Collaboration is a process where people work together toward common goals. Collaboration as part of an RtI system includes educators, families and communities working together both formally and informally. This partnership builds and implements a model that identifies and provides supports to students to increase their academic and behavioral success through data-based decision making.

Collaborative protocols such as problem-solving processes and professional learning communities (PLC) can be used to systematize discussions surrounding a variety of data subsets, including:

The frequency and intensity of collaborative teaming should increase with the intensity of student need.

Collaboration across subject areas, job titles and among schools in a district also helps to establish a systemic and systematic approach to student support. Shared discussion around school schedules, course offerings, budget, staffing and resource allocation can help to support decision-making within an RtI system that maximizes local resources. As with other practices within an RtI system, all topics, formats and outcomes should consider how culturally responsive practices such as relevance, identity, community and sense of belonging impact collaboration.

How to build a powerful collaboration team

A powerful collaboration team depends on teachers working together to analyze data to improve their classroom practices and drive the school improvement process.  To build an effective collaboration team, consider these tips from the Educational Leadership article, “What is a ‘Professional Learning Community,’”:

  • Be open about data that was once kept private. From goals and strategies, to materials and pacing, teachers must discuss and collaborate using shared data in order to improve classroom practices and witness results.
  • It is critical that each teacher is part of a collaboration team within the school. Teachers need to be dedicated to student learning, taking time to meet during the school day and throughout the year. 
  • Teams must focus their efforts on answering critical questions related to improving student learning. Products generated by the teams may include: Lists of essential outcomes, different kinds of assessment, analyses of student achievement and strategies for improving results.
  • Teams must establish protocols to clarify expectations regarding individual roles, responsibilities and relationships among team members.
  • Teams must adopt student achievement goals linked with school and district goals.

Building a powerful collaboration team – and using the insights the team creates – is a critical method for improving academic achievement in a classroom, school or district.


Professional Learning Communities

Professional Learning Communities (PLC) are an essential element in a quality RtI process. PLCs put administrators and educators on the same team, working towards effective integration of RtI in the school culture.

The Wisconsin RtI Center has conducted a training of trainer series to empower selected trainers across the state to train schools and districts how to enact PLCs in a quality Wisconsin RtI framework. Contact the trainers directly for information on availability and fees. Click here to view the list of trainers across the state.