Taking Action

Here are some tips & tricks to help you get a better understanding of what is happening in your child’s classroom.

1 – Talk with the teacher

For those familiar with doing more formal steps, like requesting public records, this may seem overly simplistic. However, the first and best place to start is to just reach out to your child’s teacher to share any concerns or questions you may have.

It can also prove to be the fastest way to get what you are looking for, as formal processes like records requests often takes days to weeks to return results.

2 – Check online portals & Apps

Many school districts now leverage applications like Canvas, Seesaw, and Google Classroom to host and share information with post students and parents.

Have you logged in as a parent to see what’s available to you? You can often see the status of your child’s assignments, grades, weekly schedules, and more.

Another option is to ask your child to give you their login information so you can see exactly what they see.

3 – Request access to see the instructional materials (curriculum)

The Federal “Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment” (PPRA) states that any school that receives federal funding (in other words, every public school in the US) must comply with the law as written. While the law is primarily known for protections offered against the use of surveys in schools, including the ability to opt out, it also requires schools to provide access to any instructional material a parent or guardian wishes to see.

Your request can be as broad or as narrow as you feel it needs to be in order to address any questions or concerns you have. Of note though is that they don’t have to make copies of it available to you online, although they can if they wish. It just requires them to give you access to all of the requested materials. So it could be that you’ll need to spend time at the school or a central office to view everything during business hours.

Click on this link for more information and a short video to learn more:

4 – Submitting a public records request

The final step you may wish to take would be to submit a “Public Records Request”. That’s what the process is referred to in Oregon. It is often mistakenly called a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, which is technically the federal law. The process is similar, but Oregon spells out there own process, timeline, fees, and other details in ORS 192.

Below are links to a recorded training on how to file public records requests and a PDF version of the slides that were shown:

Public Records Request Training (Zoom Recording – 90 minutes)
Public Records Request Slides (PDF)