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Focus Area 2


Create structures that foster trust and collaboration among staff.

“The power of collective capacity is that it enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things—for two reasons. One is that knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely available and accessible on a daily basis. The second reason is more powerful still—working together generates commitment.”

Michael Fullan, All Systems Go: The Change Imperative for Whole System Reform

The way that staff interact and work together strongly influences school climate, and a collaborative staff community is crucial to schoolwide SEL.

When staff support and trust one another, they form a strong professional community, feel more committed to their schools, share knowledge and expertise, and work productively toward collective goals. School teams can intentionally cultivate this type of staff community by setting up structures that foster positive staff relationships and providing ongoing opportunities for staff to meaningfully collaborate.

If you have already begun developing a plan to foster staff collaboration, use the rubric or the questions below to identify areas for continuous improvement: 


Do staff have frequent, dedicated opportunities to collaborate and problem solve with one another?

Does the school actively cultivate an environment that supports school staff in building positive relationships with one another?

Have staff collaboratively developed shared agreements for how they will interact with one another, with students, and with families and community?

Are SEL practices and shared agreements modeled by staff and referenced in staff and grade-level meetings?

Based on your responses, you can use strategies shared in this section to help set the stage for supportive professional relationships and collaboration among staff:

  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Peer mentoring and Partnership
  • Integrating SEL practices into staff meetings
  • Peer consultancy protocols

The strategies provided here can be used together or as part of other models of staff collaboration and relationship-building. The SEL team can also use previously identified schoolwide SEL goals and professional learning plans to direct the work done during collaboration.

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