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The Learning What Matters Teacher competencies were designed by Building 21 specifically for the LWM competency framework and the B21 learning model. Schools that adopt these competencies should modify the language to meet their needs.

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What is the purpose of the teacher competencies?

The teacher competencies are designed to articulate the skills and mindsets necessary for our teachers to succeed in an innovative school where relationships are the foundation and designing competency-based, personalized, engaging, and impactful learning experiences for students is the context through which we can prepare our students for success in our world today. In order for innovation and change to be successful, we must first start with ourselves—the adults who are leading the change. We must do the personal and professional work required to persevere through the challenges and setbacks we will inevitably face. As we try to reimagine school,  we must embrace the mindset that we are all lifelong learners.

How should the teacher competencies be used?

The teacher competencies are meant to be used as a coaching, goal-setting, and self-reflection tool for teachers. We are thinking that instead of teachers rating themselves just on a level, it would be more interesting to rate at the indicator level, more like a checklist. This would allow us to track growth at the indicator level, as it is possible to be working on different levels of indicators within a skill. It would also be interesting to collect teachers’ self-reported data on the indicators in which our teachers rate themselves both  high and low. This data could inform PD, Summer Design Institute sessions, resource development, etc.

How do the levels work?

The levels (Novice, Developing, Proficient, Expert/Mentor) are meant to describe where you are in doing this work and should not be equated to years of teaching. A teacher who has been teaching for 15 years but has never done restorative practices or designed instruction for impact will be a novice in those areas. And that is how it should be. Honest and transparent assessment allows schools to design and differentiate professional development opportunities to support all teachers in their personal and professional growth.


TC.1 Building Relationships: I can build trusting relationships with students, families, and colleagues and consistently implement trauma-informed and restorative practices and culturally responsive teaching.

TC.2 Personal and Professional Growth and Development: I can self-assess, set goals, collect data, and implement a continuous improvement process to work on my personal and professional growth and development.

TC.3 Mentoring Through Advisory: I can create a safe space for me and my students to build trusting and meaningful relationships with each other, where every student is known and feels cared for, and where I challenge and support students in their academic, personal, and social-emotional growth and development.

TC.4 Designing for Engagement and Impact: I can design meaningful and relevant learning opportunities that address authentic, real-world problems or complex questions and allow students to apply their learning to impact an authentic audience.

TC.5 Facilitating Personalized Learning: I can create a personalized learning environment where students are accountable for their own learning and I regularly use data, systems, and technology to differentiate, adapt, and provide access as I support each student in developing their personalized pathway.

Teacher Competencies and Continua

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