I am sure you are aware of the avalanche of information and forms that comes home from the school – especially at the beginning of the year. Below are some samples of what to expect.
From the school:
· Any IEP or 504 plan paperwork if your student has special needs
· Health forms
· Permission slips
· Standardized testing info and scores
· School calendar
· School directory
From the classroom:
· Requests for supplies
· Homework to do
· Graded work
Somehow this all gets dumped on your kitchen counter.
So, what to do?
1. Put all important dates on your master calendar – PTA meetings, school closings, field trips, special events.
2. Put all important phone contacts into your phone. It is helpful to put the persons title as well as their name. For example, instead of entering for a contact “Jane Smith” enter “Nurse Jane Smith”.
A record of your child’s education is essential, especially if he or she has attention deficit disorder (ADHD) or a learning disability. Do not rely on records kept by the school which include assessments, evaluations, and other reports. The easiest way to keep this information so it is readily available for parent teacher meetings is to set up folders or notebooks. One notebook is enough for each school and then subdivide the notebook for each student. If you have elementary, middle school, and or high school, it is easier to have a notebook for each school as the school information will differ.
3. Keep in folders or notebooks:
· The general information about the school
· All Individual Education Plan (IEP) forms
· Report cards
· Notes or letters from teachers – if communication has been by email, print off the final email
· Notes or letters from specialists (speech, hearing, occupational therapy, or any other area)
· Any other letters you have received from the school particular to your child
· Notes you have taken during or after phone calls or visits to the school
· Copies of letters you have sent to the school
· Medical records
· Reports from any camps or other activities that apply to your child
· Letters written on your child’s behalf from doctors, lawyers, or other professionals who work with children
· Any special records or reports – psychological tests, IQ tests, achievement tests, etc.
4. Keep a portfolio of your child’s work. Keep all graded and returned work for one grading period, especially if your child is struggling in school. After the grading period keep only a few samples of written work and artwork with the date attached. These samples will show your child’s growth.
These days much of the information may be in a school portal. Be sure that you access this on a regular basis and print off or save on your laptop anything that seems vital or unique to your student.
When going in for parent conferences, especially if your child is experiencing difficulty, nothing gets the attention of the school staff more than an organized notebook or computer with updated information.
Taking the time to organize all this information does take time but when you actually need that piece of paper or information it is so comforting to know it is at your fingertips.
There is nothing sadder than your child calling from school that he must miss a much looked forward to field trip because you as the parent did not fill out and sent back the needed form on time.
Once you have set up the notebooks the first time, a lot of the information will repeat or just get added to in upcoming years. So, set up your organizational system and let this be the best school year yet.
If you want help or just some assistance in organizing a school plan, setting up a study area, or working any organizational plan either outside or inside your home, join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook