Effective School Communication

Well-documented communication with your school district is essential for protecting the rights of your child.  These simple steps will help to document and safeguard your efforts to communicate with your school district:


(1)   KEEP A JOURNAL.  Document all informal communications with your school system, including extensive notes of all meetings and telephone calls.


(2)   KEEP COPIES.  Use separate binders to store copies of ALL daily notes written to and from any teacher and ALL class work, homework, tests and quizzes that are sent home, especially anything you are required to sign and return.  Make weekly copies of your child’s daily planner or communication notebook.


(3)   DOCUMENT EVERYTHING IN WRITING.  Use formal, signed letters and emails for all requests.  Follow up every phone call and meeting with a written narrative.  Document exactly what is said, by whom, and when.


(4)   BE PROFESSIONAL.  Remember -- education is a business. Treat all communications with a professional and business-like demeanor. Give yourself some time to calm down and think through any response.


(5)   STICK TO THE FACTS.  Keep your communication short and to the point.  Use index cards, notes, or other prompts to maintain focus when speaking.  State your child's needs and your expectations clearly.


(6)   ACKNOWLEDGE THE POSITIVE. Recognizing and praising any positive aspects of your child's educational experience will lend validity to your concerns for the negative aspects. 


(7)   GET MULTIPLE FORMAL CONFIRMATION RECEIPTS FOR EVERY LETTER YOU SEND.   Make sure you send every letter, document, and request in triplicate (return receipt post, email, and facsimile).  Staple the confirmation receipts to your copy of the original letter for quick and easy access.