Barstow Unified School District

A K-12 school district serving more than 6,000 students

The Challenge

The district needed a way to reduce overwhelming caseloads and extensive travel time for its SLP

The Solution

The district partnered with PresenceLearning to deliver live, online speech-language therapy

The Results

PresenceLearning balanced the caseloads for its onsite SLPs and provided a proven alternative delivery method that is now used by 140 students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, up from 16 students during the district’s initial implementation

PresenceLearning really helps our students thrive and make great progress on their individual education programs, plus our onsite SLPs have more dedicated time to spend with these students since the time they previously spent traveling was reduced.

- Joni James, Director II of Pupil Services at Barstow USD

The Story Of Barstow Unified School District

When its SLPs started to experience overwhelming caseloads and spend an inordinate amount of time traveling to and from various school sites, Barstow USD in Barstow, CA knew it needed a better way to support its onsite clinicians and the students they serve. Under the leadership of Director II of Pupil Services, Joni James, the district turned to PresenceLearning. In the initial year, PresenceLearning was successfully used with approximately 15 students with special needs from one elementary school, in addition to one student on home hospital. Since then, the district experienced ongoing shortages of onsite SLPs and used online therapy in a greater capacity to fill the void and help balance the caseloads of the district’s onsite SLPs.
Now, 140 students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels are receiving online speech therapy. The district additionally plans to further expand its partnership with PresenceLearning during the 2018-19 school year to include online psychoeducational assessments. Barstow USD’s outstanding organizational leadership, teamwork, and improved outcomes in helping students with special needs succeed has resulted in it winning a PresenceLearning Award of Excellence for two consecutive years.

Even our middle school students, who used to be embarrassed to go to in-person therapy sessions because of the ‘stigma’ around it, have been flourishing with PresenceLearning.

- Joni James, Director II of Pupil Services at Barstow USD