Examining Collaborative Team Meetings: Ensuring an Action Focused Process

This posting is part of a series, aimed at sharing high-impact ideas and practices for consideration in relation to Collaborative Team Meetings.

As you dig deeper into the collaborative team meeting, you immediately recognize that this team meeting is not merely a time dedicated to discuss students or review their current situation. Rather, its very foundation depends on the actions that are assigned and committed to by each team member. If we are going to make a difference to students, we need to devote time and energy to ensuring we’ve made every effort to employ as many strategies and supports to see success.

In the collaborative team meeting, there are a number of intentional structures and processes that lead a staff team to an actions-focused culture.

Intentional Agenda

The careful design of an agenda for collaborative team meetings, ensures that as we move through the process that we are documenting actions and assigning tasks to individuals with accompanying timelines. In a typical CTM agenda there are three distinct opportunities to identify and record actions for follow up.


During the celebrations portion of the meeting, we identify students for which we have seen significant gains with an intentional focus on impact. The facilitator probes each team member to share the practice that has led to student success. As a result, we identify strategies that have the potential to impact many more students across the school that could be shared with the rest of the team. Actions are documented in regards to sharing resources, templates or particular strategies that have been successful for some students.

Key Issues Process

The key issues process begins with the identification of students using a pre-meeting organizer, reflecting on data and the key concern for students at that point in time and will make up the majority of the time on the agenda. During the meeting, the facilitator guides the team in refining a key issue that may address the needs of the particular student identified but expands the issue to include other students as well. Through the brainstorming of Tier 2 (classroom based) responses, a number of strategies and supports are identified to meet the needs of students experiencing the key issue. The facilitator then turns back to the list of students and requests the actions that will be taken for each of the students identified.

This poster visualizes the intended key issue process.

Additional Students

In the remaining time within the agenda, teams need the opportunity to share students of concern that require more than Tier 2 supports to be successful. This portion of the agenda is intended to identify a student, briefly communicate the current concerns and to commit to actions that will be taken to support this student. For example, the action may be “discuss this student at the next school support team meeting’ for more intensive supports. While this may be a simplistic method of moving a student to more intensive support, it still requires a team member to commit to continuing the conversation for this student.

Team Tasks

In the final notes of the collaborative team meeting, a school where the CTM team is the same team engaging in collaborative planning could elect to infuse a process where a review of all the actions identified throughout the meeting is conducted followed by determining any broad tasks that will guide collaborativeplanning teams and tasks that may be necessary to support the school’s Collaborative Response.

Actions Follow Up

While documenting and committing to actions is an integral part of the Collaborative Team Meeting process, the next question that arises is in regards to follow up. To ensure commitments are not merely statements found in records of decisions but rather actions identified lead to impact for students.

We typically suggest three possible accountability measures to ensure that actions are followed through:

  1. Instructional Leadership - As administrators are fundamental to Collaborative Team Meetings, there is a natural transition from actions committed to during the meetings to classroom walk-throughs and staff conversations regarding the actions they are taking and the degree of success that students are experiencing. As staff members have personally identified their follow up in the collaborative team meeting, there is a logical connection for administrators to make an inquiry into progress and next steps.
  2. Themed Celebrations - For some schools, after feeling comfortable with the process of collaborative team meetings, they encourage team members to bring forward students to celebrate that they have put actions in place for from the previous meeting. This provides a cycle of identifying actions and celebrating accomplishments of those actions.
  3. Addition to the Agenda - Depending on the time allocations for collaborative team meetings, some schools add a section to the agenda following Celebrations for staff to report on the progress of their actions from the last meeting.

Without dedicated actions, we are merely ‘talking the talk’ without impact. The actions we commit to and follow up on are what makes the difference to students.

Have an agenda to share or resources you’ve developed in relation to focusing on actions? Contact us at questions(at)jigsawlearning.ca to share a sample for other schools to be able to view!

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Author: Lorna Hewson