Documentation & Record Keeping: Easy as A, B, C and 1, 2, 3 Liz Duran Swinford, Associate Superintendent for H.R. East Baton Rouge Parish School System Documentation & Record Keeping Seldom does a week go by during which an administrator does not call and ask: “I am having a problem with this teacher, what do I need to do” or “I had an incident on campus today involving an employee, what should I do”? Documentation & Record Keeping The answers to these questions may be as varied as the specific details involved with each incident or problem. I can tell you one word that will be common to every situation: DOCUMENTATION Documentation & Record Keeping A school district assumes that those associated with the institution will conduct themselves ethically and in accordance with what are generally accepted as "standard business practices." The employees’ basic responsibilities are outlined in the job description. The school system should maintain current and up-to-date job descriptions for all positions. At the beginning of each school year all employees should sign a job description and should be maintained at the school site. Documentation & Record Keeping • Testimony of students and/or parents – as long as there is documentation that the teacher had been made aware of the complaint at the time it was received, and had an opportunity to respond to it at the time. • Letters of reprimand • Documentation of conferences • Documented instances of Non-compliance with areas of the job description Documentation & Record Keeping Straightforward reporting of incidents, observations and/or evaluations will guarantee that no teacher is ever shocked and surprised. Every document written must be clear, focusing on the message you want to deliver. At the end of the day, it is not what we know that counts, but what we can prove. Documentation & Record Keeping Documentation is merely writing down an anecdotal record of what occurred considering the following details: • Make sure the facts have been written or the incident has been described as it happened without personal bias. All letters and documents placed in a personnel file must contain factual information. • All documents must address the incident and not the person! The facts must be stated as they happened without any bias toward someone. How will this read to others at a later time? • Documents should be written in simple terms and succinct. Give a full description but keep it simple. Documentation & Record Keeping • Reference to past incidents may be included but documentation should address the present action. • Documents should be produced in a timely manner… if the incident happened today; the paperwork should be completed today. It’s not going to get easier later! • Make sure that what has been addressed has been personally investigated by you before you recommend job-action on an employee. If it has not, be sure you have credible information from reliable sources well documented before you begin the process. • If writing a memo to file, do not only address the concern, but give remedies for corrective measures or assistance which can be provided. Documentation & Record Keeping • All documents should have a space for the employee to sign and date. Make the following statement is clearly included: This document will be placed in your personnel file. You have fifteen (15) days to respond. Your response will be attached for placement in your personnel file. Signature on this document does not necessarily mean that you agree with the content expressed above, but merely indicates that you received a copy, read it, and had an opportunity to discuss. Documentation & Record Keeping • Provide an original copy for the employee to sign. After all signatures are on the document, make a copy for the employee, a copy for the Supervisor and place a copy in the employee’s personnel file. • When a supervisor holds a conference with an employee, which can/will result in disciplinary action, make sure someone is nearby who can serve as a witness should the employee refuse to sign the document. Documentation & Record Keeping Procedures for Investigating Complaints When an allegation about an employee comes to your attention, and the matter appears serious enough to warrant investigation, the following pro-cedure shall apply: 1. The person(s) making an allegation against the employee shall complete the Complaint against Employee Form or submit the allegation in writing to the principal or administrator. The written document must include the name, address and telephone number of the person who is making the allegation, as well as the date, time, place, location, name of witnesses if any, and details of the circumstances of the allegations against the employee. Documentation & Record Keeping 2. Hold a conference with the accused employee. Inform the employee of the allegation(s), and provide him/her with a copy of the complaint and provide them the opportunity to write a statement, present their side and provide names of possible witnesses, as applicable. When warranted, collect all district property such as keys, laptops, roll book, attendance records, etc. and inform the employee that he/she must report immediately to the Office of Human Resources for further information regarding the process. 3. Notify appropriate area assistant superintendent or immediate supervisor via telephone call and e-mail, and forward a copy of the official complaint as soon as possible. Documentation & Record Keeping 4. The Office of Human Resources will place the employee on administrative leave with an ending date to be determined upon completion of the investigation. 5. Immediately, the administrator shall begin an investigation into the allegations. The investigation should consist of personal interviews with the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the claim is filed and others who may have knowledge of the alleged incident(s) or circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The investigation may also consist of any other methods and documents deemed pertinent by the investigator. Documentation & Record Keeping 6. Upon conclusion of the investigation, provide the Office of Human Resources a written determination of the validity of the complaint, your concluding statement, and a recommendation as to the continued status of this employee. If the initial investigation determines that the complaint is valid, the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources may further investigate the situation or impose such disciplinary action as appropriate per state statutes or School Board policy. Documentation & Record Keeping Record Keeping After Interviews The EBRPSS requires that all documents related to employment decisions be maintained for 5 years, the period of time required by Title VII. Documents such as interview questions, rating sheets, resumes of applicants, etc. are to be maintained for each position as interviews take place, including but not limited to all teacher, administrative and support positions. Documentation & Record Keeping QUESTIONS?