Are you prepared if your principal calls you in to go over a specific student’s progress? Or an emergency parent-teacher conference? If the answer is “no”, or “I think so” this post is for you. Today I am going to show you how to create an effective data collection system over the summer, so that you are ready and confident in the face of any unplanned meetings during the next school year.

The best part of doing this over the summer is that it is super simple and you can use the system you create in ANY grade level. Sometimes you go into summer break thinking you will be teaching second grade and when August rolls around, you end up in third. Anyone else? No? Just me?

Well if that ever happens to you, don’t worry, your data collection system can travel with you from grade to grade. Okay, let’s get started!

Choose a Container To Store the Data

First, you need a place to store your data and work samples. A filing cabinet, crate or bin work well. You will then need file folders for each student. Since you are preparing this over the summer, you can either number the folders or leave them blank and add names later when you get your class roster. You can also opt for a large 3 inch binder with plastic page protectors for each student, but I find the file folders work best and can hold more.

Create a Checklist

Next, create a checklist by answering the following questions. What items do you want/ need to have on hand if you are asked about a student’s progress? Work samples? Assessments? Reading levels? Progress reports? Communication logs? Behavior tracking? Anecdotal notes? Make a quick checklist and place it in the front. This list will be specific to YOU and will help you decide what needs to go in each folder.

Conference Forms

Finally, you need to have extra copies of blank conference forms ready to go. Ideally, you would have time to type up a conference form, but sometimes you aren’t given much of a heads up and it’s always a good idea to have a printed copy available. Keep 5 or 6 copies in the front portion of your cabinet/crate/bin/etc. Remember to have copies in Spanish and English if you teach in a bilingual or dual language classroom. If you need an editable Pack of conference forms and additional materials for your bilingual classroom, I’ve got you covered here!

Bilingual Conference Forms Packet

And that’s it folks! Now you have a system to help keep your student data organized. As the school year progresses, continue adding to each student’s folder and you will be ready anytime someone asks about student progress. Getting this set up over the summer will save you so much time over the following school year. If you want to save even MORE time, this Bilingual, Editable  Parent Conference Packet is for you!

If you haven’t read the previous post in this series, check it out here: leveraging parent volunteers.

The next, and final, post in the Teacher Time Savers Summer Series will show you how to set up an emergency substitute system for those inevitable unexpected absences.