How can we make student success a team sport in our schools and communities? All students need to be known, appreciated and supported to assure success.

Problem-solving teams. Child study teams. Family academic support teams. Student success teams. As school districts increasingly adopt more holistic practices for student support including Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) there’s a recognition that providing effective support for kids is a team effort — regardless of the terminology used. Teachers, counselors, and administrators gather to review key performance indicators and determine whether students can benefit from additional supports.

These team meetings are a great way to give visibility to student issues and to benefit from the wisdom of the team in developing strategies that keep more kids on a path to success. But these meetings come at a cost. They’re challenging to schedule. They they take lots of time, which is already scarce. When they happen during the school day, they often cause teachers to miss classes, requiring schools to hire substitute teachers which disrupts the classroom routine and strains already tight budgets. The action plans that come out of these meetings can be difficult to track.

In part because of such challenges, these team meetings can generally look at only a minority of students each year — limiting their scope and benefits to a small group of kids.

With a new generation of data systems that go beyond dashboards to incorporate features for acting on team decisions and collaborating between meetings, it’s possible to reach more kids and to do so more effectively. At Intellispark, we’re working to make it easier to establish and empower a “digital” care team for each kid that extends both throughout and beyond the school so that all kids can know what it feels like to have a powerful team of advisors looking out for them every day.

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Stephen M. Smith is CEO of Intellispark, chair of the national board at College Possible, and a member of the Johnson Advisory Council at the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University. Steve is co-author of Who Do You Think You Are: Three Critical Conversations for Coaching Teens to College & Career Success, published by John Wiley & Sons.