There are many ways you can organize your paperwork. Some people keep their paperwork in binders. Some keep their paperwork in files in filing cabinets. Some people store their paperwork electronically. I’m going to share with you what has worked for me the past 7 years.
I’m a paper person. I need a hard copy of what I am looking at in front of me. For this reason, I use 3-ring binders. I currently have several very thick binders.
The first thing I do is hole-punch all the papers. I then write the date of the paperwork in the bottom right hand corner. I use PENCIL to do this. If I need this paperwork for legal reasons, I can just erase the date.
Your paperwork needs to be clean and note free. If you need to take notes, make an extra copy or use sticky notes.
Once everything is dated, I place the paperwork in the binder in chronological order, with the oldest information in the back. This way, when I open my binder, the most recent paperwork is on top.
I do not separate my paperwork by type—e.g., Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) notices, emails, evaluations, etc. That gets too complicated. By keeping everything in date order, I have a general idea of where to look in the binder. I can easily find anything I need.
My working binder has a copy of the current year’s and previous year's paperwork. I take this binder with me to the ARD meetings. It comes in very handy when you are trying to remember things that have been tried in the past. All the older paperwork is stored in binders in a closet. If I do need anything from the past, I can easily get to it.
This system might not work for you, but it will give you a starting point. The most important thing is to get started. Once you have a system in place, it’s a lot easier to maintain. Staying organized takes a lot of stress out of the ARD process.
Critical thinking and problem-solving skills go beyond academics. Everyday life provides opportunities to apply these skills. During my son’s educational career, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills was often noted in his Individualized Education Plan paperwork. While he may struggle with these skills academically, he solves problems all the time in his daily life.