write out a cover letter for your progress notes, review goals, and find materials to help measure goals. Map out on your calendar when you will progress monitor students such as “Monday 8-10″ progress students with last names A-E.”
In order to remember all the steps to getting these progress reports completed, you need a checklist! I scribbled out a checklist with a column for “student”, “progress monitor”, “write in IEP”, “print progress report”, and “give to teacher/mail”. This helped me not to forget a step! Often times, I will forget where I left off in the progress monitoring adventure. Then, when I returned to finish the task, it leaves a higher chance that I will forget a few students. This has helped me to stay focused and make less errors.
Click Here to get my progress monitoring checklist
You can click the yellow button if you want a copy of my checklist! I made a prettier version for you and I will now use this nice copy in the future.
Hide & Lock Your Door
Seriously. You need to stop talking to all your colleagues during lunch, before and after school. This is game time. You only have a certain amount of hours in the day and these bad boys need to be completed. So, lock your door and leave a note that says “This SLP is knee deep in progress reports, come back next week”. When you are doing your progress reports, don’t LOOK at your emails until your blocked time is finished. Reading emails will only side track you even further. Trust me!
These are my tips for how to finish progress reports like a rock star! What are you tips and tricks…..psst…this means all you OCD, super organized, have a place for everything SLP’s need to comment below (love you type A’s).