Jen Lozier is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at Windsor Hills Elementary/Middle School, where she has worked for the past 6 years of her 10 year career with BCPSS. Jen has also served as her school’s Union Learning Representative (ULR) for the past 5 years. Additionally, she currently serves on the District’s Professional Peer Review Committee.
What are some unique challenges you face as an SLP?
I’d say one of the biggest challenges SLPs face is the amount of paperwork and meetings we have. I’d guess only a little more than half of my job is direct sessions with students, where the other half is writing session notes, progress reports, assessment reports, and attending IEP meetings. This is definitely the biggest factor with SLP burnout in the school setting. Scheduling all of our sessions around students’ lunch and resource schedules and meetings can also be a “fun” challenge.
How has your job been different since the start of the pandemic?
The pandemic really caused a shift in my service delivery model. Since most of my students aren’t able to access technology independently, they required parent support to participate in speech therapy sessions. This really shifted to me coaching the parent on how to provide speech strategies to improve their child’s language and comprehension. Also, the wearing of masks affects speech intelligibility and interpreting non-verbal communication in others.
What inspired you to become a Union Learning Rep?
When I first started working for BCPSS, I found a lot of people didn’t have much information on the AU system and how our raises work. I think this is a great feature that Baltimore City offers that almost no other district does. I love getting to show my colleagues how to navigate career pathways, find opportunities to improve their
practice, develop AU courses and projects, and receive tuition reimbursement for outside coursework.
Describe your work on the Professional Peer Review Committee.
I facilitate cohort sessions for Related Service Provider candidates who are applying for Model where we walk through each section of the Model rubric. I answer questions, show exemplars from previous cohorts, and provide feedback on artifacts the candidates create.
What motivated you to get involved with helping to support candidates for the Model Pathway?
There are so many talented teachers and RSPs in Baltimore City who deserve to be recognized as a Model teacher and I wanted to be a part of encouraging and leading others to apply for Model. I think in past years, a lot of people were turned off or intimidated to apply. Kimberly Hescox Mooney completely revamped the model process a few years ago, making it more equitable and providing more support to applicants. I love being in a position to encourage my colleagues to apply and answering any questions they may have.
Why is being a BTU member important to you?
Being a BTU member is important to me because of the protections it provides and how important it is to have strength in numbers. I have strong confidence in the BTU’s ability to advocate for our benefits and contracts year to year.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would just like to encourage anyone who is thinking about applying for Model to apply next year. Even if you don’t submit a full portfolio your first year, it is really helpful to go through the domain sessions to learn more about the rubric and start gathering documentation you can submit the following year. It is a big time commitment and a lot of work, but it’s so worth it to be rewarded for how hard we all work.