Characteristics of Effective School Teams

Since the inception of our project in 2003, we have learned a lot about what makes an effective school team and the general progression that teams go through as they create changes to reduce student stress and increase health and engagement at their school sites. While the change process varies from school to school based on the unique circumstances and needs of each, we share below some characteristics of effective Challenge Success teams and the stages most teams go through as they create change.

An effective Challenge Success school team:

  • Is composed of 8-10 school community members representing a diversity of perspectives, including:
    • A Team Leader to spearhead the work, facilitate meetings, and liaise with Challenge Success staff
    • Administrators to provide have a system-level view of the school
    • Teachers to represent the diverse perspectives of the faculty
    • Parents to offer an understanding of the lives and needs of students outside of school
    • Students to serve as experts on the student experience 
  • Attends the Challenge Success Fall and Spring Conferences.
  • Develops an action plan that reflects a vision for change and that contains a clear but flexible schedule for moving forward.
  • Regularly gathers information from and disseminates information to the school community about student health, engagement, and integrity, and encourages cross-stakeholder dialogue about this information.
  • Holds meetings at least monthly to review and push forward the action plan.
  • Involves all stakeholders at each stage of the change process.
  • Pilots discrete, incremental changes rather than trying to do too much all at once. Changes are based on the school community’s needs and are driven by research-based best practices known  to improve student engagement, well-being and/or academic integrity.
  • Evaluates results of incremental changes before deciding to institutionalize reforms.

View our SPACE framework for sample policies and practices.