Skip to main content

Leading Edge Blog

Finding More Hours in the Day

Creative Solutions for Making the Most of Teacher-Based Teams

At OLAC, we believe in the power of teacher-based teams (TBTs) and their ability to help schools and districts develop capacity at all levels. In short, by working together, we can all get better.

One challenge districts and schools face is making time during the school day for TBTs to meet. Between instructional time, planning periods and all the additional responsibilities teachers have during the day, there isn't much extra time for teachers to meet with their TBTs, and the time spent together is not always effective.

Our Module: Teacher-Based Teams: What Districts Need to Know, contains research-based information and tips about effectively structuring TBTs to help all teachers continually improve instructional practices and student learning. For example, involving teachers in developing schedules, implementing block scheduling, restructuring staff meeting time, and leveraging time when students are in electives/special classes are a few of the creative ways districts and schools can provide more opportunities for teachers to meet in TBTs.

We always enjoy sharing examples of how districts are implementing creative scheduling to support TBTs.

At Port Clinton Middle School in Port Clinton City Schools, Principal Carrie Sanchez has made it a priority to "make every minute count" and provide staff with 45 minutes of collaborative, common planning team each day, in addition to 45 minutes of individual planning time for each teacher. This collaborative time allows teachers to meet regularly with one another in teacher-based teams, while still allowing for a 30-minute intervention period for every student.

Says Sanchez, "the Port Clinton Middle School schedule not only provides consistent time for faculty and staff to meet with one another, it is also a vehicle for the exchange of ideas and strategies, and offers time for faculty to observe one another teach. The schedule serves as a great way to incorporate job-embedded professional development in the school day." As a result of this schedule, Port Clinton Middle School has been able to make other enhancements that have led to greater success for students. The schedule has been well-received by staff, and other buildings in the district are also modifying their schedules to create more staff collaboration time.

Thanks to Port Clinton Middle School for sharing how they make time for TBTs. Port Clinton's strategies for effective scheduling and collaboration were also featured on Battelle for Kids' FIP Your School Ohio blog. For more examples of districts and schools making the most out of their TBT time, including how Ironton City Schools schedules staff meetings during the day, check out the presentations from the 2015 OLAC Action Forum.

We're excited to continue our work to support leadership development at all levels in 2016. Stay tuned for news from OLAC in the coming months on:

  • Updates to our online modules, which will include more resources and tools to immediately support your work.
  • Opportunities through our Credit Corner to earn CEUs or college credit while increasing your collective capacity.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about OLAC, contact Executive Director, Jim Gay, at