young boy sitting on floor with female speech therapist reviewing flash cards

Unlocking Solutions for Staff Shortages in Education


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Our staff shortages in special education are not short-term or temporary. They are here to stay for a long time and that means we need to get serious about how staff shortages are impacting individual children and what we can do to move forward without playing the waiting game of "when we get staff, this will be better". 

Exploring the Consequences of Staff Shortages: Remember, staff shortages impact each child's education differently and it's important to figure out which of these 4 areas have been impacted most before we seek solutions. 

Limited Individualized Attention: When there's a shortage of staff, it becomes tough to provide children with the personalized attention they need to receive appropriate special education services. We all know how crucial one-on-one support can be!

Delayed Progress: Insufficient staff leads to difficulties implementing timely interventions and supports, resulting in delayed progress or additional delays in a child's academic, social, and emotional development. 

Increased Workload for Existing Staff: With fewer educators available, our dedicated teachers have to take on even more responsibilities. Burnout is a term we use too casually. It's real and it may impact the quality of support a teacher can provide.

Impacted Collaborative Efforts: Collaboration is the cornerstone of special education, but staff shortages strain effective communication, coordination of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and the maintenance of consistent support systems for our children.

Now let's talk solutions! 

We need to stop writing IEPs the same way we did just a few years ago. It's time for us to figure out what has worked in the past, what tools we have available today, and how can we design an IEP for the future. 

Example: There is a HUGE shortage of speech therapists in our school, especially for our students ages 3-8 years old. 

Missing services and playing the waiting game for staff to arrive or constantly negotiating compensatory services is not a reasonable approach. 

It's time for us to explore solutions like PenguinSmart!

How Penguin Smart Bridges the Gap of Staff Shortages for Speech Therapy:

A. Adaptive Learning and Individualization: PenguinSmart harnesses the power of remarkable technology to deliver adaptive learning experiences tailored precisely to a child's needs. Even with staff shortages, Penguin Smart ensures that a child receives the individualized attention they require by supporting BOTH parents and teachers. 

B. Data-Driven Insights and Collaboration: By collecting and analyzing data, PenguinSmart provides educators and parents with valuable insights into a child's progress. Even without an abundance of staff, you can make informed decisions and offer appropriate support for progress. Penguin Smart also fosters a collaborative environment, allowing teachers and parents to come together as a team. You'll have a virtual support system at your fingertips, where you can share observations, exchange ideas, and work towards a child's success.

C. Customizable Lesson Plans: We all know that every child is unique, right? PenguinSmart understands that too! It empowers parents and teachers to partner with skilled therapists and language coaches to create personalized lesson plans that align perfectly with a child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The best part? These plans can easily adapt and change as a child progresses. Even with staffing challenges, a child will continue to receive tailored instruction and support. PenguinSmart truly helps our amazing parents, teachers, and therapists effectively manage their time and resources.

More About PenquinSmart: 

Founded by a Harvard-MIT couple combining HealthTech and a social mission, our team combines the latest data sciences with expert insights to empower parents to become a daily part of their children's development journey. By helping families effectively integrate communication techniques into daily life, we see children show faster and more sustained improvement compared to relying on weekly speech therapy alone (in some cases 2-3x faster). PenguinSmart is an Alchemist Accelerator-backed social enterprise and was nominated for the global "Top 100 Healthcare Visionaries" award in 2021. Our greatest award is our high satisfaction rating (4.8 out of 5 stars) from our clients, keeping us focused on our mission to "help every child and family reach their life potential, no matter their starting point." (EN).

There is an undeniable shortage of therapists to provide in-person service, but traditional teletherapy cannot fully meet the need,  especially for the youngest children. We are filling the gap by working with school districts, regional centers, and preschools to provide one-to-one support for their preschooler families to effectively integrate family assessments and IEPs into home routines. Reach us at [email protected] to learn how we can help

For parents, we are launching a highly subsidized impact pilot to track the progress of selected families from across the nation. Families pay less than half of the normal price to participate for the full 3-months of our premium private coaching service. Sign up through

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Struggling with staff shortages and need to find more creative solutions? 
Reach Out and Let's See How Working Together Can Help
Email Catherine Here

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