A key consideration for collaborative team meetings is the development of an intentional and integrated agenda and notes document. This provides predictability for your teams, and it guides the process of moving from one item to the next in your agenda, as the collaborative team meeting requires a very formalized process for its optimal impact.
When the agenda is well constructed in a note-taking document, it reminds us of the next steps to follow in the process. It guides the structure of the conversation. We would argue having a clear agenda and notes is important at all the layers of teams. But at the collaborative team meeting, it becomes absolutely essential.
At a school in Bigstone Cree Nation in Alberta, Canada, they created a poster that clearly outlined the sequence of the agenda that they would expect to follow every time they came together for a collaborative team meeting.
In the sample above, you see that they take the first 10 minutes for review of their norms and then an examination of celebrations. The majority of their time (45 minutes) would be spent talking about who are the students, what are key issues that have surfaced, who are other students that have that same key issue, brainstorming ideas and then assigning actions. Through the brainstorm, the ideas that are generated are primarily tier two classroom based supports. Here is a blog that describes this key issue process if you’d like to know more.
They establish a block of time to identify students that need to be referred up to the next layer of team. What we refer to as the school support team they call their student services team. During the collaborative team meeting, we don’t take time to talk in detail about those students but rather quickly identify that they need to be on the agenda for the more individualized discussion that occurs in the school support team. Finally, they take the last few minutes to determine if there is anything they should take back to their collaborative planning time or grade level time as a team task that they could work on together as a result of this particular conversation especially in response to the key issues identified.
The agenda becomes a fantastic support for the facilitator, and acts as a guide for every team member as you move through your collaborative team meeting. In addition, using a large screen or smartboard to project the notes while the recorder takes the notes ensures all participants are focused on the task at hand rather than each person recording information that has the potential for misunderstandings. The visual focal point helps to move the process along.
Below is a template for you to make a copy for your own use. Feel free to adjust it so that it fits the time frames that you will have established for your collaborative team meeting. You'll note the different sections, as it aligns with that overarching agenda to consider what is the focus within our meeting and what is our time dedication, and then the notes document that allows us to record what's happening through that meeting. Essentially, it guides us through the facilitation of the meeting. Throughout the agenda, you’ll note the important actions sections where we are recording the actions that the team is dedicating to throughout the meeting, identifying how we will follow up with the students that we’ve discussed.
A clearly communicated consistent agenda ensures clarity and predictability for the team and further contributes to building vulnerability and trust in the process for all of our team members.
Access additional samples that show how schools set their agendas to follow timelines and ensure their processes are in place.
Interested in learning more? Access this blog posting, that goes deeper into the topic of establishing an intentional agenda for your collaborative team meetings.
Access this video to listen to Kurtis and Lorna share the importance of creating and using an intentional agenda.