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Caseload size

Caseload size

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I am very interested in advocating for special education working conditions. Caseload size seems to be the biggest factor, and seems to vary a great deal from state to state. What is a reasonable workload and caseload size?? I have talked to people in some states who have caseloads of 12-15 students with mild disabilities, while others have 40, 50 or more. I have several questions I would like people to respond to: 1) Does your state or district have caseload limitations? 2) What is the average caseload for your district for resource? for Lifeskills?

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Marys's picture

There is a life skills class where the students take the alt. assess. My students are unable to be successful in the regular class, even with support. Our goal is to improve their skills so they can get back into the mainstream. Some make it all the way, some partially, some never. No matter what their disability, they are all working towards a regular high school diploma.

brandi's picture
Special Education k-6

My state does not have a limit. My caseload just hit 61. It is way to many. I cannot keep track the way I should. I am a resource teacher and kids are pulled in for 45 minutes a day per subject they are on an IEP for. I am the only sped teacher on campus, so I have a range from SLD, Autism, ID, and behavior. I need there to be a cap, I am struggling to keep up and the kids are not getting the attention they deserve.

brandi's picture
Special Education k-6

I hear you, I am in Oregon too and my caseload is at 61. We need to do something about this!!!!

Sharon Carroll's picture
Sharon Carroll
k-2 Lifeskills Special Education Teacher in Oregon

Hello All! I just found and joined edutopia. I'm excited to collaborate with all of you. I teach in a specialized program (self-contained classroom) with students who experience significant cognitive and communication disabilities. We see a lot of behaviors, since we are the first real school experience (other than early intervention) that are students have. For next year I was told that I will be up to 17 students! Yes, 17! 6 kinders, 7 1st graders and 4 2nd graders. And... one of my 5 assistants is being transferred out, so my staff is reduced to 4 assistants. Hmmmm.... 5 total adults with 14 students at any given time.... that's extremely high needs students with 1 adult for discrete trial instruction, feeding ( 1/3 of my students have to be tube fed or spoon fed) and recess and other activities. I'm ready to give up!

Sharon Carroll's picture
Sharon Carroll
k-2 Lifeskills Special Education Teacher in Oregon

Thanks Samer. It's nice to be around more colleagues. :)

Kim Kleve's picture

My school has a matrix they follow based on how many points each student is worth. They get points for pull out time, # of goals, accommodations, etc. You are not allowed to go over 120 points. When I went over this year by 15 points, my principal adjusted my schedule and hired an additional paraprofessional to help.

John Hanson's picture
John Hanson
Special Education Director

This is my first post, so here goes! The best answer in special education is "It depends." If you work in a larger school, the ability to specialize based on disability category is a little easier...such as bd, life skills, asd, and sld. Typically, the higher the need of student, the fewer students you should have on your caseload. At McCook (NE) Public, our life skills teachers typically have anywhere from 6-10, and I think that is pretty standard across the midwest, at least for where it should be. Our teachers that have bd caseloads are close to that range, but maybe a little higher, like 8-12ish. Another reason why it's important to keep these teachers caseloads relatively low is the supervision of paraeducators assigned to these high needs students. If your caseload is primarily students with learning disabilities, that you may only see once or twice a day and don't have the significant needs as life skills and bd students, their caseload should be in the 12-20ish range.

If you are a lone special education teacher in a building or even a rural district, you get them all! So, that being said, and there are always exceptions to the rule, the magic number should be right around 15ish.

Samantha Y.'s picture

Wow, after reading some of these comments I am shocked! I have a caseload of about 25 currently in Arizona and while teaching in Indiana, I had 20-30. It is insane to me that some teachers have 60 students on their caseload list. When I say this, I mean case carriers that are responsible to hold IEP meetings, etc. for the students. I see numerous students who may or may not be on my caseload, but as far as being a case carrier, there definitely needs to be some law to decrease the numbers!

Jane Chu's picture

I am a special ed Life Skills teacher in AZ. This is my 3rd year in high school, and I am still struggling with not having time to see my caseload students who are SLD or ED. The major struggling is I have to write the goals for them. Especially when their subject teachers did not provide enough information, how I am going to write goals for them and not really reflect the students' needs?

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