Collaborating with Families Checklist

A collaborative relationship between school personnel and families will increase the likelihood that students have positive outcomes, the spirit and intent of the law are met, and families' rights are protected.  Consider each of the following questions.  Check each indicator that you feel could be improved in your relationships with parents and family members of students with disabilities.

  • Do I use effective communication strategies in my interactions with families?

  • Do I avoid using jargon?

  • Do I define unfamiliar terms?

  • Do I use good listening skills such as clarifying, paraphrasing, and summarizing?

  • Do I attend to the non-verbal communication of parents and family members?

  • Do I collaborate with families in the development of Individual Education Plans?

  • Do I contact families with adequate lead time for developing the IEP goals?

  • Do I seek verbal and written input from families for IEP goals?

  • Do I help families understand the IEP process and their rights?

  • Do I inform families of student progress at least as often as families of students without disabilities receive progress reports?

  • Do I value the contributions of parents and family members?

  • Do I base all interactions on the assumption that parents want what they believe is best for their child?

  • Do I acknowledge the strengths and coping strategies families have developed for working with a child with a disability?

  • Do I recognize the contributions of members of the extended family?

  • Do I provide opportunities for families to be involved in the classroom and the school in ways that are meaningful?

  • Do I seek to develop a collaborative relationship with families?

  • Do I see the contributions of the family as equal in value to the contributions of school staff?

  • Do I seek to identify goals that are shared between the school and family?

  • Do I recognize that the school and family share responsibility for student outcomes?

  • Do I view the collaborative relationship as emergent and developing over time?

  • Do I take the initiative to establish a collaborative relationship with families?

  • Do I demonstrate caring and concern for the student and his/her family?

  •  Do I get to know my students in ways unrelated to the disability? 

  • Do I schedule meetings at times that are convenient for families? 

  • Do I help families access additional resources in the community when needed? 

  • Do I treat family members as I would want to be treated?