Many people think summer is a time to relax, chill out, and kick back. And it should be. But the scorching heat of summer can be the perfect time to get organized. Go through your children’s closets. Start a list of what they will need for school and begin watching for the inevitable back to school sales. Many people forget, though, to organize school portfolios and paperwork. Go through all of your child’s work that you have saved from the previous year. Consider whether it will preserve well, i.e. is it made of food items or items that might disentigrate? It is a great idea to keep work, but the amount needs to be manageable. Decide whether it is truly a keepsake or whether it could be discarded. If your child is going to a new school, it might be a good idea to prepare a mini portfolio that demonstrates fine motor skills like cutting and writing as well as something that shows current levels of reading and math skills. A progress note or report card from a previous school might help. It is also useful to prepare a short intro about your child, telling what he/she enjoys about school, doing in his/her free time, something about his/her personality and how they approach difficult tasks. A picture reminds the teacher that your child is the center of your classroom experience. If your child is in Special Education or receiving 504 services, it is imperative that you have all of your paperwork in one place and easily accessible. How you organize the paperwork is key. I recommend organizing both by year and service. For example, in your current portfolio or file, I would keep your child’s latest evaluation, IEP document, latest progress reports, and any notes or evaluations from outside service providers. You also need to include any correspondence from last year that might affect services for this year, especially if that provider or staff person does not return to your campus or district this year. If there were meetings to be scheduled at the beginning of the year, be sure that you follow up promptly the first week in August. If you need help with documenting and organizing, check out our special and completely customizable MAP system designed for busy families to reference their child’s paperwork. Need more help? Sign up for our MAP workshop or contact us for a consultation and we will personally create and organize a MAP for your child.