The Principal Center - Building Capacity for Instructional Leadership
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Better Conversations for

Better Feedback on Teaching

Better Conversations for

Better Feedback on Teaching

The Professional Writing App for Instructional Leaders


  • Keep track of your visits
  • Take timestamped low-inference notes
  • Use the precise framework language
  • Generate feedback phrases with A.I.
  • Send your notes to teachers instantly via email
  • Create templates to structure your writing


  • Use our built-in templates or design your own
  • Add drag-and-drop phrases to build your message
  • Choose the right phrase from up to 8 options
  • Use variables to end find-and-replace anxiety  
  • Copy & paste into documents or emails
  • Convert your existing writing into templates

Repertoire is a web-based walkthrough app from Dr. Justin Baeder, creator of The Instructional Leadership Challenge and author of Now We’re Talking! 21 Days to High-Performance Instructional Leadership.

Based on the leadership principles in The Instructional Leadership Challenge, Repertoire helps you take notes and send written feedback to teachers in dramatically less time—while helping you build your repertoire of helpful feedback phrases.

Repertoire is available exclusively to members of the Instructional Leadership Association, our main program at The Principal Center.

Better Observations with Repertoire

  • Start an observation from a template, or from scratch
  • Type your notes and feedback into the "snippets" box, and Repertoire will suggest matching snippets that you've already typed
  • New snippets are automatically saved to your personal database, and can be deleted with one click
  • Each snippet you type or select is added to your message
  • Make additional edits to your message as needed
  • Send the email to yourself, to the teacher you're observing, and up to two additional email accounts
  • Copy and paste into any other apps you use for feedback and documentation

Next Up: Get To Every Teacher

Repertoire's "Next Up" button automatically finds the teacher you need to observe next, so you never miss anyone.

Simply enter your staff roster and the app will pick teachers at random for your first cycle of observations. Then, once you've visited everyone once, Repertoire will select the teacher you haven't observed in the longest time.

That way, you won't miss anyone, and you won't avoid anyone.

And if someone is absent or isn't teaching at the moment, you can hit "Next Up" again to jump to the next teacher—and the teacher you skipped will be selected next time you hit the button.

Snippets: Better Writing with Less Typing

Snippets are saved chunks of text—of any length—that you might use again. They can be:

  • Single words or short phrases
  • Complete sentences
  • Entire paragraphs, or even multi-paragraph outlines

When you type something in the Snippet box and hit enter, Repertoire remembers it and suggests it next time you start typing the same thing. There are no extra steps, no settings to configure—and you don't even have to decide to save a snippet. It happens for you, effortlessly, as you write.

How Snippets Work, And How They Help

Repertoire's Snippet feature increases your capacity for instructional leadership in three ways:

  • Reduced typing time—instead of typing an entire phrase or sentence all over again, you can simply tap or click to select it, then hit enter to add it to the message you're writing. The time savings are even greater when you're on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Reduced cognitive load—instead of coming up with just the right turn of phrase from scratch, you can draw on—and expand on—your previous thinking to provide better-quality descriptions of teacher practice and start better conversations about teaching and learning
  • External memory—instead of relying on your brain's memory for the exact wording of dozens or hundreds of standards, criteria, and practices, you can extend your brain's repertoire using technology. By accessing and using this repertoire more frequently, you'll rapidly expand your expertise and skill in providing instructional leadership across a vast range of issues and domains.

You can keep just about any kind of text in Repertoire Snippets:

  • Long or hard-to-type single words
  • Carefully-wordsmithed phrases to convey nuanced meaning
  • Boilerplate phrases such as salutations and requests
  • Reference information, such as your evaluation criteria, that you may want to find via keyword, even if you don't include the criteria in your message.

You can copy and paste whatever text you'd like into the Snippet box, or you can upload a spreadsheet to bulk-import an entire library of words, phrases, standards, criteria, or anything else.

For example, if you type "1c3" you can pull up the Danielson Framework's Domain 1, Component C, Level 3 descriptor so you know what "proficient" practice for "setting instructional outcomes" looks like.

Or if you type "clauses" you can pull up "L.7.1c. Place phrases and clauses within a sentence, recognizing and correcting misplaced and dangling modifiers." if you've added the Common Core State Standards Language Progressive Skills to your library.

It's entirely up to you. There's no clutter, because your Snippet library only contains snippets that you've actually typed, or that you've imported to enhance your repertoire.

And if you want to delete a Snippet, just click the red X when it appears in your search results.

Templates: Providing Consistent Communication

Repertoire's Templates feature allows you to create a re-usable template for any situation:

Message structure—If you want to use a similar salutation and signature for each message you send, you can save it as a template, and add unique content to the middle. 

Thinking structures—If you want to structure your thinking with sentence-starters such as "Students were..." and "I noticed..." you can include them in a template. 

Activity-specific templates—If you enter a classroom and group work is in progress, you can give yourself sentence-starters to provide high-quality feedback on the teacher's approach to facilitation. Or, if direct instruction is taking place, you can pull up your template for feedback on direct instruction—whatever the situation demands. 

Strategy-specific feedback—If you're focusing your feedback on a particular instructional strategy or initiative, you can use the same structure for your feedback to each teacher. 

Non-observation emails—If you want to provide feedback on each teacher's weekly lesson plans, you can create a message template and re-use it for each teacher—with the teacher's name, date, and other information pre-filled with easy-to-add variables.

Repertoire supports a number of template variables to save you even more time: First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Date (several formats), Day of week, and Time of Day (Morning/Afternoon).

Scripting: Better Documentation for Better Conversation

If you like to "script" a running record of what you're seeing and hearing in the classroom, Repertoire makes it fast and easy:

  • Timestamps help you effortlessly track the duration of each event in the lesson.
  • Snippets save valuable typing time for routine words and phrases such as "Teacher is circulating to check on students as they work independently."
  • Our auto-save feature makes it easy to work from your mobile device—even if you get interrupted.

A New Approach to Professional Writing with Repertoire

Use Repertoire Content Creator's drag-and-drop templates for high-stakes professional writing

School leadership is a people-centric job, and much of our work happens face-to-face. But every school leader carries an invisible burden: the behind-the-scenes work of professional writing that's so essential for effective documentation and communication.

When we write well, it strengthens and accelerates our interpersonal efforts to lead improvement. But when we're pressed for time—as leaders almost always are—writing becomes difficult, and we may not even have a chance to write at all. As a result, critical communication and documentation may simply fail to happen.

Fortunately, the cyclical nature of our work makes it possible to build on our previous writing in each new situation—if we have the right tools in place. Your approach to similar situations is probably very consistent, even if the circumstances differ.

So your writing can be largely the same each time—however, each situation calls for a slightly different:

  • Tone
  • Facts
  • Proper nouns
  • Pronouns, and
  • Messaging at key points

Repertoire's Documents tool makes great professional writing fast and easy, thanks to three key features:

  • The drag-and-drop Layout Editor makes it easy to build customizable, reusable document templates phrase by phrase
  • The multiple-choice Phrase Editor lets you select the perfect phrase to strike the right tone and convey the right message for the situation
  • The Field Editor makes it easy to create and update custom fields for names, pronouns, adjectives, and other situation-specific details

Documents Designed for Stress-Free Reuse

Together, these three features solve two biggest challenges with re-using your writing—what we call mismatch and FARA.

Mismatch occurs when a new situation doesn't quite match a previous situation, so it won't quite work to re-use your writing.

For example, if you're writing a letter to notify parents of a teacher's departure, the tone of the letter should match the circumstances. 

That's why it's so helpful to have multiple options in the Phrase editor, so you can strike just the right tone while communicating the same essential information.

The second problem, FARA, short for "Find-And-Replace Anxiety," comes from our awareness that re-using our writing can introduce typos and grammatical problems, like noun/pronoun or subject/verb disagreement.

For example, a letter about a female teacher may have a dozen or more words that need to be updated before the letter can be re-used for a male teacher:

In high-stakes professional writing, there's no room for embarrassing mistakes—but that doesn't mean you can't re-use your writing. With Repertoire's Fields feature, you can quickly update all of the key nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and other details, so they're perfect every time.

All of Repertoire's built-in templates are designed to solve the mismatch and FARA problems, so you'll see how easy it is to craft your own templates with re-usability in mind.

Our Growing Template Library

Repertoire Content Creator features built-in templates that you can customize in seconds, including:

  • Job search cover letter
  • Employee letter of concern re: performance issues
  • Disciplinary incident notice to parents
  • Email response to parent concern
  • Announcement of a newly hired teacher

...and many more, with new templates added all the time. 

Justin Baeder, PhD. 

Director, The Principal Center

I believe that instructional leadership is one of the most rewarding and challenging roles in the world. We have the opportunity to impact students' lives forever—but so much can get in the way. 

There's too much information to manage, too many staff to supervise, and too many ideas to keep in your head. 

We've created Repertoire to expand your capacity to use the "language of learning" in all of your written communication and documentation as an instructional leader. I hope you like it!


—Justin Baeder, PhD