Your student's snapshot
Before the first day
Communication with Other Staff
If a colleague, who has had the student in the past, is willing to give constructive advice and information about the student's special needs then it can be very helpful. I think it is important to remember that a classroom dynamic changes each year and the expectations of each teacher varies. So what might accommodations and adaptations that have worked in the past may or may not work for you at the start of the school year etc. I think the best type of information past on from other staff is that which comes from our student intervention team because their is more than one person (more than the general education and/or special education) teacher giving information about the student at the start of the next year. This team for my school is comprised of the principal, social worker, school psychologist, reading specialist, and other support staff. They meet monthly in order to collect and analyze student achievement data. It is a team so input and recommendations for placement and future testing are decided as a group which is very helpful.
If I could know only 2 specfic characters of each student at the end of the first day of class it woud be...
Motivation/personal interests: The motivation/personal interests of the student are really important when starting out the school year. It is helpful to know what will draw the student into the curriculum that you are trying to teach. Also, allows for the teacher to engage with the student on a more personal level. Motivation is key to success in school for all students. If they aren't motivated or find the content not being taught to be boring they are less likely to retain the information and content.