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Documentation Is The Key

Document! Document! Document! How many times have we heard this in education?  Proactive and effective documentation is a great tool.  More importantly, being able to share the documentation with parents, students, colleagues, and administration makes it powerful.  Whether you are planning instruction, meeting with a parent, participating in a 504 or ARD meeting, soliciting extra support for a student, or solidifying that above-proficient evaluation, your documentation will help you exude expertise and ultimately result in your desired outcome.  Proactively creating a documentation system for your classroom as well as communicating effectively with parents and administration will save you time in the long run.  Below are some resources to get you started:

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

When communicating with parents and administration, the organization of your documentation and word choice can drastically impact your message.  In the UEA Educator’s Guide to Documentation below, our educational specialists have explained what components are needed to effectively and efficiently communicate.  In addition, you will find key phrases to get you started.

An Educator’s Guide to Documentation

STUDENT BEHAVIOR

Parent complaints and student behavior concerns are sure-fire ways for an educator to land on the principal’s radar.  Documentation is extremely important when addressing student behaviors that interfere with instruction.  Educators are great at identifying concerns, redirecting students, giving students multiple chances, and creating strategies for success.  Now, it is time to write it all down.  When dealing with challenging student behaviors, show your expertise when you are meeting with parents and requesting additional support from administration by following the steps below:

Addressing Behavior

Behavior Documentation Chart

SPECIAL POPULATIONS

When teaching students who are English Language Learners or under the Special Education or Section 504 umbrellas, it is imperative that educators document all accommodations and/or modifications used to provide specialized supports.  When meeting with parents or in the face of an audit, effectively communicating the federally mandated services will protect your certificate and highlight your dedication to the success of all students. 

Administrators will strongly suggest writing this information in your lesson plans.  Including the accommodations, modifications, or strategies used for special populations, cannot, by law, be required in lesson plans. 

Although not required in lesson plans, we encourage you to keep documentation and keep it close at hand. 

T-TESS WRITTEN RESPONSES

Responding to documentation you receive is a key step in the evaluation process.  With T-TESS walk-through and formal observations in full swing, you have the right to respond to evaluative documentation you receive.  Per Texas Administrative Code, a teacher can submit a written response or rebuttal within 10 working days of receiving a written observation summary, a written summative annual appraisal report, and any other written documentation associated with the teacher appraisal. 

Click here for the Texas Administrative Code: T-TESS Teacher Responses.

When writing a response or rebuttal, you will provide additional information, clarify certain statements, and/or rebut inaccurate observations.  Your response is your chance to document the observation from your perspective. 

Contact your association if you would like assistance or support as you write your response.

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