The WV CTN is a statewide group of schools working together to create and sustain powerful teacher collaborative teams that generate continuous improvement in teaching and learning. They will build toward full implementation over a two-year period, providing a model for the entire state.  

A West Virginia CTN School is a member of this statewide community that uses the power of collective action and the commitment of skilled teachers to focus on learning.  As the school moves along the continuum toward full implementation of learning community practices, teacher teams engage in collaborative processes that structure the kind of learning opportunities that students need for success. Administrators support the collaborative teams through distributive leadership which allows teachers to share their skills, understanding and creativity that not only bring satisfaction, but also result in increased student achievement. The goals of the CTN are:

  1. To establish a unified, sustainable process for schools to engage in collaborative teaming
  2. To provide support for schools who engage in collaborative teaming
  3. To increase student learning through the collaborative team process
  • School leadership team is established consisting of principal, teachers representing each collaborative team (grade level, content area, etc.) and other personnel at the principal’s discretion.
  • School leadership team attends all WV Collaborative Teams Network workshops (6 days of regional professional development) and translates learning into practice with school staff.
  • School leadership team forms a mutual support network with two other schools during the regional workshops and networks (online and face-to-face) with those schools throughout the CTN experience.
  • Principal and school leadership team create a defensible organizational structure for collaborative teams (by subject, by grade, by student group, etc.) that will enhance instructional improvement for student learning.
  • The school will maintain the integrity of the collaborative team model while adjusting details to accommodate school-specific needs.
  • Principal creates and supports "a time and place" for regular and on-going CT meetings.
  • The principal provides and solicits appropriate supports for the school’s CTs.
  • The principal and staff will participate in on-going problem-solving and professional growth dialogue with the district leadership team.
  • School leadership team facilitates a team-building process with professional staff.
  • School staff collectively reviews and/or revises school mission, vision and beliefs.
  • School staff analyzes state summative student achievement data to determine program level needs (trends, patterns, etc), and collaborative teams establish SMART goals based on summative student achievement data.
  • Collaborative teams establish team norms and consistently review/adjust protocols to guide team work.
  • Collaborative teams review standards, identify essential learnings, and establish curriculum /pacing guides and common assessments (where applicable).
  • Collaborative teams collect a continuous stream of evidence of student learning, examine data and determine next steps based on objective data results rather than personal opinions.
  • Teachers seek job-alike partners to build common instructional units and assessments and engage in collective inquiry.
  • School staff celebrates their work/progress on a continual basis.
  • The principal and staff will create an electronic story board to document growth.
  • The principal, staff and appointed district office staff will participate in the evaluation activities including surveys, observations and interviews.

The teacher collaborative teams’ unwavering focus is on student learning. Teaming structures in the CTN School tap into the expertise of administrators and educators as they work together toward a common goal. Teachers are organized into learning teams on the basis of shared responsibility for pursuing the critical questions of teaching and learning with a specific group of students (for example, by content, course or grade level).

Teacher collaborative teams focus their collective effort around four critical questions:

  1. What do all students need to know and be able to do? What knowledge, skills and dispositions do we expect them to acquire as a result of this course, grade level or unit of instruction?
  2. How will we know when each student has learned what they need to know and be able to do? How will we determine/assess if each student has learned each of the skills and concepts we have deemed most essential?
  3. How will we respond when a student or students don’t learn? What process will we put in place to ensure students receive additional time and support for learning in a timely, directive and systematic way?
  4. How will we respond when students come to us already knowing the essential learnings?  How will we enrich and extend the learning for students who are already proficient? (DuFour, DuFour & Eaker, 2008)

Teams are guided by student data to identify school, teacher and student needs. Each teacher collaborative team is facilitated by a team leader who serves on the School Leadership Team. Collaborative teams practice collective inquiry--seeking new methods of teaching and learning, testing those methods, and then reflecting on the results. The constant, high-quality collaborative inquiry sustains the learning community, and teams become more disciplined and deliberate with data when designing and implementing program improvements to enhance student learning.

It is important to have a majority of staff support in order for an effort to be successful. The CTN opportunity is invitational and is not intended to be imposed upon the school from the outside.

Schools that commit to collaborative teaming processes will have opportunities to enhance site-based decision-making and voice opinions on how to support teacher leadership that results in improved student outcomes
Through embedded professional development, school leadership teams (comprised of members that represent each teacher collaborative team) learn about the practices and protocols of collaborative teaming. Leadership team members translate learning into practice along with their respective collaborative team partners. Job-alike partners focus purposefully and intensely on student learning, working together in a reflective manner to sustain those practices.   This “learning-by-doing” process nourishes a supportive and reciprocal accountability, builds a positive culture and deepens their understanding of:

  • Leadership and facilitation skills;
  • Collaborative teaming processes—action orientation, collective inquiry, shared mission and goals, and a school-wide focus on learning and results;
  • Instructional practices--collaborative assessment practices and continuous improvement of efforts to address the 4 critical questions of student learning; and
  • Student-involved formative assessment practices.

Three 2-day face-to-face traininings (total of 6 days) are scheduled on collaborative team processes.  Trainings will be held October 2010, January 2011, and March 2011. Also, six (6) Interactive Web Conferences are planned through the Elluminate online platform.  Participants will be able to access the sessions from any location with internet connection.

School administrators study the work structure of their organization and decide the best way to divide all professional staff into teacher collaborative teams (CTs).  Teaming structures may include teachers who teach the same content or course, grade level, or group (k-2, 2-4, etc.) and so forth. Once the CTs are established, one representative from each teacher collaborative team serves on the School Leadership Team.