State regulations require “active” or written consent in 6th grade and lower and “passive” consent in grades 7 through 12. It is strongly recommended districts send introductory letters and parental notification/consent forms in back-to-school registration packets.
Sending Introductory Letters and Parental Notification/Consent Forms
Parental notification/consent forms must be written but can be accomplished in various ways. Districts may choose which method works best for their student population.
- Sending introductory letters and parental notification/consent forms early with back-to-school registration packets is a highly effective way to make sure the form is reaching a parent/guardian and will be returned.
- Other methods include home mailings, electronic forms (i.e., Google Docs or Google Forms), or Learning Management Systems (i.e., Power School, Canvas, Blackboard, Class Dojo, etc.).
Automated phone messaging may be used alongside these methods to ensure you are reaching parents/guardians.
Districts may choose to send an introductory letter with the parental notification/consent forms. The modifiable letters below provide parents with
- district/school contact information and
- directions for previewing the survey modules via the school website, other electronic communication, and/or hard copies at the school office.
- Translations of Elementary School - Sample Introductory Letter (Active)
- Translations of Middle/High School - Sample Introductory Letter (Passive)
Active (Opt-In) Parental Consent (Grades 3-6)
It is especially important to make sure parents/guardians are informed, feel confident in their child’s participation, and return the form with approval. Otherwise, active consent may result in a lower student response rate and a less representative sample, as many hard-to-reach subgroups may be underrepresented.
No child can be surveyed until a parent/guardian has provided written permission. If a permission form is not returned, it must be assumed that a parent’s/guardian’s permission has not been granted. Written permission may be sent electronically if permitted by your district or board policy.
For 6th grade students receiving the Middle School Survey.
- Translations of Elementary Parental Consent Form
Passive (Opt-Out) Parental Consent (Grades 7-12)
Written information about the survey is sent to parents/guardians, who in turn must notify the school ONLY if they do not want their child to participate in the survey. Notification of declined participation may be sent electronically if permitted by your district or board policy.
Classroom distribution is not recommended for passive consent due to the risk that some students may not give the form to their parents/guardians and might be surveyed without permission. Home mailings, electronic forms, or Learning Management Systems are suggested.
- Sample Middle/High School Parental Consent Form (English)
- Sample Middle/High School Parental Consent Form (Spanish)
- Translations of Middle/High School Parental Consent Form
Tracking Parental Consent
Districts must create a system to carefully track which students do not have permission to participate in the survey.
- For active consent, it is usually most convenient for the classroom teacher to monitor consent returns so that the classroom teacher can make certain students without consent do not receive access to the survey content.
- For passive consent, it is recommended that a single person at each school be responsible for recording refusals and preparing a list of non-participants for teachers to make certain those students do not receive access to the survey.
- If the district office is tracking parental consent, the district coordinator will need to provide a list of students who may not take the survey to each school site coordinator, who will need to inform the classroom teachers and make certain those students do not receive access to the survey.
Some supplemental modules require additional information about content not covered in the Model Consent Form, as follows:
- RYDM Questions About the Home Environment: Add “To further assess resilience and healthy development, there are questions about adult relationships, expectations, and participation in the home.”
- Safety and Violence Module: Add that it includes items on “considering, planning, or attempting to commit suicide.”
- Sexual Behavior Module: Add that it includes questions about “sexual behavior and practices leading to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy.”