Keeping School Records on Your Child
By Dr. Kenneth Shore
As your child goes through school, you will attend many meetings, make and receive numerous phone calls, and accumulate a myriad of documents. By keeping careful track of these communications, you can enhance your ability to advocate for your child. A comprehensive, well-organized file can help you monitor your child’s progress (or lack of progress), recognize patterns of performance, identify strengths and weaknesses, and prepare for meetings. The file’s contents may even provide you with the documentation to justify your requests for educational services and hold the school district accountable for its promises.
This file, best kept in chronological order, might include:
- developmental history of your child (for example, age of reaching various milestones)
- relevant medical information
- report cards, progress reports, and samples of schoolwork
- standardized test results
- your observations of your child’s strengths and weaknesses
- notes about prior school problems and helpful responses
- notes of contacts with school staff or other professionals
- names and addresses of helpful organizations or individuals
- letters sent and received
- relevant articles that you have clipped
Keeping careful records is especially crucial for parents of special education students. If your child is in special education, you will receive a variety of documents related to your child’s education, most importantly the Individualized Education Program (IEP).