Should Teams Be Required to Submit Meeting Agendas?
We received a question from a principal who wanted to know if there was research to support requiring her teams to prepare and submit agendas for their team meetings. Here is our response:
Thanks for your question about agendas. We are not aware of any research about the importance of agendas. I did not require teams to use agendas when I was principal. If they felt it would be beneficial to have one, they did; however, if they preferred not to create an agenda, they didn't. In terms of PLC language, we were “loose” on agendas.
What we were “tight” on, however, was that teams would submit products that showed they were engaged in doing the right work. We worked with teacher leaders to establish a timeline for the products, and if a team was unable to generate a product according to the timeline, then we knew the team required some assistance such as clarification of the task, examination of samples created by other teams, or mediation of conflict.
The products came from the list of 18 critical questions (“Critical Issues for Team Consideration”) that are available under Tools & Resources. For example, we would want to see the team’s norms, SMART goal, expected learning outcomes for the semester and grading period, key prerequisite skills or vocabulary needed for success in the upcoming unit, the team’s plan for gathering evidence of whether each student had the necessary skills and vocabulary, and common formative assessments created by the team. Most importantly, we wanted to see the team’s data analysis protocol sheet for each common formative assessment to ensure they were using it to identify students needing help or enrichment, to share strengths, and to identify areas where the entire team needed support in helping students learn a particular concept. The data analysis protocol sheet (“Data Analysis Protocol”) is also available under Tools & Resources.
Remember you are asking for these products to see if teams understand the work to be done, if they are getting it done, and the quality with which they are getting it done. This puts you in a position to support teams that struggle. So which will give you better insights into these questions: having an agenda that says the team wrote a common formative assessment or actually looking at the common assessment?
I strongly recommend that you are much better off being loose on agendas and tight on clearly defined products being presented within a clearly designated timeframe.