HAMILTON-WENHAM REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
OBSERVATIONS OF STUDENTS & PROGRAMS BY PARENTS, ADVOCATES, & OTHER DESIGNEES
The purpose of An Act to Provide Access to Information for Parents and Evaluators (House Bill No. 391) is to protect the rights of parents in participating fully and effectively with school personnel in the development of appropriate educational programs for their children. To that end, the Hamilton Wenham Regional School District has established guidelines regarding parents' observations of their child or child's program conducted by themselves, their educational advocate or an evaluator. The cooperation of school and parent is essential to ensure the safety of children and the integrity of the program while under observation.
Requesting an Observation
- In order for the District to have verbal or written contact with an educational consultant or evaluator who wishes to observe the student in the classroom, a "Release of Information" form must be signed by the parent.
- A request for an observation through letter or telephone at least one (1) week in advance of the proposed observation and should include the purpose and activities requested for observation.
- The Principal shall immediately notify the teacher(s) involved and the Director of Student Services and begin the process to determine the appropriateness of the specific date requested.
- The duration and extent of the observation will be determined on an individual basis.
- Different observation requests may require more planning and observation time than others depending on the complexity of the student’s needs being evaluated or observed.
- The Principal shall schedule the agreed upon time for observation as soon as possible.
- The time needed to determine the feasibility of a request to observe a specific classroom in a week, may be only an hour. In other instances, such as when a designee needs to observe both the current and proposed programs, including periods of unstructured time to observe student's interactions and responses, the observation will likely take longer to schedule.
- There will be periods of time when observations will not be scheduled, such as during MCAS or other district wide testing and during the first two weeks of school and the last two weeks of school.
Expectations During Observation
- The number of observers is limited to two (2) per observation and no children may accompany a parent, consultant or evaluator for the duration of the observation.
- The observer is not to interfere with the educational environment of the classroom. If the observer is disruptive or inappropriate the observer will be asked to leave immediately and the observation will be discontinued.
- Parent should be informed that his/her presence might influence the performance of their child, as well as the performance of other children.
- The observer will be accompanied by a member of the school staff for the duration of the observation
- The accompanying staff member will seat the observer (in consultation with the teacher) in an unobtrusive location within the classroom.
- Those observing shall respect student confidentiality and shall not share any impressions of other students with anyone. Observers will be asked to sign a statement that in the event that they obtain personally identifiable or confidential information during the course of an evaluation/observation, they will not disclose it. PLEASE SEE ATTACHED CONFIDENTIALITY FORM.
- Staff members involved in a classroom observation will welcome observers to the class but will not discuss the student with observers before, during, or immediately after the observation period. Discussion of the observation may take place at a subsequent conference. Discussions should last no more than 20-minutes unless a TEAM meeting is being scheduled.
- The accompanying staff member should take observation notes during the observation period, and note anything atypical that occurs during the observation. If the observation notes made by a staff member are reduced to a written report, said report shall become part of the temporary student record.
- School safety procedures shall be adhered to at all times. Principals retain the authority to exercise their discretion at any time to reschedule or terminate an observation in the event of a building emergency or a disruption that impacts the physical or emotional well-being of the children in the school or the program being observed or when necessary to protect:
- The safety of the children in the program during the observation;
- The integrity of the program during the observation; and
- Children in the program from disclosure by an observer of confidential or personally identifiable information he or she may obtain while observing the program.
- Depending on the purpose of the observation, the Principal or other designated staff will schedule a meeting or make telephone contact to follow up on the observation.
- If the parent requests a TEAM meeting and an evaluation was conducted as part of the observation, the evaluator shall provide a written evaluation report to the school district at least 10 days prior to a scheduled team meeting.
II. Policy Review and Revision
Review and revision of this policy and procedures shall occur as needed, but at least every two
III. Legal References
M.G.L. c. 71B, s. 3 and 603 C.M.R. 28.07 (Parental Involvement)
HAMILTON WENHAM REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Guidelines for Classroom/Program Observation
Statement of Confidentiality
I/we understand that student confidentiality must be respected at all times when observing a classroom, program, or student.
I/we will not share any impressions of other students with anyone.
In the event that personally identifiable or confidential information is obtained during the course of an evaluation/observation, I/we will not disclose it.
HW Schools Representative Date
Adopted: November 2, 2006
Reviewed: April 27, 2012