Parents are important members of the Team process and their involvement is essential in reinforcing their students success at school. In order to protect other students safety and confidentiality, and to minimize disruption to the educational process, the following steps must be implemented in order for parents or their designee to observe their child’s special education program.

1. Parents request to observe their child(ren), current program, or a potential placement must be made at least five school days in advance with the Director of Student Services or designee and/or Principal. Parents should provide the names of person(s) observing, the person being observed and purpose of the observation.
2. The Principal or designee shall contact the parent(s) for initial scheduling conversation within five (5) days of receipt of the parents’ request.
3. The Principal or designee 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.
4. The number, frequency, and duration of observation periods will be determined on an individual basis in accordance with law and regulation. The start and end time of observations and a schedule of observations will be stated in advance. In order to minimize classroom or student disruption, the length of individual observation periods may be limited.
5. If the observer is not the parent, the parent must sign a release for the individual to observe.
6. The number of observers at any one time may be limited.
7. The observer will be informed that he/she is not to interfere with the educational environment of the classroom. If his/her presence presents a problem, he/she will be asked to leave. This notice is particularly important, since the presence of parents can influence the performance of their child(ren) and others.
8. The observer will be asked to submit a report of the observation in advance of any follow-up TEAM meeting.
9. The observer will be informed that he/she is there to evaluate the appropriateness of a specific educational program to meet the needs of an individual child. He/she is not there to evaluate a teacher’s ability to perform his or her contractual job duties.
10. 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 student records from plain view. In the event that removal is not possible the observer may be asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
11. A school administrator, or designee, 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) prior to any follow-up meeting.
12. The parents or designee must sign a confidentiality agreement which prohibits them from discussing any student (except their own) whom they may observe in school. The observer cannot photograph, record or videotape any aspect of the school.

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2009-2 dated January 9, 2009
Approved: 12-21-09
Revised: January 12, 2016