Teacher-based Teams (TBTs): What Districts Need to Know provides readers with practical guidance for establishing and sustaining effective teacher-based teams. Through their collaborative work, these teams increase educators’ capacity to use evidence-based and high-leverage instructional practices to meet each student’s needs and improve each student’s learning. The module explains why the collaborative efforts of TBTs are so important and how they fit into district-wide improvement work. It also shares characteristics of effective teams and teaming. providing tools, resources, and protocols to support the work of TBTs across Ohio.
This module aligns with Ohio’s Leadership Development Framework in the following areas:
- Area 1: Data and Decision-Making Process
- Area 2: Focused Goal Setting Process
- Area 3: Instruction and the Learning Process
- Area 4: Community Engagement Process
- Area 5: Resource Management Process
As a district or school, identify your more and less effective TBTs. Discuss the characteristics of team functioning that you believe are essential for effective team functioning. Brainstorm steps you can take to improve the consistency and quality of TBTs in your district/school.
Longstanding silos, whether they're organized around programmatic responsibility, grade or building level, or other operational/organizational aspects, are difficult to break down. Discuss what existing assumptions, policies, procedures, or structures might serve to reinforce the silos in place in your district or school. What might you do to alter these elements in order to establish or strengthen structures that promote collaboration across the school system?
In considering the team structures in place in your district, discuss what is meant by the phrase, "The BLT is the linchpin." How effective are the BLTs in your district/school? What steps might you take to ensure that BLTs in your district are effectively monitoring the work of TBTs, as well as communicating meaningfully the priorities of the district and their relationship to the work of schools and teacher teams?
Discuss the degree to which you believe the use of the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) and/or the associated collaborative learning team structures (i.e., DLT, BLT, TBTs) are viewed by teachers, administrators, and other educators in your district as valuable. Is the predominant view based on a compliance orientation (i.e., "we have to do this"), or do more educators in your district/school view the process and the team structures as helpful to improving the quality of instruction and learning?
What is your district/school's stance on inclusive education? How is the concept of inclusive practice understood by teachers and principals in your district/school? To what degree do educators in your district/school share the responsibility for educating all children regardless of label or status? How do you know?
Revisiting Team Membership
Review the membership of each of the TBTs in your district/school and identify potential gaps in membership, particularly in the assignment of intervention specialists and other educators who deliver or support the delivery of instruction (e.g., literacy coach, Title I instructor, school counselor, speech-language pathologist, etc.). Next, identify all district/school personnel who do not participate as a member of any TBT in the district. Identify strategies for strengthening TBT membership through the involvement of personnel with varied and needed expertise in order to build instructional capacity for meeting the instructional needs of all learners across the school system.
Making Time for Teams to Meet
Develop a master team meeting schedule showing the meeting time and duration for the DLT, BLTs, and TBTs across the district (or if you work at the school level, for the BLT and TBTs in the school). Review the schedule and determine whether or not teams at each level (i.e., district, school, teacher team) are meeting frequently enough and for an appropriate amount of time to support needed improvements based on district/school priorities. Pay particular attention to TBTs, reviewing the suggestions provided in the module (see page 7, Structures and Processes to Support TBT Effectiveness) for creating additional TBT meeting time. Identify two to three actions you can take to improve the frequency and regularity of team meetings.
Assessing Leadership Actions to Advance Organizational Goals
As a DLT, review the framework developed by Bolman and Deal (2008) that is described on page 8 (The District Leadership Context) of the module. Analyze the ways in which the district has used the OIP and OLAC to take specific action in each of the four domains (i.e., Culture, Human Resources, Structure, Political Context). Consider how the results of your analysis can be used to strengthen DLT, BLT, and TBT functioning in your district.
Defining Inclusive Practice
Review your district's stated mission and goals. Next consider your district's current practices and the degree to which they are designed to provide equitable opportunities to learn for all students in your district. In particular, examine whether:
a.) A commitment to educating each child is explicit in the work of the district and its schools (cite your evidence).
b.) Teams (i.e., DLT, BLT, TBTs) focus their work on strengthening teaching to promote the learning of all groups of students (cite your evidence).
c.) All students are valued as members of a diverse learning community (cite your evidence).
d.) All staff share responsibility for improving the learning of all children (cite your evidence).
e.) The district has high expectations for all learners (cite your evidence).
Based on your responses to the questions above, identify the top three actions you believe the district should take to embrace and use inclusive practice.
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For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.