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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Caseload size

Caseload size

Related Tags: Special Education
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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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TX SpEd Teacher's picture
TX SpEd Teacher
6-8 grade resource and co-teach math

Houston, TX area: Class size guidelines: Life skills and Behavior units: up to 10 kids with a teacher and para...more kids and either another para or creat another class. Resource: up to 12 kids with appropriate para support (whatever that means - I usually average around 10 and have NEVER had any support). Caseload (monitor kids and prepare ARD/IEPs): life skills and behavior monitor their own kids; SLPs monitor the speech only kids; all others are divided among the remaining teachers. Depending on the # of teachers and/or # of kids we have any given year, I have had a caseload of anywhere from 10 to 25.

JB's picture
Intervention Specialist

Wow- after reading some of the comments related to enormous caseloads, I'm wondering how some of you even have time to touch base with even half of your kids to actually teach them something. I cannot imagine the time it takes to keep up on just the paperwork! My heart goes out to each of you. Hopefully there will be a solution soon.

Michelle C's picture

I teach in Colorado where we are experiencing budget cuts like many states. I currently have 21 students on my caseload, but next year it will most likely jump to 36.
We are looking at revamping our system, and I would like to know how other schools, especially high schools, split students into caseloads. My school has four counselors that split students by the alphabet. To make it easier to communicate with the counselors about students, we decided to split our special needs students the same way. So I have all the students with last names r-z for four years. The exception is the ED teacher has any student with this disability, regardless of last name.
The way we split our students has left some teachers with larger caseloads than others, depending on the student's names each year. By caseload, I mean the kids whose IEP's I write. I also teach both pull-out and collaborative classes where I service a number of other students. Some of the students whose IEPs I write, I never see in the classroom.
I am especially interested in how other high school special education teachers are working with their students. My school has approx. 150 students with special needs and 7 special ed teachers. 4 teachers for mild/moderate needs, 1 ED, and 2 severe needs teachers. Due to retirement and budget cuts, we will be down to 3 mild/moderate teachers next year. Thanks for any information I can bring back to our department discussions.

Ann Hyde's picture
Ann Hyde
Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

For me, caseload is defined as the kids for whom I must develop an IEP and gather information. Work load includes caseload, but also the students in my classes. I currently have 16 kids on my caseload, most of whom are not in my classes. my classes range in size from 4 to 12. At the beginning of the year, my classes are usually more uniform in size, and start out capped at 16 kids per class. This is a resource English class.

Ann Hyde's picture
Ann Hyde
Special Ed English teacher, Anchorage, Alaska

I think the goal is to have us really get to know the students on our caseload. However, if the kids aren't in my classes, it is really difficult to get a handle on them. When I call home to report progress, many of the parents don't seem to understand who I am. Classroom teachers expect me to "fix" the kids without ever seeing them. And most of them do have other spec ed teachers. We are advocating for sorting out our caseloads so we do know the kids, but what can we do if our schedules change without notice? We are also advocating to have one period a day to do paperwork, but so far, haven't had the district see why we need it.

Cheri Maupin's picture
Cheri Maupin
Resource Teacher, Community Based Education, High School from Ogallala, Ne

I can totally agree.

Ms. V.'s picture
Ms. V.
Elementary special ed teacher

Here the caseload for a full time Elementary resource teacher is 22 with no aide. We are now going to start to include kids with higher needs in the resource program and will have to advocate and show proof of a need for an aide. I worry that it will be a "wait for them to fail, then document it for a while, then arrange a meeting to talk about assistance" type of deal.

Mrs. Smith's picture
Mrs. Smith

As a parent I was shocked when I found out the caseloads for all individuals doing work in the special ed area. Special ed teachers, SLPs, OTs, PTs, etc. Why isn't there a union to represent you???

Cheri Maupin's picture
Cheri Maupin
Resource Teacher, Community Based Education, High School from Ogallala, Ne

Our state does not have caseload restriction and the average caseload can range from 10 to 30 students. I work with ID students with some behavior problems, they are my caseloads. I have several behaviors, ID, SLD, TBI, and OHI.

Marys's picture

I'm teach high school, self contained class. In ny, my class is 15:1:1, meaning 1 teacher and 1 aide for 15 students. Most special Ed teachers would argue that means 15 in a caseload. The schools argue it means 15 in each class period. We have 6 class periods, so I could technically have 90 students on my caseload. The law is very vague. Resource room teachers have a total is 22 on their caseload. I have had to double up my classes in order to take on resource room students in order to keep their numbers down. Fair? Of course not, but that is the reality. At the high school level there are no age restrictions either. I have 14 year olds in the same class as 20 year olds. My class is a mix of LD, Ed, Autistic, and Cognitively deficient. And one last note, thanks to my governor, I am evaluated on how my students do on Regents exams (the same exam the Valedictorian must pass) or I could lose my job.

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