The following information is provided as a guide for developing Literacy Coach Professional Portfolios.


Why should Literacy Coaches keep a professional portfolio?

In the book Capturing the Wisdom of Practice, the author Giselle O. Martin-Kniep explains why educators should develop portfolios:

"One reason that teachers benefit from keeping portfolios is that portfolios allow them to take stock of their professional lives. Improving one's teaching requires an ability to capture and reflect upon a moment that has already gone by. Reflection is about treating successful and unsuccessful events as learning opportunities. Such activity is essential for both teachers and learners...

Portfolios also provide a more representative and far richer portrayal of teachers' work than typical evaluation procedures. They require teachers to capture moments already gone by, to identify good practice and areas needing improvement. Using portfolios, teachers can act as professionals, illustrating and disseminating the essence of their work."

In this reflection, illustration, and dissemination of our work we increase the professionalism of what we are doing. The primary purpose of developing a portfolio is to increase professional learning around the work.


(Originally developed 2005)

In September of 2005, we set the following as our guidelines for the preparation of the Literacy Coach portfolios:

  • set the audience (HISD, Houston A+, principal) and purpose (to authenticate our work) of the portfolio
  • make the final document one of "selection" not "collection"
  • organize the portfolio to tell its own story
  • show evidence of how the literacy coach work is impacting student achievement
  • organize the portfolio to reflect the roles of the coach on that specific campus (see 2008 update below)

As you prepare your portfolio, use the following questions to guide you. These same questions will be used by your peers when they view your portfolio and offer you feedback.

  1. Who is the intended audience?
  2. What is the purpose of the portfolio?
  3. What was the criteria for making "selections"?
  4. What evidence is there that the work of the Literacy coach has impacted student achievement?
  5. What evidence is there to show how the Literacy Coach fulfilled his/her various roles on the campus?

2008 Update to Guidelines

Considering our study of the book Differentiated Literacy Coaching and our decision to structure the monthly logs around the Coaching Continuum (from the book), all Literacy Coach portfolios should use the following framework for the basic organizational structure:

  1. Collaborative Resource Management / Literacy Content Presentations
  2. Focused Classroom Visits / Peer Coaching
  3. CoPlanning
  4. Study Groups
  5. Demonstration Lessons / CoTeaching
  6. Other Duties

Within each of those larger categories, individual coaches may choose to develop further organizational structures for the artifacts/evidence included in the portfolio.

Hardcopy vs. Digital

All coaches should strive to move toward a more digital workflow in all aspects of our work. This year portfolios may be compiled as hardcopy versions using a 3-ring binder, but if possible, effort should be made to compile portfolios digitally. The following recommendations will be helpful when moving to a digital portfolio:

  • A wiki can be an easy and highly accessible method for compiling a digital portfolio. Wikispaces hosts free wikis for educators (used for this wiki) and provides space for containing documents such as scanned documentation (walk-through forms), powerpoints, .pdfs, Word docs, and more.
  • Hand-written documents can be scanned in using a basic flatbed scanner and saved as a .jpeg or .pdf.
  • Photos can be scanned in or taken with a digital camera and uploaded to the wiki hosting site.
  • If you choose to develop your portfolio through a wiki, you may create a link to your portfolio from your profile page in this wiki.

Artifacts & Evidence

We have had discussions this year around what kind of documentation - artifacts & evidence - Literacy Coaches should be collecting for possible inclusion in the portfolios. The following list includes some ideas for potential artifacts & evidence that you might collect to document your work on your campus:

  • walk-through and observation forms
  • notes from collaborative coaching, coplanning, or coteaching sessions
  • meeting agendas from PLC / department meetings that you attend
  • reflection forms from pd sessions you have conducted
  • documentation of your own professional development participation / professional learning
  • student achievement data
  • powerpoints created by you
  • materials from sessions you conduct

Models for Portfolios

insert your links to online resources that are helpful for developing portfolios and keeping documentation