Requests To Observe Public School Programs:
Policy Suggestions and Forms
Because of numerous questions we have received with respect to the relatively new statute mandating observations by parents and qualified experts, we have formulated the below policy and forms with respect to requests for specific observations.
It is best practice not to rigidly restrict visits to only one class period, as qualified experts may have to drive from long distances and the cost and burden of requiring numerous visits due to a rigid cutoff may only serve to exacerbate the relationship between family and district. Consequently, we suggest that if there is to be an observation in excess of ninety minutes, a rational reason be provided. This has been built into the request form.
Classroom Observation Procedures for Parents and Qualified Private Providers
The School District welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with parents and qualified private providers in order to meet the needs of its students. In order to facilitate the many requests made for school observations in a timely manner, a specific process is utilized, which is described below.
Before scheduling any observation, the district must have a current “Authorization for Exchange of Confidential Information” on file for any provider who wishes to observe or consult. In addition, all observers will be required to sign the Classroom Observation Confidentiality Acknowledgement Form.
Requests for observations must be made at least one week in advance of preferred visit dates by submitting a Classroom Observation Request Form, which shall include these components:
- Individual making request
- Name and title of observer
- Purpose of observation
- Preferred visit days and times
- Contact information
Classroom observation request forms must be submitted to the Student Services Coordinator.
Each Classroom Observation Request will be considered on an individual basis based on its purpose, duration, and frequency. We will make every effort to accommodate observation requests, but our first priority is maintaining the learning environment for our students. To minimize classroom disruptions, the duration of observations may be limited based on purpose as well as staff availability. A member of the qualified staff will usually accompany visitors. Visits will be scheduled in an effort to accommodate the classroom schedule, school personnel schedule, and the requests of the parent or private provider. If there is a need for a follow-up discussion with the teacher, this must be scheduled in addition to the actual observation.
Classroom Observation Request Form
Date of Request: _________________________________
Name of Individual Making Request: _________________________________
Phone: (cell) _______________________ (work): ______________________
Student Name: ___________________________________________
Name of Observer: ______________________________________________________
Title (if qualified provider): ________________________________________________
Purpose of the Observation: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Preferred Visit Days and Times (please provide at least three options): __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Contact Information :_________________________________________
Length of time needed (please state reason if the observation is to be greater than 90 minutes): __________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Classroom Observation Confidentiality Acknowledgement Form
I, ________________________________, have requested to observe a classroom or program attended by students with disabilities. I acknowledge that select confidentiality laws may be applicable. In exchange for permission to observe, I agree to abide by the following conditions:
1. During the observation, I will not address the teacher or support staff present, interact with students, or otherwise disrupt the environment.
2. During the observation, I will remain in the location directed by the teacher or staff.
3. I will not ask questions during the observation pertaining to the students in the classroom related to their services, disability, or achievement.
4. I will not seek to study or look at work samples from students other than the one I am observing during the observation.
5. I acknowledge that I cannot disclose any student identifying information to others related to the observation.
6. I acknowledge that school student record information, including all information related to the student’s disability and individualized education plan, is highly confidential information protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Illinois School Records Act, the School Student Records Act, the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilties Confidentiality Act, et. al. and that I have no right to access such information for students without permission. To the extent that I glean information related to another student’s disability, educational needs, and/or educational program during the observation, I must maintain said information in strict confidence, and I may not disclose it to others.
Signature of Observer Date