Develop ILT and Senior/Team Leads

Vision of Excellence

Essential Questions


In schools characterized by strong distributive leadership, school leaders are constantly and strategically using their time and resources to drive the development and growth of other leaders in the building, both individually and collectively.

As the leader of leaders, they are aware of the strengths and areas of growth of each Senior/Team Lead and other ILT members; they are creative in their use of resources, people and time to support growth; and they are transparent about their assessment of progress. They also leverage the strengths of the ILT as a whole to support professional learning.

More broadly, school leaders have a pulse on the successes and challenges of teacher teams across their school and intervene in ways that support and build up the leadership capacity of their Senior/Team Leads and other leaders in the building.

How do school leaders develop Senior/Team Leads throughout the year to strengthen their practice and impact?

How do school leaders provide support and professional learning for members of their ILT and other instructional leaders?

How do school leaders monitor and support teacher teams in their schools, and how and when do they intervene to support the Senior/Team Leads and Team Specialists who lead those teams?

1. Support Senior/Team Leads and other Istructional Leaders to Strengthen Their Practice

2. Develop Strategic Professional Learning Opportunities for the ILT

3. Monitor Progress of Teacher Teams and Provide Skillful Intervention



Who is the primary audience for this focus area? School Leaders
When is this focus area most useful?  Throughout the School Year

Objective 1: Support Senior/Team Leads and other Instructional Leaders to Strengthen Their Practice

Key Action Steps

Conduct regular 1:1s with Senior/Team Leads

  • Set up weekly or bi-weekly check-ins with Senior/Team Leads. Consider using a collaborative agenda for these meetings that Senior/Team Leads update prior to check-ins.
  • During 1:1s, regularly revisit school, ILT and team goals, review coaching calendars, as well as expectations and deadlines for SLOs and LEAP. Support Senior/Team Leads to plan release time activities and provide actionable feedback.
Set up alternate, supplemental support structures

  • In addition to support provided to move their team forward, provide 1:1 support to Senior/Team Leads that focuses on developing their practice as leaders as outlined in the LEAD Framework. Consider providing a structure for leadership coaching by school leaders, veteran Senior/Team Leads or external partnerships.
  • Set up systems for Senior/Team Leads and other ILT members to regularly engage in joint practice to learn from one another. Possible practices include joint observation and feedback sessions with teachers, calibration and norming activities, observation of teacher team meetings, and collaborative planning and debrief sessions for data team meetings.
Provide consistent on-the-job coaching and support within a learning cycle structure

  • Set up ongoing 3-5 week learning cycles with each Senior/Team Lead to support development. Key activities include:
    • Set an intention for the learning cycle. School leaders and Senior/Team Leads should jointly select and prioritize a measurable, high-impact goal based on quantitative and qualitative data.
    • Engage the Senior/Team Lead in related learning. Approaches could include book or article studies, co-observing another teacher live or via video, modeling leading a team while the Senior/Team Lead observes, co-planning for a team meeting and/or difficult conversation, providing real time coaching or meta-coaching.
    • Support better practice with observation and feedback. Observe your Senior/Team Leads in action to gauge their effectiveness in implementing key learnings and provide actionable feedback.
    • Engage in evaluation and/or reflection. Offer more formalized feedback or a structured reflection process. Consider whether the goal has been met and whether to develop a new goal for the next cycle.

Objective 2: Develop Strategic Professional Learning Opportunities for the ILT

Key Action Steps

Structure ILT meetings to strategically incorporate professional learning

  • Incorporate professional learning within regular ILT meetings. Be sure to protect the time from competing demands.
  • Organize professional learning content strategically depending on the time of year. For example, opportunities to learn about observation and feedback and data cycles should begin early in the year.
  • Consider selecting a LEAP indicator that ILT members have identified as an overall area of growth among teachers to use as a theme for professional learning. Discuss what an “effective” score on that indicator looks like across content and grades to norm and calibrate expectations. Encourage Senior/Team Leads to evaluate teachers on that common indicator and bring evidence of their progress and challenges to the professional learning session.
  • Ask and support ILT members to lead professional learning sessions based on their areas of interest and expertise.
Provide a variety of targeted PD opportunities

  • Incorporate the use of video in professional learning opportunities. For example, school leaders can ask ILT members to record their own practice then watch and reflect during a team professional development session.
  • Organize a series of mini-professional development sessions around a variety of topics and allow Senior/Team Leads to choose sessions most relevant to their goals. Have Senior/Team Leads or outside experts lead the sessions based on their areas of strength. Some topics to consider include leading difficult conversations, collecting evidence from observations, and determining high-leverage action steps.
  • Engage ILT members in opportunities, in which Senior/Team Leads observe each other’s practice within a particular focus area.
  • Ask Senior/Team Leads to bring in artifacts (e.g., student work samples, scripted observations, and teacher learning cycle artifacts) and use a protocol for feedback and discussion.
Set up a resource sharing mechanism

  • Use a social media platform (e.g., Twitter, Google or Tumblr) to share best practices and resources. Organize, label or hashtag using LEAP indicators. Always be aware of confidentiality of data and other privacy considerations.
  • Use Teaching Channel Teams to support the sharing of resources and videos among ILT members. Use the timestamp functionality to help ILT members reflect on specific sections of videos.
Refer to Evaluate Results, Assess Needs and Adjust for Next Year » For guidance and resource to End of Year Evaluations

Objective 3: Monitor Progress of Teacher Teams and Provide Skillful Intervention

Key Action Steps

Observe teacher teams in action and track teacher team data

  • Schedule time to sit in on teacher team meetings, observe Senior/Team Leads in action, and provide feedback to Senior/Team Leads on their practice.
Broker relationships and provide supports to Senior/Team Leads, when requested and/or appropriate 

  • Support Senior/Team Leads to plan for and execute difficult conversations with individual or multiple teachers on their teams. Be responsive to requests for increased support for specific situations, while building and not usurping Senior/ Lead authority.

Spotlight on Schools

To encourage resource sharing among ILT members, one principal holds a quarterly “symposium” for his ILT to learn from their peers. At each symposium, members bring their most valuable resources (e.g., trackers, calendars, sample learning cycles, and protocols) and walk through them for the rest of the team. If your ILT is a large group, the symposium can begin with a gallery walk, where ILT members can use post-its to comment and ask questions about their peers’ tools. After the symposium, ask the ILT to e-mail their resources or post to a common folder.