Arizona, Virginia School Districts Recognize Value of CCCs As the current school year draws to a close, three different school districts are giving speech-language pathologists something extra to look forward to when they return in the fall. The value of their services—and their certification—will be reflected in larger paychecks for school-based SLPs in one Arizona district and two ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   June 01, 2003
Arizona, Virginia School Districts Recognize Value of CCCs
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School-Based Settings / School Matters
School Matters   |   June 01, 2003
Arizona, Virginia School Districts Recognize Value of CCCs
The ASHA Leader, June 2003, Vol. 8, 3-15. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.08112003.3
The ASHA Leader, June 2003, Vol. 8, 3-15. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.08112003.3
As the current school year draws to a close, three different school districts are giving speech-language pathologists something extra to look forward to when they return in the fall. The value of their services—and their certification—will be reflected in larger paychecks for school-based SLPs in one Arizona district and two districts in Virginia.
Success in Arizona
Arizonaߣs Kayenta Unified School District recently adopted a new salary schedule for SLPs. Based on a 10-month contract, SLPs holding the Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) will receive $1,000–$1,500 more per year of employment than SLPs who have their masterߣs degree but are not certified.
Kristan DeVore, the district SLP who spearheaded this salary initiative, adds that, on the new schedule, the base pay for masterߣs-level SLPs is approximately $9,000 more than masterߣs-level teachers.
A collaborative effort consisting of district SLPs, the special education director, the district superintendent, and resources provided by ASHAߣs State Education Action Team was required to obtain approval for this change from the Kayenta Board of Education.
DeVore explains that the district special education director, Marti Gilmore, saw the need for a separate salary schedule for certified SLPs when, while hiring an SLP last year, she became aware of how low their salary offer was in relation to neighboring districts.
A proposal was drafted recommending the creation of a separate salary scale based on the training and requirements of the CCC and the recent federal mandate, No Child Left Behind. The proposal was submitted to the Board of Education along with a letter of support from the district superintendent, who reported his difficulty with attracting qualified applicants and said that Kayentaߣs salary schedule for SLPs was not competitive.
The superintendent also stated that a higher salary schedule for certified SLPs was needed to attract highly qualified professionals. The Board of Education agreed, and the new salary schedule goes into effect in the 2003–2004 school year.
“Our increase in salary is great,” DeVore says, “but most important to me is that the district is acknowledging our expertise and value with the salary schedule implementation.”
Victories in Virginia
Two Virginia counties in the Richmond area recently approved salary supplements for ASHA-certified, school-based SLPs.
Chesterfield County Public Schools passed a budget initiative this spring that provides a 5% differential—over and above the existing masterߣs degree scale and annual incentives—for all SLPs who hold a masterߣs degree and ASHA certification.
SLP Marie Ireland, president-elect of the Speech-Language-Hearing Association of Virginia, began crafting a proposal for the salary supplement last fall, working closely with the countyߣs director of exceptional education, Jacqueline Wilson. The proposal focused on the effect of staff shortages on students and also provided historical information on retention and recruitment.
Irelandߣs proposal also pointed out that the standards for the ASHA CCC-SLP are equally rigorous and comparable to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification requirements. Further, NBPTS does not offer certification for SLPs, and Virginia does not recognize the CCC-SLP as equivalent to NBPTS.
Next, the proposal was drafted as a budget initiative addressing retention and recruitment issues. After making it past the budget committee, the proposal was required to get school board approval, approval from the county government, and then a final signature from the superintendent.
“Chesterfield County Public School SLPs are thrilled, and we hope our success can be a road map for others on a path to recognition and compensation for national certification,” Ireland says. She advises others seeking such recognition to “highlight the impact on student achievement, use data to support your request, and be sure administrators understand the important work of the school-based SLP.”
In nearby Hanover County, Anne Munden, the districtߣs coordinator for speech-language pathology and early intervention Part C provider, says “recognition of CCCs and licensure as more than just a ‘speech teacherߣ with a masterߣs degree has been a personal quest for my whole career.” Munden says the subject of salary supplements has been brought up frequently in the Richmond area over the past few years, especially when talking about the scarcity of applications for school-based SLPs.
“Hanover County has consistently been supportive of their SLPs in hiring additional clinicians to keep caseloads down and in ordering tests and materials needed by SLPs,” Munden says. When she approached the countyߣs director and assistant director of personnel about a possible salary supplement—armed with information from ASHAߣs State Education Action Team about the equivalency of NBPTS teachers and licensed SLPs with CCCs—they agreed that an incentive stipend would be helpful in securing qualified candidates.
Munden wrote a proposal and says that Robert Whytal, the countyߣs special education director, gave 100% support and even added some verbiage. He carried the proposal forth and was able to secure one half the amount of the proposed stipend for next year—$1,250 for 2003–2004. The following year, the full proposed amount of $2,500 will be budgeted.
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June 2003
Volume 8, Issue 11