Consulting Services

Teacher Collaboration consultants work directly with schools to design agendas to meet the specific needs and goals of the school. The following listing of sessions will give you insight into the kind of programming we bring to schools.

Potential Sessions

Collaborative Skills and Practices to Enhance Student Learning

Overview This professional development experience will support your ability to extend teacher collaboration in your school, support the development of a collaborative school culture, encourage reflective practice, and help rethink teacher leadership — all in support of increased student achievement. The work we will do emphasizes making teaching practice public, continuously assessing teaching in relation to student learning, and routinely adapting teaching to meet the changing needs of today’s students. The Critical Friends Group model, which was begun in the mid 1990’s at the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, is the foundation of the work. The research base for the work is detailed at

Who Should Attend This session is designed for Teachers, Teacher Leaders, Grade Level Team Leaders, Department Heads, Instructional Coaches, Curriculum Coordinators and Administrators. Basically any educator who participates in or has responsibility for organizing meetings will find this session useful.

Learning Outcomes In this session you will experience a powerful model of effective adult learning and learn how to design a similar experience in your own context. You will work to develop an effective professional community while learning the concepts, habits, tools, and facilitation skills that lead to more reflective collaborative practice. During the session we will answer the following guiding questions:

  • How can collaborating with colleagues improve educator practice and student learning?
  • What can I learn about my own practice by looking collaboratively at student and colleagues’ work?
  • How do I foster adult conversation and dialogue that directly impacts student learning?
  • Which facilitation skills and practices help develop effective teacher work groups?
  • What strategies will encourage full participation and engagement?
  • Why use protocols? How do I match a protocol to a task or need? What tools and structures can help a group use time effectively to accomplish a task?
  • What kind of feedback encourages and supports reflection and professional growth?
  • How can I as a teacher leader support professional growth and improvement at my school?

Participants will walk away with….

  • Knowledge about and practice using several strategies for engaging in discussions based on ideas contained in different kinds of “texts”
  • An understanding of how to give and receive productive feedback on professional practice
  • Experience with the use of a variety of effective questioning techniques
  • Practice with the use of several protocols for increasing learning by examining student and adult work collaboratively—an understanding of when to use which protocol and why
  • A clear sense of the role of a facilitator in creating and sustaining an effective collaborative teacher work group. Practice with a variety of facilitation skills
  • A clear, practical plan for participating in or leading a professional group

Timeframe This session can range from 2 to 5 days in length.

Peer Observation

  • What kind of feedback encourages and supports reflection and professional growth?
  • What tools and structures, protocols, can support teacher’s who are beginning peer observation?
  • How can peer observation improve teacher practice and enhance student learning?

Overview Peer observation, in which small groups of practitioners observe one another’s work, take notes, and discuss with each other what they learned, is a useful way to gather information about adult practice in the school, reflect on it, and use it to improve teaching and learning.

Research suggests that peer observation can benefit teachers, students, and schools by:

  • Focusing on student work
  • Pinpointing successful instruction and areas needing improvement
  • Helping practitioners develop a shared language about teaching and learning
  • Helping a faculty develop a learning community and build habits of reflective practice
  • Sharing a knowledge base by being public with their work

Peer observation is not intended to be used for teacher evaluation; it is part of a “peers helping peers” process. Successful peer observation involves more than putting the processes in place – it requires will, a clear purpose, sufficient time, and good communication.

Peer observation uses a variety of protocols — structured ways of listening, conversing, and conducting activities such as classroom visits — to save time, focus observations, encourage active listening and meaningful reflection, and keep discussions respectful, collegial, and productive. This session is an introduction to these materials.

Who Should Attend Directors, Managers, Coaches, Teacher Leaders, and anyone responsible for guiding people to collaborate effectively together. 

Timeframe 90 minutes to 2 days (includes practice and debrief).

The Art of Powerful Questions

Overview Questions are a prerequisite to learning and a window into creativity. Questions motivate fresh thinking and challenge our assumptions. Questions lead us to the future. In this session we will explore the art of creating more powerful questions.

Who Should Attend Directors, Managers, Coaches, Teacher Leaders, and anyone responsible for guiding people to collaborate effectively together.

Participants will:

  • Apply the question formulation technique to a pressing question they face
  • Experience a text rendering activity
  • Produce more effective probing questions
  • Problem solve a current issue or dilemma using questions

Timeframe 90 minutes to 3 hours.

Designing Meetings for Learning and Collaboration

  • How do I design agendas that help people do their best work and learning together?
  • What strategies and tools can increase engagement and “buy-in” of my staff?
  • How do I get people to take collective ownership of our work together?
  • How do I create the conditions necessary to have hard conversations? 

Overview When planning adult learning, it’s essential to design an experience people will go through together that moves beyond a series of tasks or items to address. This seminar will provide an opportunity to learn about and practice applying strategies and structures that support productive meetings that encourage full participation and engagement. The seminar includes time and support to plan or re-imagine an upcoming meeting in your context. 

Who Should Attend Directors, Managers, Coaches, Teacher Leaders, and anyone responsible for guiding people to collaborate effectively together. 

Participants will:

  • Experience a powerful model of effective adult learning, and learn how to design a similar experience in your own context
  • Learn the basics of agenda design using a “whole-person learning” framework
  • Gain new tools and frameworks including agenda templates and sample protocols

Timeframe Half day to 1 day.

Facilitating Group Dynamics for Effective Teams 

  • How do I help my group become a motivated team that is committed to the work they are doing together?
  • What do I need to know to help a group get “unstuck”?

Overview Facilitating a group is complex, challenging work. Even a well-designed agenda can be sidelined by participant anxieties or volatile emotions that create unproductive group dynamics. This seminar will help you to understand what’s underneath the challenges your group is facing and learn facilitation skills that can create a team with greater agency and effectiveness.

There is no way to be certain about how a meeting will unfold, but there are research-based, reliable ways a facilitator can plan and adjust based on the needs of the group to get to more positive outcomes. This seminar will help you transform your staff or departments into effective teams with a shared vision and commitment to what they can accomplish together. 

Who Should Attend Directors, Managers, Coaches, Teacher Leaders, and anyone responsible for guiding people to collaborate effectively together. 

Participants will:

  • Gain new knowledge, tools and frameworks for managing teams and developing a positive group dynamic
  • Plan how to use these skills in your context. 

Timeframe Half day to 1 day.

The tools and processes introduced in collaborative practice sessions are versatile and can work with whatever content or initiative a school is implementing. The following sessions have been designed using collaborative practice activities.

English Language Learner Sessions

Using collaborative practices these sessions are designed to specifically address the implementation of effective English language learner curriculum and assessment. Examples of workshops that have been provided for schools include:

ELL and WIDA Standards: Assessment and Instruction in Context for Early Childhood Teachers

In this session, early childhood teachers will learn how to integrate the WIDA Early Childhood Standards in the early years’ program and how to use Can-Do Indicators as a means of assessment in order to create an instructional plan to guide learning . After this hands-on session, teachers will be able to:

  • Explain the WIDA Early Childhood Standards
  • Use the Can-Do Indicators to set language goals for students
  • Develop an instructional plan for an upcoming unit

The EAL Curriculum Connection: Aligning Language Goals to Academic Standards

In this session, ELL teachers develop an understanding of the relationship between the MODEL for ELLs assessment, the WIDA Standards, Common Core Standards, and instruction. ELL teachers will review logistics of administering the MODEL for ELLs Online Assessment and interpret assessment results in order to define language goals for students. After this hands-on session, teachers will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the relationship between the WIDA Standards, Common Core State Standards, MODEL for ELLs Assessment, and instruction
  • Analyze assessment results
  • Explain the WIDA Standards
  • Administer the MODEL for ELLs Online Assessment

MODEL for ELLs and WIDA Standards: Assessment and Instruction Across the School

In this session, Administrators will evaluate how to support MODEL WIDA Standards integration and instructional planning across the school, and set goals for language assessment and standards integration. In this interactive session, Administrators will:

  • Define the logistics of MODEL Assessment
  • Evaluate the impact WIDA Standards integration, MODEL assessment and instructional planning can have across the school
  • Determine how to support teachers with assessment and instructional planning
  • Establish school-wide expectations for language assessment and WIDA standards integration