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Goals For the New School Year!

GOALS: Not Just For A Student With An IEP, But Why Not For Innovative Enthusiastic Professionals Like Us!

By: Brittany Sheldon M.A.,CCC-SLP Program Supervisor, Pasadena!

The beginning of the school year brings excitement and revitalization to students, teachers, administrators and parents everywhere.  The academic air is buzzing with anticipation as everyone is looking forward to learning new skills and pushing themselves to new limits.  We have new Common Core State Standards that are in full implementation for the 2013-14 school year in California, on top of additional goals that every school and teacher has in mind for their students and families.  But who sets goal standards for faculty and staff?

As teachers, clinicians and support staff, we need to start our new school year with rejuvenated energy and motivation to grow.  It may be that we are drawn to the school setting simply because we thrive off the cyclical nature of our jobs.  New pencils, new clothes, and new teachers – it’s all so refreshing.  So, just as our students approach a new grade, we should ‘reboot’ and develop our own professional growth goals for the year.

Those goals may be as basic as actually following the schedule we create or focusing on taking real-time data.  They may be as complex as implementing the use of visual supports or a weekly push-in session for a whole class.  Maybe your goal is to complete paperwork ahead of schedule or to even execute a continuing education presentation.  Perhaps even making ‘me time’ available to maintain your own rejuvenation.  After all, to care for others, we need to take care of our own well-being as well.  Here are some categories and tasks to consider when setting up your goals:

  • Clinical skills: Try out a new therapy technique, attend a specialized training or certification session
  • Teaching methods: Increase collaboration with another service provider, include a family member
  • Management: Set up caseload organization system, prioritize to-do list
  • Data Collection: Update articulation data every day on chart, create new system for whole-class session
  • Health: Eat lunch everyday, read two chapters of novel by end of each week

As with our IEPs, it’s important to track and monitor the progress you’re making on each growth goal or if you need to modify those goals.  Strategies to help you along, to stay on-track:

  • Tangible: Write down your goals, use visual reminders (e.g., color-coded post-it’s, priority task list)
  • Positive feedback: Reward yourself (e.g., go for a movie, dinner with a friend, have a massage)
  • Support: Buddy up with a colleague, check-in at the same time/day every week
  • Accountability: Establish a tracking system or deadlines, use graphs/charts

Being part of a profession that seems to change on a daily basis, it’s important to stay up-to-date, always push yourself to be better, improve your clinical practice and enhance your communication skills.  With a positive outlook, we can encourage each other in both our professional and personal lives.  Ultimately, we are here to be the best that we can be!