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ElemSped13's Message:

Lunch is a great idea. I appreciated when my new team met and looked at caseloads before the year started. I'd add stuff like learning the phone, copier, if you prep for testing, and maybe special events that you know will affect schedules.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
whatever 05-17-2019 07:10 AM

we all take for granted--

are there common supplies, copy paper, more and how to access? if not, how to get a P.O.
is there a code on the printer and where is the printer at?
is there on ground storage for old furniture, tables, bookshelves?
is there a book room or common resource space? unused text books?
will she have a curriculum or need to build her own?
best place to park? enter the building?

any unwritten rules about the parking lot, teacher's room, office? Dress code? Not gossip but things to watch for...

Where to pick up forms for requisitions, days off, work orders, similar... copies of things that come out about now involving next school year.

Basically, just about anything you wondered about or wished you knew when you were a first year teacher yourself.

WGReading 05-14-2019 01:09 PM

That is a great list.

Non-SPED related, you may want to go over some of the unspoken things that teachers to your building might find helpful, like...

Does she pick up her kids, or do they come to her? Are they picked up in a specific place, like a common hall area, or from classrooms?
Does she walk them back, or do they walk back on their own?
Is there some generally used way to communicate re: behavior and progress between her and the classroom teacher? (Like if a kid is making poor behavior choices, how/when would she let the classroom teacher know)
Is there any kind of beginning of the year stuff that she can plan for like beginning of the year assemblies, building orientation, fire drill, etc? [In our building, on the 1st day of school a good chunk of the morning is spent with the grade levels going around the building on a rotation and learning cafeteria expectations, how/where to walk out to the bus, where to cross if you are a walker, etc. The specialists are the ones who run those stations, so if I had a new teammate, she would need to know ahead of time about that.]

Haley23 05-13-2019 02:41 PM

Thanks for the detailed list! In our program, she'll have to start working on IEPs and meetings right away. We have a staffing day on Mondays and each person typically has several meetings every single week. I might have 1-2 weeks all year where I don't have any IEPs that week. It starts right away due to all the transfers we get. So I can't really spread that stuff out as much, but I could put together something like this that would fit more with our schedule/expectations. I do really like how you have something planned out for each week. Thanks again for the detailed explanation! This really helped me think through things.

SpedinTx 05-13-2019 11:54 AM

I have mentored several first year teacher's in a very busy, large special education classroom. I found the secret is to not overload the new person on the first week. Give the information out as needed.

Before first day of class cover:

  • her class list and their IEP's as they pertain to goals, objectives, and accommodations
  • her class schedule and any duties expected of her the first week
  • first week lesson plans including all the emergency drill information
  • introductions to the important people ie secretaries, ect.
  • any paperwork required
During the first week:
  • grading expectations, setting up grade books
  • tracking objectives and documenting services
  • contacting parents and maintaining a parent log
  • lesson plans for second week, how to make copies
During the second week:
  • progress report expectations
  • determining when annual reviews will be held
  • setting up a calendar of reviews and then back dating 8 weeks placing a start working on Billy Bob's IEP note on calendar for example if a review is due April 1st, I would put a note Feb 1 to start the IEP paperwork
During the third week:
  • Determining which state tests each of my students will take and the state objectives covered on those tests
  • Create a year long (very vague) plan to cover those objectives as well as the IEP goals. In Texas we are not expected to teach all of the TEKS. Texas gives us 4 Essential Statements per test to focus on.
From then on we meet every Monday and Wed before school to cover things for the week like first football game expectations, paperwork due dates, answer any questions

Eight weeks before first annual meeting:
  • how to develop present level of performance
  • how to use present levels to create a meaningful goal with obtainable but not easy objectives
Seven weeks before the annual meeting:
  • review the goals and objectives
  • complete the parts of the review that pertain to every student
  • how to determine the level of state testing and any accommodations the student needs
Six weeks before the meeting complete any supplements that pertain to the individual student. (I spread the review paperwork over three weeks as not to overload the new teacher)

I hope this helps
ElemSped13 05-12-2019 03:53 PM

Lunch is a great idea. I appreciated when my new team met and looked at caseloads before the year started. I'd add stuff like learning the phone, copier, if you prep for testing, and maybe special events that you know will affect schedules.

Haley23 05-12-2019 03:25 PM

Thanks! I'll definitely let her know about the former teacher- I just think that most new teachers would want to "go above and beyond" and it would still be really easy for her to fall in the trap of listening to all of this stuff previous teacher did. Previous teacher also has 20 years of experience in addition to putting in all of the hours. There is no way this new teacher will be able to do it all even if she wanted to. I really hope this new teacher is someone who won't cave to that sort of thing.

When I was new, my teammates took me out to a lunch before school started and I really appreciated that because I had some friendly faces before walking into the first PD days before school. I'll propose to my remaining teammates that we do that again.

SDT 05-12-2019 02:50 PM

You might give her a heads-up about the situation created by the former teacher and let her know what the actual requirements/expectations are. Other than that, an overview and schedule of what paperwork is required and when it will be due, when/how parent conferences and IEP conferences are scheduled, names and contact information of people she will need and guidance about when she should contact them (related service personnel, etc) and information about any unique activities or duties that are expected (Ex: Fall carnival; Assist w/ District or state testing) as well as things she should not have to do (copy papers for teachers, cover a class or duty post for a teacher, etc). I would ask her if she would like to set up a weekly or bi-weekly time to meet or if she would prefer to keep things informal. I would also ask if she would like text or email reminders for upcoming paperwork due dates if that is something you would be comfortable doing.

Haley23 05-12-2019 08:40 AM

Next year, my teammate will be a brand new first year teacher . My school is pretty tough and first year teachers tend to struggle. The other thing is, any time I've started a new sped position, I've been the only sped teacher in the building and had to just figure everything out (they didn't hire a 2nd teacher for my building until my 2nd year here). So I really don't have a lot of experience with what help for a first year sped teacher should look like.

The teacher who is currently in that position is an insane workaholic who works 80+ hours per week, so I was already feeling sorry for whoever has to take over for her. She's going to be hearing a lot of, "but previous teacher did..." which is going to be even harder to stand up against for a brand new teacher.

We don't have a formal mentor program- informally, I would be her mentor. We have an instructional coach that P insists will be helping, but I'll believe it when I see it. We'll also have a ton of new classroom teachers and instructional coach has done very little with me in the past. She also will obviously not know anything about IEPs/meetings/case management.

I'm figuring that we start with navigating the online IEP system and going over what her responsibilities as case manager will be. I saved an old "IEP checklist" the district used to make us use (expectations are the same, they just no longer make us fill out the paper) and I'm betting I'll have an IEP scheduled before she does, so I'll invite her to sit in on the meeting to see what it looks like.

What else? How much support am I expected to provide as far as instruction? It's not the same as getting a new grade level teammate, because we'll be teaching different things. I also don't want her to feel like I'm just telling her everything and that she doesn't have any freedom to do her own thing.

Should I set up like a weekly time to check in with her, or just let things be informal? We have a weekly sped team meeting, but that's a place for all of the service providers to meet, so she may not be comfortable asking for help in that environment if she needs it.




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