In high schools across the country teachers meet as departments or entire faculties. These standardized, contractual, meetings typcially involve the dissemination of information, schoolwide PD, or discussion about curriculum and assessment. While these gatherings are valuable and necessary, they may fall short in meeting the needs of at-risk students. The establishment of inter-disciplinary teaching teams provides an opportunity for teachers from multiple content areas, who teach the same students to meet on a regular basis. The collaboration of such teachers shifts the focus of conversation from curriculum and instruction to students.
Popular topics for the planning meetings may include the establishment of consistent policies and procedures, communication strategies, classroom interventions, classroom accoommodations, student achievement, and behavior observations.
In order to organize such a team it it necessary to identify grade levels and courses that share a significant percentage of common students. When scheduling, teacher must be provided with a common planning period. To meet contract obligations consider substituting a non-instructional duty for this assignment.