MTSS Classroom Team



Classroom Level Team

At the head of the classroom team is the primary teacher.  As the classroom teacher, they are responsible for creating a learning environment that is equitable, inclusive, and conducive to social, behavioral, and academic growth.  While not always viewed through a team lens, understanding how to harness the power if this team is a necessary step to providing inclusive supports at tiers 1, 2, and 3. 

Collectively, the responsibility of the team is to provide whole-class, small-group, and sometimes individual instruction and intervention. Because each classroom population is made up for different types of learners, its likely no two classroom level teams will look or function in the same way.  The concept of a classroom level team is sometimes overlooked.  Typically, the classroom teacher works to deliver instruction to the variety of children that are in their class, and additional educators are incorporated on an as needed basis based on the population of students.  For example, a special education teacher might provide consult to the classroom teacher on student IEP requirements, or directly support individual students.  Another example is when an occupational therapist visits the classroom to assist students with OT goals, or address a teacher concern.

Like other MTSS teams, the classroom level team is an important piece of a school's MTSS framework in that it encourages a whole-child approach to each learner, and facilitates the creation of wholly inclusive learning environments designed to meet learners where they are at.  While the classroom level team may not meet all together regularly, a communication plan with all of the team members is a great way to ensure that the team is working collaboratively on an ongoing, as-needed, and consistent basis. 

The Achilles heel of the classroom level team is "assumption."  When educators carry a certain title, degree, or reputation it is easy to assume that they all have the same goals, and the same ideas for how to reach those goals.  With that in mind, it is sometimes helpful to consider a few things when thinking about classroom level teams as part of your school-wide MTSS:

1. Teacher as principal - As the leader of this team, the classroom teacher drives the classroom leadership team.  All teachers possess a variety of strengths, talents, and expertise that lead them through their craft of teaching and ultimately they are responsible for a majority of the instruction and intervention inside their classroom.

2. Shared vision - Due to the nature of the demands of student needs and the often limited availability of educators to meet all of those needs, the classroom level team can benefit from establishing many of the protocols of more obvious teams, including a shared vision.  At the heart of every educator is the desire to make a difference in the lives of the children they serve, but in the end the belief alone isn't always enough.  The classroom level team can benefit from defining their shared vision, and stating their intentions with and for each other to create clarity among all team members.

3. Communication - Because of the scarcity of time to meet, an agreed-upon plan for communication throughout the school year is important to consider.  With technology, there are a variety of channels that teams can use to establish a plan and a medium for communication.  It would be unrealistic to expect a classroom level team to meet as often as some of the other MTSS teams due to factors such as time, availability, case load, and other responsibilities.  The classroom level team should establish schedule for when they will meet and hard schedule those times into the calendar, aiming for a minimum of 3-4 face to face meetings through out the year.  

4. Equity and Inclusion - The classroom level team is paramount to universal design for learning and together, the classroom level team is the creator and the driver of an equitable and inclusive universal tier 1.  Each of the members of the team bring tools and expertise that can be utilized to create classrooms where all children learn and grow together.


How to Design a Better Support System for Classrooms



"The educational shift towards inclusion has attempted to counter this attack, by embracing diversity and creating classrooms that are not just geared towards the status quo....Somehow though, this value shift has been left for the teacher’s to carry alone....,"

-Shelley Moore.


Moore, S. (2014). A Composition. Blogsomemore. Retrieved from


Theory into Action



Examine: The first part of moving from theory to action is to conduct an audit, or an exploration phase, of your current and past practices and to develop a vision of what you would like to see happening in the future. Begin by assessing the current state of classroom team practice(s), determine if there is a need to address, identify the potential barriers to that need/challenge, and define a reasonable goal.

Organization: Also known as the installation phase, once your exploration is complete it is time to organize your materials and make an initial plan for addressing the need/challenge.  Sometimes called "personnel mapping," this is this stage where you evaluate all of the available human capital you have that can help you to work toward your vision.  Other resources to organize for the purpose of classroom level teaming are availability of members, time and space, school approved communication methods, and knowledge of how to use these methods of all people on the team, etc.  Organize these materials into a matrix for ease of identifying resources you have, resources you need to acquire, resources you no longer want to use, and even examples of systems other schools are using with success. Keeping your vision in mind and students at the forefront, revisit your goal and formulate an action plan/timeline for moving toward that goal.

Helpful Resources


There are a variety of resources available to assist implementation and school level teams with navigating the implementation phases.  Here are a few to get you started.  If you need further assistance you may want to check out the technical assistance page.  There you will find additional resources, or you can reach out for additional consultation and coaching.

I'd like to learn more information about

Formulating a classroom level teaming structure

Creating a shared vision for classroom level team

Inclusion expert, Shelley Moore, explains the "7-10 split" of education

Downloadable resources (coming soon)

Sample classroom level team protocol

Sample classroom level team timeline and agenda

Sample protocol for resource and personnel mapping

Customization:  Also known as the initial implementation phase, during customization a handful of dedicated individuals begin to implement the new or revised practice with fidelity.  The implementation team will work with the classroom level team to establish a plan for monitoring this initial implementation including collecting data and evidence, observation, survey, and a regular meeting schedule to check and monitor the practice.  This phase continues until the practice is being implemented successfully, and has been refined to ensure that the practice is moving toward the desired vision.

Maintenance:  Also known as the full implementation phase, maintenance is the stage where the practice is introduced to the larger community.  Individuals that have been utilizing the practice during the customization phase act as mentors and cheerleaders to those just beginning the practice.  The practice will be monitored regularly and consistently for fidelity.  If at any point fidelity of the practice falls, or the practice is no longer working, the practice stops, and teams return to a previous phase to reassess and readjust as needed.

1. How does my school currently utilize classroom level teams?
2. Does my school have a universal policy for classroom level teams?
3. What is working well that you would like to see continue regarding classroom level teams?
4. What would the school like to change regarding how classroom level teams are utilized?


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