Records Requests: Guides & Sample Letters

Requesting Education Records

  • Biological parents- Unless their rights have been limited or terminated by a court
  • Adoptive Parents with adoption order
  • Legal Guardians with letters of guardianship from a court
  • Responsible adults appointed by the court to hold education rights via JV-535 (ex. Foster parents, Relative caregivers, Court Appointed Special Advocates)
    • Track education performance over time
    • To help better understand the child’s needs
    • To determine interventions that have or have not worked in the past
    • They allow comparison between old testing and new testing to monitor academic progress
  • Report cards: They will show academic progress throughout the child’s education history
  • Transcripts: These show how close to graduation a child may be based on their accumulated class credits
  • Attendance records: They show whether the child is going to all of their class periods daily
  • Special Education Assessments: These show a child’s current functioning both academically and behaviorally
  • Individualized Education Programs (“IEPs”): These show whether services/goals are meeting the child’s needs
    • Step 1. Complete the request letter: Fill out the sample letter (Word Doc). Complete one for each school the child has attended. Make sure to sign and date the letter.
    • Step 2. Submit the request letter: Turn in the completed letter and proof that you hold education rights to all the schools you’re requesting records from. Proof that you hold education rights may be: a minute order or JV-535 form from the court, guardianship letters or adoption order. If you are the biological parent to the child you DO NOT need to present any proof.
    • Step 3. Get proof: You should get proof that the school received your records request, in case you later have any difficulties getting the school to send records. There are 3 possible ways to get proof that you submitted the records request letter.
      • If submitting the letter in person, get a date stamp on the letter and keep a copy as proof.
      • If submitting via fax, keep a copy of the fax transmittal report confirming that the fax was received.
      • If sending via mail, send it via certified mail. Make sure to keep the certified mail receipt as proof.
    • Step 4. Get records: Schools, by law, have only 5 business days to send you the records you requested. You should call the school 2 days after submitting the records request form, to confirm that it was received and that they will be sending you records within 5 business days. If the school informs you that they do not have records for your child, ask that they put this in writing.
    • Step 5. If by the 5th day you have not received any records, contact the school and request that they send them to you immediately.
    • Step 6. Organize and Review Records: Once you receive the records, organize them chronologically, by school year, and read through them to make sure you received everything you requested. You should make sure that you received all of the child’s report cards, attendance records, transcripts, behavior notes/suspension notices. If your child is in special education, pay close attention to the IEP dates and make sure that you have an IEP for each year they were eligible and an assessment every three years. If you notice that anything is missing, you should go back to the school and request that they give you the missing documents.

    Download instructions in Spanish (PDF) | Download sample letter in Spanish (Word Doc)
    Download instructions in English (PDF) | Download sample letter in English (Word Doc)

    Requesting Regional Center Records

  • Biological parents- Unless their rights have been limited or terminated by a court
  • Adoptive Parents with adoption order
  • Legal Guardians with letters of guardianship from a court
  • Responsible adults appointed by the court to hold education rights via JV-535 (ex. Foster parents, Relative caregivers, Court Appointed Special Advocates)
    • To track the child’s development over time
    • To help better understand the child’s needs
    • To determine early intervention services that have or have not worked in the past
  • Interdisciplinary (“ID”) notes: These show what actions the service coordinator has taken on the child’s case.
  • Evaluations/Assessments: Evaluations review all of the child’s developmental areas (cognitive, communication, physical and motor, adaptive, and social-emotional); Assessments focus on a specific area of concern (i.e., communication) and are used to determine the services the child needs.
  • Individualized Family Service Plans (“IFSPs”): These are the plans that include the services necessary to improve the child’s development
    • Step 1. Complete the request letter: Fill out the sample letter (Word Doc). Make sure to sign and date the letter.
    • Step 2. Submit the request letter: Turn in the completed letter and proof that you hold education rights to all the schools you’re requesting records from. Proof that you hold education rights may be: a minute order or JV-535 form from the court, guardianship letters or adoption order. If you are the biological parent to the child you DO NOT need to present any proof.
    • Step 3. Get proof: You should get proof that the regional center received your records request, in case you later have any difficulties getting the regional center to send records. There are 3 possible ways to get proof that you submitted the records request letter.
      • If submitting the letter in person, get a date stamp on the letter and keep a copy as proof.
      • If submitting via fax, keep a copy of the fax transmittal report confirming that the fax was received.
      • If sending via mail, send it via certified mail. Make sure to keep the certified mail receipt as proof.
    • Step 4. Get records: regional centers, by law, have only 5 business days to send you the records you requested. You should call the regional center 2 days after submitting the records request letter, to confirm that it was received and that they will be sending you records within 5 business days. If the regional center informs you that they do not have records for your child, ask that they put this in writing.
    • Step 5. If by the 5th day you have not received any records, contact the regional center and request that they send them to you immediately.
    • Step 6. Organize and Review Records: Once you receive the records, organize them chronologically and read through them to make sure you received everything you requested. You should make sure that you received all of the child’s evaluations, assessments, IFSPs, Interdisciplinary (“ID”) Notes, referrals, and correspondence between the regional center and the family. If you notice that anything is missing, you should go back to the regional center and request that they give you the missing documents.

    Download instructions in Spanish (PDF) | Download sample letter in Spanish (Word Doc)
    Download instructions in English (PDF) | Download sample letter in English (Word Doc)