Layering Teams: Examining Case Consult Teams

In a recent blog, Scaffolding our Collaborative Response: Purposeful Layering of Team Meetings, we shared the purposeful articulation and layering of collaborative team structures to ensure the needs of all students are met. Drilling a bit deeper into the processes of each team will provide a reflection of what is consistent within each layer and what differs for each team. This blog will focus on the specific considerations for a Case Consult Team Meeting. Although we want to be able to suggest some processes and structures that will guide your Case Consult Team, we also recognize that many of you already have this level of team in place.

Case Consult Team Meeting Category

This level of team serves as a comprehensive category for all meetings that involve a discussion regarding one child. We often refer to this as a bucket category that includes a number of different types of meetings comprised of various participants depending on the intention or outcome of the meeting. The common thread for these types of meetings is that the adults are convening to discuss or problem solve to respond to the needs of one child. Individualized program plan (IPP) design and/or update meetings, parent meetings and individual student program planning meetings are all examples of case consult team meetings.

Intensive Case Consult Team Meetings

In the case of teams convening in response to crisis or complexity, there are specific considerations, structures and processes that require attention in responding to student needs. This type of case consult team is an intensive wrap around support that is needed to ensure safety and wellness for all involved. The membership of this team could include the student, parent(s)/guardian(s), teacher(s), educational assistant, administrator(s), counselor(s), learning support lead, external services and partners and may even include social services, health and/or law enforcement depending on the circumstances of the situation at hand. This team meets when needed and is usually convening in response to a crisis or need to ensure safety for the student and others. One individual student is the focus of this wrap around team.

When an intensive case consult team meets, there are a number of processes to be considered that will highly impact the outcomes. It is important to outline the processes and terms for which this team is engaged. Clear identification of the referral process and how and when this team is convened should be documented and readily available to all school team members.

As this is a fairly complex team meeting, a number of considerations need to be in place prior to the actual meeting.

  • Careful consideration needs to be given to an individual who would act in the role of coordinator. This person would send out invitations to both internal and external partners and track attendance.
  • An agenda is developed in conjunction with the facilitator (more about that below) prior to the meeting which would allow the voice of all partners at the table. Expectations are clearly articulated in the agenda to ensure all partners are aware of their participation in the meeting.
  • Background information regarding the student demographics would be recorded or in a student profile for easy access. This includes items such as parent or guardian contact information, student’s date of birth, etc.
  • Any information that is needed to clarify the purpose of the meeting would be shared with participants such as school procedures or crisis management documents.

Roles for the case consult team are established such as coordinator, facilitator, recorder and perhaps a time manager. The facilitator is responsible for guiding and directing the flow of the meeting while the recorder ensures there is one clear set of notes that will be distributed to the team as follow-up. These two roles should not be the same person as it is sometimes difficult to direct conversations and take notes at the same time.

A predetermined agenda that guides the discussion for the first and subsequent meetings is important to establish. An agenda not only guides the flow of the meeting but can also become the template for keeping the notes for the meeting. As the recorder is keeping the notes, they are projected to provide a focal point for all team members and ensure all team members have an opportunity to adjust notes if something is misinterpreted or missed.

The agenda for the case consult team follows a clear sequence which allows parents and external partners a clear voice in working toward possible resolutions. The flow of the meeting should typically be guided by the following sequence:

  • Student Celebrations
  • Student Medical and/or Diagnostic Updates
  • Parent’s Needs and Concerns
  • External Partners Information
  • School’s Needs and Concerns

Parents always have the first opportunity to speak as this is often a very intimidating process for them and it can provide them with confidence and a sense of control when they lead the discussion. The school team shares their information last as their insights often lead to decisions and actions for next steps, both of which are recorded in the meeting notes. Here is a sample agenda that could be used for the purpose of this intensive case consult team meeting.

If it appears that this team will be meeting on a regular basis, it is advantageous to establish norms during the first team meeting so all participants understand the expectations of engagement. The process of developing norms can be used in a modified fashion to meet the needs of a smaller team.

At the end of the meeting, the recorder reviews all actions and outcomes of the meeting and prints copies of the notes for everyone to take away. The coordinator then follows up with the actions to ensure there is follow through. The next meeting date is established before the team disperses.

We have developed a reflection organizer to maximize the effectiveness of your case consult team meetings.

If anyone develops meeting agendas or resources related to this concept, we would love to see them! Email questions(at) or lorna.hewson(at) if you have something you wish to share or if you have questions about the case consult team meetings.
Author: Lorna Hewson