Observation Guidelines

Introduction

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 participation fully and effectively with school personnel in the development of appropriate educational programs for their children. To that end, the Bedford Public Schools 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. The district's guidelines for observations of students and programs are as follows:

Requesting an Observation

Parents are asked to submit their observation requests in writing to the Team Chairperson at their child's school to include the following information:

  • Student's name.
  • Parent's name, telephone and/or email contact information.
  • Student's classroom teacher and assigned grade.
  • Observer's name, and if the observer is someone other than the parent, any relevant affiliation of the observer, along with telephone number and/or email contact information.
  • Purpose of the observation, including any particular part of the school day the observer wishes to see, and the desired outcome of the observation.
  • Signed Release of Information (see attached form) giving permission for the district and observer to exchange information, including directly arranging the schedule for the observation.
Expectations During the Observation
  • For evaluators, the length of the observation shall be a reasonable time to address the purpose of the observation and desired outcome and shall be limited to an amount of time agreed upon by the evaluator and school principal/designee.
  • The number of people scheduled to observe a child or program at one time shall be limited to 2 people and no children may accompany a parent, advocate, or evaluator.
  • A school staff member will accompany the observer during the observation period. Given the ongoing responsibility of teachers or therapists to serve students, they will generally not be available for conversation during or immediately before/after the observation period.
  • Those observing will be seated in an area that will not disrupt instruction.
  • Staff members involved in a classroom observation will welcome observers to the class but will not interact with the 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 scheduled.
  • 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 (see attached form) that in the event that they obtain personally identifiable or confidential information during the course of an evaluation/observation, they will not disclose it.
  • School safety procedures will be adhered to at all times. All visitors must register in the main office up arriving and sign out when leaving. Any visitor who fails to comply with school regulations will be asked to leave the school grounds immediately.
  • 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 wellbeing 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/she may obtain while observing the program.
Follow Up

If the parent request a Team Meeting and evaluation was conducted as part of the observation, the evaluator shall provide a written evaluation report to the district at least 10 days prior to the scheduled Team Meeting.