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Build Your Professional Portfolio

Maintaining a professional portfolio is very important.  A professional portfolio will provide a clear history of your professional experience and development. Be diligent in updating your professional portfolio as mobility in your life and in the lives of the people whom you will want to use as references may make it difficult to get information at a later time.

Include the following in your portfolio:

  1. Teaching License: This important document is issued by the state and certifies you as a licensed teacher.

  2. College Transcripts: If you have attended more than one college, these transcripts should also be obtained. Often school systems will require an official transcript, a transcript sent directly from the university to the school system, but a student copy will assist in completing applications and employment related papers.

  3. Teaching Contracts: A copy of each signed contract is important because it verifies your employment with a system. It is also proof that you worked for a system for a specific amount of time.

  4. Salary and Payroll Records: These records record your monthly salary, tax deductions, and social security deductions. Insurance and other deductions will also be recorded on the payroll stub.

  5. Sick Leave: Sick leave records indicate the amount of sick leave earned per month and how much sick leave one may use before deductions are taken from salary.

  6. Evaluations, Growth Plans, and Professional Development Plan(s): These are documents concerning the evaluation of performance, continued employment, and/or improvement of employment. To employers, both current and future, the documents represent your performance on the job and any commendation or recommendations. If you have disagreed with any part of an evaluation, growth plan, or Professional Development Plan your written response should be attached to the copy in the file.

  7. Independent Job Performance Evaluation: If your administrator only focuses on negatives, an independent job performance evaluation may be helpful. This could be done by a former administrator, retired master teacher, faculty member of a school of education or even an evaluator from another school district. The individual should observe you in the classroom and utilize the same instrument your district utilizes.

  8. Other Job Performance Documentation: You have the right to have materials placed in your personnel file at your request. If you have received positive notes from students or parents, such as at the end of the school year or at Christmas, those should be copied for your portfolio and placed in your personnel file. You might make an autograph album available at parent/teacher conferences and if a parent makes a positive statement about your teaching or how well his/her child is doing, ask if the parent would take a minute and make a note of that in your autograph album as you are constantly seeking to keep your portfolio up-to-date. Or, ask parents, co-workers, or community members to write letters of recommendation or references about their relationship with you and place those in your portfolio and school personnel file.

  9. Documentation of Professional Development: Include documentation of professional development or continuing education course work you have taken.

  10. Records of Severe Student Matters: These records concern any major student problem that involves hearings and/or court proceedings.

  11. Major Correspondence from District Administrators: Letters of appointments to committees, position of leadership, or recognition are helpful in building a strong resume.

  12. Letters of Recommendations: Letters of recommendation from the principal and peer teachers document your on-the-job performance and are important in determining future career opportunities.

  13. Copies of School/State/National Printed Programs Listing Presentations or Other Responsibilities: This information is important on a resume, and the documents will help you be accurate in citing the information.

  14. Praxis, Graduate Record, and other Examination Scores: All records on required tests need to be readily available. Obtaining copies of this information can be time-consuming and monetarily expensive.

  15. Recording of Your Teaching: Many teachers have adopted the practice of taping themselves teaching. Because this is not done for broadcast but to improve instruction, there is no violation of FERPA or any other state or federal laws. Some benefit from watching it and seeing how they look to students while other teachers have used such tapes to evidence to board members that they are quality teachers and that the evaluation done by the administration was very subjective and does not accurately reflect what is happening in the classroom.

  16. NWPE Membership: A current NWPE Membership provides you with liability coverage and immediate access to legal advice. Some districts reimburse for professional association dues.

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