Navigating a New School as an SLP- What to do First

Are you starting as an SLP at a new school? You may be a seasoned SLP or a brand new grad, either way, you are embarking on a new journey.  At least it feels like that!  I have left the comfort of a school that I was a part of for ten years and moved on to other schools and assignments in my same district. With this change comes some anxiety.  You have to meet new staff and get to know all new students. You also have to figure out the culture of the school.  But first, you have to find your room!
This is the first of a series that chronicles how to navigate a new school and caseload.  This will be helpful for new grads venturing into their first job and seasoned veterans who may be switching things up a bit.
So, what are the steps you need to take first?  Here is a list of things to do before you even see your new room.

1.  Make Contact- The first thing you can do is contact your new principal to introduce yourself by email.  You can leave your cell phone number in the email, and let them know you would be excited to talk with them before the school year starts.  

Make contact by sending an email
2.  Find the New School– This may seem like a no-brainer, but figure out where your new school is so that you know where you are going!  You’ll want to look at the traffic patterns in the morning so you can know exactly how long it will typically take you to get there. Best to not be late when you set up a time to meet with your new principal or other staff.
Find your new school
3.  Set Up a Time to Meet- It is a good idea to contact your new principal to set up a time to meet them and get a tour of the school.  This is a great opportunity to meet the secretaries or other office staff as well as possibly some other teachers setting up their rooms and the very important custodians. All of these people will be instrumental in helping you to feel comfortable in your new space.
Plan a meeting time

4.  Shop For Supplies- Ok, so this one isn’t really necessary at this point, but who can resist the great sales before the school year starts? 50 cents for a 24 pack of Crayolas?  That’s awesome!  I like to grab all of my basic speech room supplies before they get too picked over.  I always grab crayons, markers, glue sticks, pencils, pens, sharpies, and colored folders before the school year begins. These staples always seem to go up in price after the school year starts. Plus, if you are a crayon/materials snob like me (hello, Crayola!!) you can grab the brands and colors that you like and not have to rely on your school for these items. 

These four items should get you started, and then you can move on to organizing your materials in your new room! If you are moving into a preschool speech and language position, you may also be interested in learning about how to structure your preschool speech and language space.

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