IHBAA: Observations of Special Education Programs
- Parents’/guardian’s request to observe their child(ren), current program, or a potential placement must be made at least five days in advance with the Special Education Director or designee and/or Principal.
- The Special Education Director or designee shall contact the parent(s)/guardian for initial scheduling conversation within five (5) days of receipt of the parents’/guardian’s request.
- When a parent/guardian requests an observation of a special needs student or program, the Special Education Director or designee will seek approval from the Director of Special Education and the building principal before it is processed. Such approval may only be withheld for those reasons outlined within law and DESE regulation.
- The Special Education Director or designee and/or Principal will work with the classroom teacher and the observer to set up the specifics of the observation (including, but not limited to, scheduling and placement of the observer in the classroom).
- The number, frequency, and duration of observation periods will be determined on an individual student basis in accordance with law and regulation. The start and end time of observation periods and a schedule of observation periods will be stated in advance. In order to minimize classroom or student disruption, the length of individual observation periods may be limited.
- If the observer is not the parent/guardian, the parent/guardian must sign a release for the individual to observe.
- The number of observers at any one time may be limited.
- The observer will be informed that they are not to interfere with the educational environment of the classroom. If their presence presents a problem, they will be asked to leave. This notice is particularly important, since the presence of parents/guardians can influence both the performance of their child(ren) and those of others.
- The observer will be asked to submit their report of the observation in advance of any follow-up TEAM meeting.
- The observer will be informed that they are there to evaluate the appropriateness of a specific educational program to meet the needs of an individual child. They are not there to evaluate a teacher’s ability to perform his or her contractual job duties.
- The observer will be instructed regarding the disclosure of confidential or personally identifiable information relating to other children. Staff must be mindful of removing materials which may be part of students’ records from plain view. In the event that removal is not possible the observer may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement.
- A school administrator, or designee, also will observe at the same time and take notes as to what is observed, paying particular attention to note anything that is non-typical concerning the period. This observation summary will be placed in the student’s file and provided to the parent(s)/guardian prior to any follow-up TEAM meeting.
LEGAL REF.: MGL 71B:3
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2009-2 dated January 8, 2009
CROSS REF.: KI, Visitors to Schools