Examining Collaborative Team Meetings

Over the past number of years, we have worked extensively with schools and districts in establishing Collaborative Response to serve as an overarching framework for how organizations collectively and systematically identifies and responds to the needs of all learners. In the 2015 text Envisioning a Collaborative Response Model, we laid out an overview of Collaborative Response, as we saw it at the time, and how to get it established in a school. The book essentially focused on getting started. However, over the past number of years, we are now working with educational organizations who have established the essential components of Collaborative Response and are now going deeper. What extensions to the initial components should be considered when sustaining and deepening Collaborative Response in schools and districts?

Collaborative Team Meetings at the Heart

It has become abundantly clear that the Collaborative Team Meeting is at the absolute heart of Collaborative Response. Healthy and vibrant team meetings fuel innovation for how we address student needs and lead to approaches or ideas previously left unexamined or unimagined for individual staff members. Unhealthy collaborative team meetings lead to stagnation, frustration and eventual eroding of Collaborative Response as a whole.

Over the past number of years, we have learned so much through conversing with educational leaders invested in ensuring effective Collaborative Team Meetings and observing those meetings in action. We have had several moments of “we wish I would have thought of that in our own school” and we now intend to share some of those best practices in a series of blog postings.

Considerations for Collaborative Team Meetings

These considerations are shared in no relevant order of importance. Click on the hyperlinked title to review the idea in depth.

  1. Focus on Impact During Celebrations – when sharing celebrations to start a collaborative team meeting, going deeper to examine what led to that success for students
  2. Establish an Annual Calendar determine and intentionally align when Collaborative Team Meetings will occur throughout the year for your teams
  3. Establish a Focus establish what the focus of the collaborative team meeting will be to assist in the flagging students to bring to the conversation and bring greater clarity to the collective conversation
  4. Determine Team Tasks – at the conclusion of a Collaborative Team Meeting, determine team tasks that could provide focus for future collaborative planning time for teams
  5. Establishing a Collaborative Meeting Space - considerations when thoughtfully designing a space intended for the Collaborative Team Meeting
  6. Question and Discussion Resources - ideas related to the intentional use of question and discussion cards, posters and other resources to prompt collective dialogue and team enquiry
  7. Roles in Team Meetings - ideas, samples and templates related to establishing roles in team meetings, as well as communicating the responsibilities for those assuming each role
  8. Shifting to Key Issues - ensuring the primary focus in the Collaborative Team Meeting is shifted to key issues surfaced through an examination of individual students, we can ensure attention is placed on the Tier 2 classroom-based supports and instructional practices.
  9. Establishing and Reinforcing Norms - why are team norms critical for the success of any collaborative team, with resources and samples to assist in establishing norms, as well as reinforcing norms over time across your organization.