The reports and paperwork you receive from your child’s school are worth saving for future reference.
You have the right to request copies of everything in your child’s official school records.
It’s especially important to keep IEP and 504 plan records.
The school sends you reports that tell you how your child is doing in school and what the school is doing for him. You may know to keep a file of those records. But did you know there are other records, both formal and informal, that are important to keep for future reference?
Keeping all of your child’s school records can help you see
trends and patterns over time. The records you keep can provide specific details and documentation when you’re talking about the resources your child needs to succeed in school. Here are the types of records to keep—and why they’re important.
Records That Paint a Fuller Picture
The communications you receive from teachers and the school can paint a fuller picture of how your child is doing in school. For example:
Graded tests and homework can show where your child is struggling or improving in different subjects.
Report cards provide a snapshot of how your child is doing academically.
Standardized test scores show you how your child is doing compared to other kids in your school and state. This is also a report on how well the school is performing.
emails about classroom behavior, social skills or attendance issues can indicate issues you may need to talk over with his teacher. These items are informative the day you receive them. But keeping them on file at home will let you look back to see patterns or trends in how your child—and the teacher or school—are doing over time.
Be sure to keep any
progress reports and communication about what teachers and other school staff are doing for your child. You may even want to download a
parent-school communication log to keep a record of conversations between you and school officials.
This can help you document patterns and keep track of what you talked about and the decisions that were made. When you can point to specific information, you can better ensure
your child’s rights are being protected.
Official School Records
It’s a good idea for you to have copies of everything that’s in your child’s official school records. In fact, there’s a federal law called
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that gives you rights around your child’s educational records, including the right to see and photocopy them all.
Not every school uses the same organization system, so ask your school administrators how their system is set up. Here are common groups of records kept by schools.
Cumulative file: This may be little more than a profile card with personal identification data, standardized test scores and report cards.
Confidential file: This is often kept in the school district’s central administrative office, where the
program offices are located. The file typically includes:
Attendance file: This contains a record of a student’s school attendance. It might also include notes from parents regarding excused absences.
How to Get Started
It’s important to set up an organization system that works for you. Learn
how to make an IEP binder to keep things organized. If your child doesn’t have an IEP, you can still use a
three-ring binder system to keep things sorted. You can use this
IEP binder checklist to keep track of your documents. (It may be helpful even if your child doesn’t have an IEP.)