Sunday, October 26, 2008

Susan Simon- Los Angeles Unified School District

(Notes from NSSLHA meeting, 10/20/08)

Benefits of working in LAUSD
• 700 square miles, 670,000 students aged 3-22 with a wide variety of disabilities, 300 SLP’s
• Urban or suburban settings
• Second largest district in USA, after NYC, which means that they can be cutting-edge in some ways with research in conjunction with local universities.
• Caseload variety; normally SELPA pools resources (e.g., DHH students in one district), but LAUSD is its own SELPA, so assignments may be arranged in many different ways depending on your area of interest
• Innovative programs, e.g. 3:1 model therapy:non-therapy, RTI intervention without IEP’s
• New therapist support—this is one of their strengths and one of the most important things for a new clinician. This is more than just CFY supervision, which may be very minimal. LAUSD provides good-quality master clinicians, professional development events, and 3 SLP’s who have part of their job away from the caseload, working with new therapists beginning with intensive training for a few weeks, and continuing supervision all year long. Additionally, you have CFY supervision as well as an administrator who does ongoing evaluation and support.
• Opportunities for advancement
• Good pay, starting at $61, 433 (180 workdays)/$70,756 (210 workdays) with master’s degree and CA license (special services pay scale). With credential (teacher’s pay scale), starting at $45,637-$72,592.
• District sponsored continuing education, where professionals are brought in to the district.
• Prevention and intervention services, following IDEA—to combat the “wait to fail” model, the focus is now on RTI (Response to Intervention) model.
• Web-based IEP’s and daily documentation
• LAUSD-provided laptop
• District-paid medical, dental, vision and mental health for you, spouse and children, as well as lifetime health benefits, life insurance, and STRS (state teacher’s retirement system) membership, which is a powerful pension fund.
• Paid holidays and illness leave—10 days of sick leave each year that rolls over if not used. Districts often don’t tell you that you can take sick leave with you when you leave a school district; it transfers with you to the new district.
• Loan forgiveness programs—up to $17,000 of Perkins Loan forgiven.
• Set of new materials and tests.

Employment requirements: online application, master’s degree, CBEST, letters of recommendation, health/TB clearance, fingerprint clearance, 2 sets of transcripts, etc.

For more information, contact:
Susan Simon, 213-241-3325,
Wililam Hatrick, 213-21-5200, ext. 29176,,

Q and A at the meeting:

You can’t request a particular region to work in LAUSD. Assignments are partially based on seniority. If you’re brand-new, you need to stay in one school for at least 2 years. After that, LAUSD tries to give you one school that is based on preference (e.g., region, assignment) and the other is need-based. You will not be asked to drive more than 20-25 miles or sit in a car for too long. They try to keep therapists within the local district within LAUSD or the next one over.

LAUSD no longer hires clinicians on waivers, unless you are currently within a master’s program and that you can demonstrate clinical experience with diagnostics and therapy.

Caseload size- you are part of the union (UTLA) as an SLP, which is pretty powerful. Caseload is protected by union contract under class size. It’s capped at 55 with teacher’s salary, and 68 with SLP’s salary. If you want to take more, LAUSD will pay for it with teacher’s salary table. This is in your employment contract. To handle workload, LAUSD is moving to 3:1 model to help provide some down time.

SLPA’s- there are only 700 SLPA’s in California, but LAUSD is now in the process of hiring them. Because there are so many uncovered schools, children accrue compensatory time that SLPA’s will cover.

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