Creating an Individual Growth Plan for the Danielson Model as an SLP

Across the country, there’s been a push to better measure teacher effectiveness.  This has resulted in several new evaluation systems (including the Danielson model) being developed and implemented in states across the country.  While SLPs certainly aren’t teachers, we are often evaluated either on the same evaluation tool as classroom teachers, or on slightly modified ones, supposed to be tailored for speech-language pathologists.

Part of the Danielson model is setting goals for yourself as a professional.  In my district, it is called an individual growth plan, but I’ve also heard them called teacher performance goals.

How in the world do you decide what sort of goal to write for yourself, though?  Sure, we write individual goals for students all the time, but it’s certainly challenging to come up with one for yourself!

My advice is to take a step back, and think about yourself as an SLP.  What is an area of practice you would like to improve on?  Do you have lots of students this year with disorders you are not as familiar with?  Do you need to improve on regular parent communication?  Do you need to work on your organization?  Does your behavior management system need some work?  Would you like to collaborate more with classroom teachers?  Do you need to figure out a better way to monitor student progress?  Do you need to come up with a way to show students what they are working on and why it is important?  Would you like to be more involved in your school community?  Do you feel like you could use more professional development this year?

If you still can’t come up with an idea, go back to your notes when you looked over your evaluation tool.  Are there any areas that you are weaker in, or areas where you don’t have much evidence?

Now, you need to write your goal in a way that is specific and measurable.  Most growth plans require goals to be written in the SMART format.

SMART stands for:

Here’s an example of a goal that is not specific or measurable:

“I will improve my communication with parents.”

Instead, try:

  • “I will improve my communication with parents over the next school year (through May 2016) by sending out a parent survey, creating a master list of preferred contact information, sending home explanations of students' specific disorders, sending homework at least once per month for parents that request it, and compiling activities to be sent home with each student at the end of the year for summer practice.”

If you want to use a goal like this, I highly suggest my monthly and/or summer speech-language homework packets, or my parent/teacher speech-language therapy explanation handouts!

Here’s some more examples of SMART goals:  

  • “I will help my students realize the importance of speech-language therapy and their goals over the next school year (through May 2016).  I will achieve this by creating a display of positive, student-friendly “I Can” posters, informing students of our objective for each session, having my students periodically monitor their progress with goals with a personal growth chart, and having students complete a “Why I Come to Speech-Language Therapy” activity at least once per year."
  • Suggested materials to go along with this goal:  "I Can" CCSS posters (available for K-6th or 5th-12th), free student goal display, and these free student learning targets from Jenna Rayburn.

You will likely need to list the specific steps you will take by what date.  If you have written your goal like the examples above, it is pretty easy to choose a month of the school year that you will accomplish each task.  Make sure you make your goal achievable - you don’t want to write a goal that you can’t reach in a year, or one that will take too much time on a weekly basis.

What are some examples of goals you have written?

PS: Looking for an editable Artifact Portfolio based on the Danielson model?  I have one now available in my store!


  1. You are an asset to the profession. Thank you so much for demystifying this new process. I know many are concerned about the implications for SLPs concerning the Danielson model. This was a great post that has helped reduce my anxiety around creating goals for myself.

  2. We don't use the Danielson method. But I do feel that my state hasdonre a pretty good job of being pretty fair with our evaluation.

  3. Do you have to do both individual growth objectives and student growth objectives?

    1. No, I am just required to have growth objectives for myself, not my students.

    2. I wish my school district did it this way!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Natalie you are AWESOME! Any chance you have either of these templates for sale on TPT and I just missed it?

  4. Natalie, thank you so much for the Danielson post. This has been on my list to tackle for a while, and you helped me conquer it! You rock. I was interested in the "I Can" posters, but the associated link did not work for me. Any ideas? I love the other materials and will be using them. -Lorraine Reigel, CCC-SLP // Lakeland School District

  5. Natalie, per my prior post: I went directly to TPT and found your "I can" bundle for SLP's. Added to my shopping cart! I am so glad that people like you exist in the world!


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