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Getting Ahead in Summer!

By Brittany Zehr, M.S., School Psychologist & Field Manager- Christina School District

If you are like me, you’ve spent the last six weeks of the school year scrambling to get everything done.  No matter how well I plan, there are always last minute requests for evaluations, manifestation meetings, or a special friend who only needs 20 minutes of my time.  So, every year at this time, I’m left scrambling, but then the year ends.  I’m done.  I’ll see you in August.  I’m on vacation and recharging my batteries.  That last for about two weeks and then my thoughts turn to the next school year.  My goal for this
summer is to prep counseling lessons and update my report templates.

Creating or updating report templates is an area where a little work in the summer pays dividends all school year long.  And, let’s face it, report writing is one of our more important functions, but it is also the one thing we never have enough time to do.  Below are some report writing tips that I have used to save me time.  I would encourage you to think about ways you can front load your summer work to help reduce stress during the school year.

Tips to help save you time:

  • If you are looking for example templates, reach out to School Psychologists groups on Facebook (School Psyched, Your School Psychologist; School Psychology Forum; School Psych Lounge; Said No School Psychologist Ever) many share templates through Google Drive
  • Make his and her templates with the combination of tests you give.  For example, I have a WISC-V/WIAT-III, his and her
    template as well as a WASI-II/WIAT-III his and her template.  This saves more time than you think and you won’t stress about sending a report home to Sally’s mom with the word him in it
  • Put all of your commonly used behavior rating scales in your template.  It only take a second to delete the unused rating scale, which is much quicker than opening up a second document and copying/pasting it
  • Charts are your friends.  They increase the readability of your report and decrease the amount
    of time you spend typing
  • Have stock recommendations you can copy and past for your most common problems (work refusal, reading comprehension, reading fluency, etc)
  • Read the book: Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports (Hass & Carriere, 2014).  This book changed the way I write my reports. It changed my perspective on report writing and forced me to become a more consumer focused School Psychologist.