Parents who are involved with their child’s education will find the need to communicate with the teacher and school from time to time. The communication may be simple; calling to report your child’s absence due to illness or more complicated; requesting a meeting time to resolve an issue. In either situation it is a good idea to keep a record of your contacts.
When making a phone call to the school to report an absence or any other simple request, making a note on your calendar would be sufficient to help you remember that you made the call and the reason for it. In most cases there will be no need to refer back to your note regarding the call, but there are times that it is helpful to know when and why the call was made.
Sometimes you will want to send a note to school with your child, perhaps a message to be delivered to the teacher or a signed permission slip. When you do this, make a note on your calendar. If it is important that the message is delivered, you may want to drop it off yourself rather than trusting it to your child.
Most schools and teachers are willing to communicate via email. This can be a preferred mode of sharing information because it allows you to have a written, dated document. Many teachers are happy to provide a daily report regarding any concerns you might have for your child. For example, if your child is taking a new medication, it is important to know how the medication is impacting your child’s school performance.
If you find that there is an issue that requires a meeting, making a note regarding the issues that have led up to this point can help you explain what you are concerned about. When going to this meeting, make sure that you have any documentation you have kept regarding previous attempts to address the problem. You will want to make a list of the questions that you have and the preferred resolution. This will help you keep on track during the meeting. Take notes during the meeting so that you are able to review the discussion at a later time.
Some children may have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) that needs to be reviewed regularly. If this is the case with your child, make sure you bring the current IEP to the meeting. You should have taken the time to review the document and make notes in areas where you have questions. Check the previously agreed upon goals and include the progress reports that have been sent to you. This is a good time to determine if the progress achieved is on target with your expectations. If not, ask why not.
Reviewing the current IEP is a good way to begin the process of developing the new plan. Be aware of the goals and services that are being proposed. If your child has made good progress, the new goals should be more advanced. If there has been little to no progress, there should be a discussion about what needs to be modified to make your child more successful.
Keeping track of all your communication with the school can help you verify your concerns and your efforts to resolve any issues. This documentation may never be needed, but is good to have just in case you do.
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