Collaborative Structures and Processes

When establishing Collaborative Structures and Processes in schools, it's important to develop a layered approach to responding to the needs of students, as well as ensuring collaborative time for teams. With effective communication strategies in place, each team builds on the work of each layer. In schools, the following four general structures should be considered when creating a highly-functioning Collaborative Response:

Click on any of the meeting types, or use the menu to the right, to access a number of resources and samples, organized related to structures and processes specific to each layer of team meetings in a school. View below to see resources related specifically to layering team meetings, norms and designing spaces for collaboration.

Reflection and Data Tools

Reflecting on Collaborative Structures and Processes (School-Based) - Template - Template to reflect on considerations related to the layering of Collaborative Structures and Processes to ensure appropriate and timely support for all students, while building collective capacity for team members

Layered Meetings

A highly impactful and robust Collaborative Response relies upon layers of collaboration, each with a different purpose and participation/timing in relation to that purpose. It is important for schools to think critically about how they are designing and refining their highly interconnected collaborative structures, as well communicating those structures clearly within their school community.

Resources and Templates

Team Meeting Overview Template - Template for planning to determine the types of collaborative structures happening in the school, determining the purpose of each, who is involved, duration and frequency. Assists in the layering of team meetings to support the needs of students in connection to all levels of support.

Innisfail High School Layered Collaboration Overview - Visual showing the three layers of student focused meeting, each with a specific purpose focused on tiers of support.

MHPSD Collaborative Response Meeting Overview - Overview of collaborative response meetings for all schools in Medicine Hat Public School Division.

RWZ Collaborative Structures Overview Poster - Poster showing the various types of collaboration and team meetings at Robert W. Zahara School in Sexsmith, AB.
Beaverlodge Elementary Team Meeting Overview - Overview document from Beaverlodge Elementary showing the various team meetings existing in their school, as well the purpose, frequency, attendance and duration.
Copyright 2020, P. Cincurak - Beaverlodge Elementary, AB. Shared with permissions
Elmworth Collaborative Response Structures - Posters showing the four layers of team meetings in Elmworth School.
Copyright 2020, C. Gauthier - Elmworth School, AB. Shared with permissions
View additional layered meeting samples contributed by our partners.


Norms are a critical element whenever teams are engaged in collaborative work, as they define the expectations and commitments that the team members agree to when engaging in their collective endeavours. Every layer of collaboration should have norms established for their work, which can be common across all structures or individually defined for each team and each team process.

Resources and Templates

Process for Establishing Team Norms - Overview of a four step process for collectively developing team norms as a school or large group, including links to a video describing the process.

Team Norms Template - Template for establishing team norms for collaborative team meetings (or other purposes in your professional learning community).

Unpacking Team Norms - Template - Template used to articulate the why, expected observables and agreed upon responses when a norm is not upheld. Assists in the further examination, refinement and strengthening of norms to impact collaborative practices.
Sample Team NormsSample set of team norms for a grade one team (specifically establishing norms for a collaborative team meeting)
Strategies for Deepening Norms - Compiled by workshop participants in Medicine Hat Public School Division, different strategies to consider when wishing to practice, reinforce and deepen norms established for team meetings.
Ekota School Team Norms - Norms established for team meetings at Ekota School, with focus on what we see or do not see in relation to the norms in the school.

Norm Examination Sample - Rich Valley School - Template used for the staff at Rich Valley School to examine the why behind their three key team meeting norms, including what they would observe for each norm in their school.
Copyright 2019, K. Muir - Rich Valley School, AB. Shared with permission

Lochearn School Team Norms - Sample digging deep into each norm to articulate what each does and does not look like in action, as well as why it is important.
View additional team norm samples contributed by our partners

Space Design

Ensuring that an effective space is prepared for collaboration is important for schools and districts. The environment, access to materials, sitting arrangements and other considerations matter when adults are engaging in collaborative teams. View a blog posting sharing further ideas connected to this concept.

Resources and Templates

Collaborative Meeting Space Checklist - Checklist to support reflection related to the thoughtful design of a space intended to be used for team collaboration in schools.

Ecole Connaught School - Meeting Room Visuals - Visual resources accessible to staff in the space used for team meetings.
View additional space design samples contributed by our partners