With so many initiatives, latest curriculum/programs, new evidence-based practices, and professional development, teachers can feel exhausted and resentful and administrators frustrated, especially when students don’t respond the way educators hope.

What if there is a simpler way to impact student achievement that doesn’t require a bigger budget for more personnel or resources or a specialized curriculum? The answer lies with school teams. At their best, they are essential for teacher collaboration and student and school success. In a 2015 study, researchers spent two years analyzing over 9,000 teachers at more than 300 schools and found that, “Teachers and schools that engage in better quality collaboration have better achievement gains in math and reading. Moreover, teachers improve at greater rates when they work in schools with better collaboration quality” (Ronfeldt et al., 2015). 

Most schools have plenty of teams, but often these teams are unstructured and lack a defined process and clear goals. As a result, teamwork can become unfocused and frustrating, even a waste of time. To make teams valuable, schools don’t need more teams but  fewer, more effective teams. Educators also need to prioritize their teams and create a thoughtful team schedule that allows teachers, team members, and stakeholders to meet and collaborate with purpose. 

Establishing norms and roles for team members; consistent protocols for accomplishing the work; clear communication for all stakeholders; shared, measurable goals and specified accountability for success as well as a defined timeline to meet these goals are the six key components for creating effective teams. By using this framework, schools can vitalize their teams, energize their educators, and make a real impact on student and school success! 

Works Cited
Ronfeldt , M., Farmer , S. O., McQueen, K., & Grissom , J. A. (2015, June). Teacher collaboration in instructional teams and student … – JSTOR. JSTOR. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/24546739.pdf?ab_segments=&initiator=