From time to time, parents express interest in observing their child’s classes at work. UME Preparatory Academy welcomes parent classroom observations and applauds the commitment to parental involvement in education that the desire to observe represents. However, because our model has fewer instructional hours per week and because we wish to provide all our students with the best instruction we can, we want to do such observations in a way that will not detract from the quality of instruction taking place in our classrooms. While we recognize and wish to honor the desire of parents to have first-hand knowledge of their child’s experiences in the classroom, we also feel keenly the responsibility to provide all of our students, the overwhelming majority of which will not be the children of any one parent or set of parents, a classroom environment that is as free as we can make it from whatever might distract from their learning experiences.
Procedures and Protocols
In order to protect all of our students, (and, in some cases, to comply with legal requirements) parents will be required to undergo a criminal background check and/or sex offender registry search before being allowed to spend time in classrooms while the school is in session. Also, parent visits to the classroom will need to be approved in advance to avoid unnecessary disruptions such as over-crowding in the classroom or distracting parent-child interactions. Parents wishing to observe their child’s class(es) in action will need to complete a Parent Observation Request form, which includes supplying the information and permission necessary to conduct a criminal background check and/or sex offender registry search. In the interest of protecting the privacy of all students in the classroom, the “Parent Observation Request” form also will include a confidentiality agreement that prohibits parents from discussing with others what they observe concerning other students in the classroom, except when there exists a clear educational need to know.
The academy’s administration, in consultation with the relevant classroom teacher(s), retains both the responsibility and the authority to determine when and how often a parent may visit his or her child’s classroom(s). Requests to visit classrooms other than those occupied by the child(ren) of the requesting parent will not be approved, nor may parents visit a class during STAAR or other major accountability or achievement testing days.
While present during a class in session, parents should refrain from communicating with either the instructor or any of the students in the class, including their own children, without the express approval of the instructor.