My first syllabus had two signature lines – one for the student, one for the parent. The idea was that they would read it, contact me with any questions, and then sign to indicate that they understood the expectations. The syllabus was returned to me and kept on file as evidence of parent contact.
The problem with this was that after a few weeks passed, nobody remembered what was on the syllabus! So I added a dotted line above the signatures and asked students to keep the syllabus at home and return just the signatures. The problem with that was that I had no way to show what had originally been signed – and quite often, the syllabus was lost anyway.
More recently, I have had students get the syllabus signed, show it to me (I sign off on a log that I keep), and then keep their copy in their class portfolio (which stays in the room). This way, I have documentation of parent contact, and the students have the syllabus for reference. We refer to it occasionally, as much to remind students of where it’s kept as to check the information.
I’ve started using this “double-log” system for other procedures.
Hall passes – Students have individual pass logs where they fill out their name, the date, the time, and the destination and then get my signature – but they must also bring me the class log. I fill out the class log using the information from their individual log. The class log condenses my records, but the individual logs help me to keep track of how often each student is out of the room.
Progress reports – I print these out every two or three weeks. Students get them signed, show me the signature, and then keep the report in their portfolio. While the students’ grade information is available through our online portal, in many cases, students do not have reliable internet access, or have difficulty logging in, or more often, simply forget to check on a regular basis. The printouts remind students to keep track of assignments that they forgot to complete or that they missed due to absences or field trips.
What I like about this is that my records don’t require as many papers (the progress reports alone could easily fill a 3″ binder by the end of the term) and it helps students practice being responsible for their own documentation.