Before we get started, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
One, this binder hasn't actually been tested and proven to work just yet. This is how I'm planning to hopefully stay on top of all the paperwork I'm expecting to see flow between the school and my home. And we all know that reality has a way of working its magic on our best-laid plans. If the binder isn't working, I'll obviously change to something else and I'll let you know if that happens.
Two, this is old-school. My husband thinks I've lost my mind for not doing all of this electronically. And maybe he's right. But I've always been a pen and paper kind of gal. And I don't need any tutorials on how to punch holes and file. You may prefer to take these ideas and incorporate them into an electronic system. To which I say, "Good for you! Now show me how you did it!"
Three, this is a work in progress. I'm still collecting much of the information that will be in the binder.
And four, I got a lot of my information on creating the planning binder from www.wrightslaw.com which is a valuable source of information regarding special education law and advocacy. There is a ton of material on the website that will prove helpful to all parents of special needs children in the public schools so I encourage you to bookmark it.
OK, let's get this show on the road!
First of all, I'm using all the fun binder building supplies from the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery line that you can find at Staples stores.
I chose a large smooth red binder and right in the front, I put some free printable 2012 calendars I found online at The Tomkat Studio.
I organized my binder per the instructions on the Wright's Law website so my dividers are labeled Providers, Contact Log, Master Document List, Documents, and Incident Forms.
The Providers file is a form like this:
and contains a list of anyone who provides services to Lily - doctors, therapists, teachers, evaluators, and the like. It puts all of those people in one easily accessible place, as well as their contact information.
The Contact Log looks like this:
and gives you a spot to record meetings, phone calls, emails, text messages... any type of communication you have with any of your child's providers. I also plan to put copies of emails in this section of my binder.
The Master Document List is simply a recording of all the documents in my binder in one handy reference. It will allow me to quickly locate a document when I need it and it looks like this:
The Documents section is pretty self-explanatory. It will contain all of Lily's educational records, filed in chronological order (oldest paper on top working to newest paper at the end). This creates a "big picture" of Lily's educational experience, from the very beginning to the most recent event simply by reading from front to back.
The Incident Forms look like this:
These are really only used on an "as needed" basis for issues like not doing school or home work, discipline, behavioral concerns, or conflicts. The anecdotal form could also be used for less "dramatic" things like playground accidents or falling out of chair in the classroom and the like.
The Wright's Law website provides a much better explanation than I could for why the binder is put together this way rather than topically. Click Organizing the File for more details on how to put together your own binder.
If you would like to make your own copies of these forms, here are some helpful links:
Now, I'm a computer dunce so I did a lot of cutting and pasting from websites to Pages to create my contact log and my problem report worksheet. If you want to do a little cutting and pasting yourself, have at it using these blank ones below.
|What you wanted|
|What you were told|
Click here for a handy list of which of the hundreds of documents our kiddos generate that are actually keepers.
I have a large zipper pouch in the back to hold pens, post-its, paper clips, and things like that:
as well as a vertical file folder containing the originals of all the forms used in the binder:
And there you have it! Of course, it looks lovely now, all fresh and new for the school year. But, while it may not stay looking lovely, fresh, and new, I'm hoping it will keep me organized and on top of things so that I can be a key player in Lily's kindergarten success.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Advice from those of you who've been down this road a time or two?? It would be greatly appreciated so shoot me a line!
Have a fantastic weekend!