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Preparing to Talk Evaluation with My Principal


Like many of you, I’m already thinking about my final evaluation conference with my principal. I know that the new teacher evaluation system in my state (Washington) requires me to give evidence of differentiating instruction to meet my students’ needs. I must also show evidence of students’ academic growth. Trying to remember my students’ individual needs, their personalized learning objectives, strategies that I’ve implemented to meet these objectives, and evidence of their learning as related to my planning and teaching – that’s no easy task. And it will be difficult when I’m sitting across from my evaluator in a couple of months.

I needed a new method to capture all of my differentiation efforts. So I turned to Success at the Core for ideas and inspiration. In the site’s Implementing New Programs module, I found exactly what I was looking for.

In this module, I was drawn to a video, “Implementing New Instructional Strategies.” This documentary-style video shows math teacher Jeffrey Bergeron using a template to plan for implementing accessibility strategies designed to meet the needs of groups of students in his class.  In the spirit of collaboration, Bergeron invites the math team to observe his lesson and asks them to note the impact of the accessibility strategies that he put in place in relation to the students’ understandings during the lesson.

I recognized the template used in the video as evidence of the “architecture of accomplished teaching” – which I learned about when working on my National Board Certification. I saw how it could help me in my teaching in multiple ways. Specifically, as I meet with my principal for my evaluation, a filled-out template can provide evidence of the following:

1) I know my students and have identified their needs.

2) I have set learning objectives appropriate to groups of students based on their needs.

3) My instructional strategies, as well as teaching activities, have been planned with intention, based on students’ needs.

4) I observe and document what students have learned in relation to supports I put in place for them.


As part of this post, I wanted to share one of the documents (filled out using the template) that I plan to share with my principal in my final evaluation conference. It connects to a math lesson I conducted on finding factors of numbers. Using this document to guide our conversation, I know that I will be able to clearly articulate my learning objectives for each group of students and how I differentiated the lesson to meet their needs. I will be able to demonstrate, with solid evidence, the architecture of my teaching.

Take a look and let me know what you think. Could this approach be of use to you?

You might also like:

How I Survived a Teacher Evaluation Pop Quiz
A Principal Speaks about Performance Evaluation
Friday Forum – Any Helpful Resources for Teacher Evaluations?

8 Responses to Preparing to Talk Evaluation with My Principal

  1. Corrie Freiwaldt says:

    Yes, this worksheet would work GREAT for so many things. We have data meetings at my school and we look at the individual children that are not meeting benchmark on at least one district assessment. The teacher then has to fill out interventions they’ve done, the outcomes (progress monitoring, test scores, etc) and the next steps. I see this worksheet as a deeper layer to our data meetings. When teachers are having trouble figuring out WHAT intervention they should try with a student or group of students, this will help them focus on the specific deficit their student has, which will make planning easier. Do you have data meetings at your school? If so, would you use this as a follow up to go deeper as well?

  2. Heather Byington says:


    Yes, we do have data meetings. I can definitely see using this form at our data meetings and in our grade level PLC meetings as being really useful for discussing interventions and their impact. I have a Pensieve where I record outcomes/evidence for individual conferences with students about reading comprehension. Similarly, the documentation in my Pensieve binder has also proven very valuable in those data discussions. Thanks for highlighting another way that I can use the template to further meet students’ needs.

    • Marianella says:

      This is a great resource Heather!
      I can clearly organize data, differentiate my instruction, analyze students’ strengths and areas of concerns. Also, I can set appropriate objectives and implement instruction designed to attain those goals, and keep record what worked or what I need to change for a particular group or a student.

  3. Andrea Brixey says:

    Although I love your work and am inspired by it Heather, I do have a couple of questions: How long does it take to compile this info? Do you do it for all students? And, do you do it on your own, or does your district provide time to complete this work?

    Knowing what a driven and competent professional you are, my guess is you do much of this work on your own time.

    I wonder if part of the value of this approach might be as a tool (also) to keep track of the time it takes to differentiate for all students, and then use it to have conversations with our evaluators about the true time it takes to do it well?

    Thanks for the clear, easy to use template!

  4. Mark Gardner says:

    Even if the physical template might not be something I’d fill out, as a scaffold for my thinking, I like this. I tend toward reinventing too many wheels, though, so maybe using this g.o. would save me some time and help focus my energies. This is the kind of thing I know I could do with my teaching partner to strategies with kids.

    As for its use as an artifact/evidence for a conversation with your evaluator, I definitely see its merit. My worry, though, might be that we start to feel like we have to “document everything” as part of our evaluation, which adds work to work… I’m not sure where the balance is struck between doing our job well and doing another whole job to prove we’re doing our job well.

  5. Heather Byington says:

    Thank you for your excellent questions, Andrea. Like many teachers, and you, I make decisions about differentiating to meet students’ needs in almost every lesson, whether it’s adapting a student or group’s text or task based on ability level, encouraging multi-modal responses, such as sketches, diagrams, or primary language, or providing hands-on tools for some students who need them. There are so many ways that we differentiate for students each day, and those are only a few examples. Oftentimes we make those decisions quickly and intuitively apply them in the moment of the lesson, but we may not document them. No, I do not fill out the template for most lessons that I teach, but having a representative sample of how I’m differentiating using this template or others serves as solid evidence when I sit down at data meetings or to converse with my principal. I completed the form during my planning time. Again, thank you for your questions.

  6. Hallie F. says:

    I love the idea of this template’s framework and how it encapsulates best practices around differentiation. Oftentimes, it can be very overwhelming for teachers to differentiate for the entire class; however, by having these proxy groups shown on the template and video, it makes it much more feasible. It does directly correlate to the National Boards Architecture of Accomplished teaching as you pointed out. Knowing your students, their instructional challenges, setting goals, using strategies, reflecting, and evaluating student learning in light of the goals were all intertwined in this template. I plan to share it with colleagues because it is a powerful tool that many could use on a regular basis. Thank you for sharing this great resource with us.

  7. Karen Berg says:

    Thanks for the link to the template. It’s just what I needed to upgrade my teaching and help me be more comfortable at evaluation conferences.

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