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The Calming Corner: Special Education Referrals and Meetings: Organization

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Special Education Referrals and Meetings: Organization

One of the things I always used to say on interviews was that I was highly organized.  I thought I was, until I started working and realized that my organizational skills were only a fraction of what I needed to survive as a school psychologist.

One of my many jobs is case managing new special education referrals that come in to our school.  With multiple timelines, and multiple referrals at once, I found early on that if I didn't find a system for tracking these, I would be in the trenches faster than you can say "60 day federal timeline".  :)

I came up with a spreadsheet for tracking all referrals, and a cover sheet, I use for my own testing, that I am now on my third year of using (I don't like to share success of things until they have proven effective for a while).

You can find this (Freebie!!) download on my TPT store, or create one yourself.

Here's how and why this has proven a successful tool for me:

  1. I created this spreadsheet (that contains multiple pages) that I save on the shared drive, my whole team can access.  That way, if people have questions on things, they can look at their own leisure.
  2. I have 4 pages on my spreadsheet:  Tri's, Annuals, SPED referrals, SPED caseloads.  This year, I have added to my own, my 504 plans as well.  Although I'm the only one that really uses that page, it helps for me to have it all in one place.
  3. Here's how it works for Triennials and Annuals:

    • At the end of the academic year (if I have time), or the very beginning, I generate a list off our IEP website, of all the upcoming triennials and annuals for that year.  I list those by date. 
    • On the annuals page, I also put those where we have to plan triennials, that way I don't miss anything
    • Once the case managers schedule them, I write that date in as I get invites on my outlook calendar.  This helps to make sure we get them all scheduled on time.  Once they occur, I highlight them in a pretty color to show done!!
  4. For new SPED referrals, I make sure to enter in a referral the day I get it, so I don't forget.  I always enter in the date right away, and try to calculate the 45 and 60 day timeline right then and there, but if I don't have time, I can go back and do it later.  
    • Once our office schedules the meeting (and I get an outlook invite), I enter that in.  If we end up doing evaluations, I write that in as well.
    • Color coding things helps me to keep track of where I am with each case.  Red indicates that student has been found ineligible, yellow means still pending, and green means found eligible.  When we want to look back on past referrals, this is super helpful!
    • I save older years of this whole document on the shared drive, which helps us to look back on years past when we have questions.
5.  Lastly, my last sheet is a SPED caseload sheet that shows each teacher at the top, and a list of students.  This helps when we are figuring out who picks up a student, or just someone calls and has a question!

So that's that.  Since this post is super long as it is, I will share my own testing cover sheet at another time.  I hope this tool helps you stay organized!!

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