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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.