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T ogether E veryone A chieves M ore. Teacher TEAMs & Team Dynamics. Tom Van Hulle and Matt Wernsdorfer June 25, 2012. Adapted from Maxine Wood August 2011 Presentation. Talent Development Secondary (TDS) Focusing on Teacher TEAMs and Team Dynamics. Goals

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teacher teams team dynamics





Teacher TEAMs & Team Dynamics

Tom Van Hulle and Matt Wernsdorfer

June 25, 2012

Adapted from Maxine Wood August 2011 Presentation

talent development secondary tds focusing on teacher teams and team dynamics
Talent Development Secondary (TDS)Focusing on Teacher TEAMs and Team Dynamics


At the conclusion of this session, School Transformation Facilitators will be able to:

  • Identify the purpose and role of teacher teams are within Talent Development Secondary and Diplomas Now
  • Develop effective teacher teams within Talent Development Secondary and Diplomas Now
focus on tds pillar i
Focus on TDS Pillar I

Teacher TEAMs and

Small Learning Communities

Teams of teachers working with a common and manageable set of students, with time built into their schedule for collaborative work and facilitation to initially guide their efforts.

a brief overview activity
A Brief Overview Activity

Teacher Teaming 1-Pager

why have teacher teams
Why have Teacher TEAMs?

Facilitates job-embedded collaboration

Builds a strong climate of caring and support for students and staff

Shares information and resources that provides collegial support

Coordinates instruction and curriculum across curriculum

Gives teachers time to work together so as to enable instructional flexibility

Provides students with a constructive and united front on attendance, behavior, and course performance

Promotes students’ social attachment to school by providing a team identity of adults that look out for them and gives guidance

Communicate and improve best instructional practices

what do teacher teams do
What do Teacher TEAMs do?

Identify and address student challenges and needs

Analyze data to set common instructional goals

Work together to personalize and individualize the learning environment for each student

Meet regularly at scheduled times

Conference with students and/or their families

Organize instructional day

Provide the coordination of special activities or instructional rationale


STF and Teacher TEAMs

in the School Transformation Plan

“Planning the Work,

Working the Plan.”


Pillar I

  • Distributed Leadership
  • Collaborative Work Times
  • Shared Cohort of Manageable Number of Students
  • Access to Real-Time Data About Shared Students

Pillar I

Teacher TEAMs and Small Learning Communities


School Transformation Facilitator’s

Responsibility to Scheduling

After Lunch



“Schedules can do anything except everything.”

-- Ken Lerner


The Big Picture

Scheduling is one of the most important decision making points in a school, and the power is carefully guarded.

  • This is where almost all decisions are written in stone for the year. If it ain’t in the schedule, it ain’t real yet.
  • Often, part of our job in reform is to open this process up to more voices.
  • Play nice with schedulers!

It is how a school articulates what people will do all day and is therefore informed by:

  • What courses a school will teach?How is that learning measured (credits, minutes, work time)?
  • Who will work with whom? (certification, skill sets, track records)

The Devil’s in the Details

We want (must have’s are underlined)

  • Extended learning time
  • Common Planning time
  • Accelerated Courses for those who need it
  • Interdisciplinary TEAMs
  • Shared Cohorts of Students
  • 4X4
  • Fewer Class Changes
  • Manageable number of students with small team (3-4 teachers with 75-90 students)
  • Mutations
    • 4X4+1 is most common
    • Larger teams (two of each)

What You Will Hear

  • Double blocks are too long. My teachers and students can’t handle it.
    • We did that- it didn’t work.
  • This is just like middle school.
  • We need to schedule for the IB kids first.
  • We can’t offer credits for those accelerated courses.
  • We will have more fights if the kids are together all day.
  • “What about…”
    • The geniuses?
    • The kids who never come to school?
    • Art?
    • Foreign language?
    • AP courses?
    • Gym?
    • Science?
    • College level curriculum?
    • Calming influence of older students?
    • Internships?
    • Music?
    • SAT prep?
    • Survey courses?
    • Homeless students?
    • ELL students?

The “Doing” Activity

  • Each group has a copy of:
    • Basic 4X4
    • 4X4+1
    • Two others
  • Each groups should
    • Identify which is the 4X4, the 4X4+1, and which are the “others”
    • How do these schedules reflect the elements that support the “must have’s”?

Teacher TEAMs and

the School Transformation Facilitator

Roles, Responsibilities, And Resources

Adapted from: Team to Teach, National Staff Development Council,




Teams function most successfully when members have

shared goals and purposes that promote collaboration.




Structural conditions and needs:

  • Time and opportunity to meet
  • Location, organization and logistics
  • Access to data, materials, resources, etc.



Critical elements:

  • Reflective dialogue
  • Collective focus on student learning
  • Shared norms and values


Guiding factors:

  • Commitment to student improvement
  • Mutual trust, respect, commitment, and


  • Supportive leadership and support from


  • Clarity of roles, relationships, responsibilities
  • Agreed upon norms, goals, procedures
  • Capable, competent, and contributing members

TEAM Dynamics Activity

Modeling Roles and Results


Five Stages of TEAM Activity

Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning

(Tuckman, 1965)


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

1. Explain the Teacher Team Initiative to administrators and/or faculty.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“Why should we do this?”

  • Research analysis
  • Draw upon past experiences of successes and
    • failures (know the school’s history)
  • Provide examples of other successful teams

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

2. Introduce or review the team process.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How do we do this?”

  • Review team characteristics (from this presentation)
  • Show other successful team meetings
  • Model proper meeting protocols

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

3. Assist in planning and organizing for team work.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“What am I supposed to do?”

  • Schedule consistent meeting times and location
  • Establish and assign meeting roles
  • Procure resources (copies, computer, projector, overhead, screen, etc.)

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

4. Help teams get off to a good start.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How do we begin?”

  • Create agendas
  • Develop meeting norms
  • Facilitate beginning meetings with the expressed intent of eventual distributive leadership

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

5. Help members select and set team goals.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“What do we do now?”

  • Brainstorm specific school concerns and prioritize them so as to create team goals
  • Note staff conversations in meetings to potentially add to future agenda items
  • Use TD materials (e.g. Pillars) to suggest possible goals

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

6. Help teams develop a plan for action and accomplishment based on goals.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How does this contribute to our goal?”

  • At the end of meetings, identify: task, champion, date, who will check or needs information for next task
  • Copy and distribute action plan
  • Send action plan reminders

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

7. Assist/enable teams to conduct successful meetings.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How can we be sure things are getting done?”

  • Share information
  • Provide feedback
  • Keep agendas and notes

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

8. Maintain momentum.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How do we effectively address our challenges?”

  • Highlight or promote successes and note challenges for future team goals
  • Be available and visible so as to provide informal opportunities for brainstorming
  • Assist in the process—seek opportunities to serve

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

9. Assist in assessing team progress.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“How do we know if what we’re doing is working?”

  • Evaluate staff strengths and weaknesses and place “the right person in the right seat”
  • Provide staff individual feedback
  • Encourage best practices with celebrations (with notes, e-mails, handshakes, smiles, private and public praise, share individual and team successes

Common Question


Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources

10. Facilitate effectively.

Possible Responses

Essential Activity

“Might there be a better way of doing this?” OR “Are we just reinventing the wheel?”

  • Communicate with your FM, RD, S4, IF, and fellow STF’s
  • Read and share germane TD/DN correspondence
  • Encourage with information (opinions differ, data don’t)

Common Question

Essential Activities 1-10 were adopted from:

Jolly, A. (2008). Team to teach: A facilitator\'s guide to professional learning teams. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council