Cooperating Teacher Letter of Recommendation

Guidelines

Cooperating teachers should note that all final evaluations and letters of recommendation at the University of Washington Bothell are open. The university does not provide placement file services for teacher candidates. Besides the final student teaching evaluation, the teacher candidate may ask the cooperating teacher to complete confidential individual recommendation forms from school districts.

Cooperating teachers should print the final evaluation on school letterhead and provide one original copy for both the teacher candidate and the university. This document will serve as both final evaluation to certification for the university and a letter of recommendation for the teacher candidate. No additional letters of recommendation are necessary. Do not submit back-to-back printed letters. Try to keep your letter to one page, but if the letter exceeds a page, submit a second page. Please mail this evaluation within a week of the intern’s last day. Your honorarium will be mailed after receipt of your letter.

Please sign and date the final evaluation, keep a copy for personal records, and mail it to this address:

“Final Evaluation”
Secondary Teacher Education M.Ed.
University of Washington Bothell
Box 358531
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, Washington 98011-8246

NOTE: Please use a salutation on your letter of recommendation that will be appropriate for multiple school districts.

Letters of recommendation are a required part of the application process in all school districts in Washington State. They are vital to the selection process and they help selection teams determine candidates to interview. School districts expect to see evaluations from the cooperating teacher, the building principal, and the university clinical faculty. The final evaluation/ letter of recommendation is also a required certification document for this program.

The letter is a reflective narrative describing the commitment the teacher candidate has to teaching and preparation. Keep a copy of  weekly written observation notes as a good reference tool for writing the final evaluation letter. Try to use examples to describe the professional preparation skills and personal attributes of the candidate. Remember, every word is critical. What is not stated about a candidate is as important as what is stated about a candidate.

As appropriate, address the following in your narrative:

  • Your recommendation (how strongly you recommend)
  • Description of setting and classes taught
  • Personal characteristics
  • Organization and planning skills
  • Representations of content
  • Knowledge of standards
  • Assessment strategies and evidence of student learning
  • Relationships with students, staff, parents
  • Creativity
  • Management
  • Extracurricular activities, professional involvement  

Use descriptive words whenever possible. Powerful word choices might include:

  • articulate
  • intelligent
  • expressive
  • cooperative
  • dependable
  • effective
  • observant
  • creative
  • imaginative
  • innovative
  • sophisticated
  • significant
  • efficient
  • confident
  • flexible
  • organized
  • reflective
  • enthusiastic
  • student-centered
  • willing to learn
  • self motivated
  • committed
  • empathetic

References should not be made to the teacher candidate's race, color, national origin, disability, age, and marital or parental status.

Advocate for an exceptional teacher candidate by ending the letter with a descriptive, positive statement:

  • This is the best teacher candidate I have ever had...
  • This teacher candidate is in the top 5% of all the candidates I have worked with...
  • One would never know that this is a beginning teacher. A readiness to teach is highly evident…
  • If you are fortunate to be reading this candidate’s file, offer an interview before another school district hires this person...

If the teacher candidate has met program standards but needs more time to develop his or her teaching skills, this additional preparation must also be noted, and the candidate should be well aware that his or her skills need further development. Substitute teaching may be a good option.