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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition

Transition Team Development and Facilitation

Tool 3: How to Conduct Interagency Transition Team Meetings

The purpose of Tool 3 is to assist teams to conduct effective team meetings, resolve typical transition issues or barriers, and move from preparations to actions. Tool 3 will begin with a discussion about how to conduct initial meetings, then move on to a section about “Moving from Preparations to Actions.”

Contents of Tool 3

A. Preparing For and Conducting Initial Meetings
How to describe the purpose of the meeting
How to facilitate a well-organized meeting
Setting the ground rules for your meeting
What does a typical agenda look like?

B. Moving from Preparations to Actions
What resources does the team already have?
How to create a strategic action plan

Applying the Nine Principles of Teaming to Tool 3
How to Apply Principles 2 through 9

Worksheets Included in This Tool: Resource Mapping Worksheet

A. Preparing For and Conducting Initial Meetings

How to describe the purpose of the meeting

A first meeting has the potential to set the tone for the entire team for months, and perhaps even years, to come. While many members may desire to broach many different objectives and agendas at a first meeting, most attendees will probably leave with a high level of frustration if they do not find a cohesive, organized meeting that provides some concrete accomplishments.

Team members know they are gathering for a specific goal – in this case, to assist with the transition of youth with disabilities. To ensure everyone has the same objectives, it is often helpful to provide a handout, accessible to all participants, with a written statement of the team’s mission.

Once that is completed, ground rules for the team are helpful. A set of ground rules can begin with the nine Principles of Teaming described earlier. If everyone can agree to conduct team meetings with a similar set of expectations, it will help facilitate the entire process.

Brainstorming issues, within the parameters of the mission, can be very helpful at a first meeting. For example, discussing transition activities and issues that team members are already knowledgeable about might lead to identifying committee agendas, committee members, and initial timelines. Refinement of the vision might also occur.

The question may arise concerning who should conduct the first meeting. We recommend that whoever calls the meeting begin to conduct it, but be prepared to discuss with the group who will conduct future meetings.

How to facilitate a well-organized meeting

The various roles within interagency teams are likely to evolve and/or rotate over specific periods of time. However, at the outset, the team leader or originator should act as facilitator until the team selects one or more members to perform that duty. Thus, once introductions have been made, the initial task of the team leader (or the person calling the meeting) when convening all members for the first time is to clarify role responsibilities, and then determine who will accept the roles of:

  • Facilitator, whose responsibility is to moderate team meetings and processes with objectivity and a depth of knowledge;
  • Recorder, whose responsibility is to take and keep accurate notes of meetings;
  • Time-keeper, whose responsibility is to keep the team to its meeting schedule; and
  • Spokesperson, whose responsibility is to speak effectively on behalf of the team.

Agreeing on the members who will be first in these roles at this earliest stage in your meetings, and rotating these responsibilities over time, is an example of how to apply Principle 3: Sharing the Decision-Making.

Setting the ground rules for your meeting

Establishing ground rules needs to be a team process set at the first interagency team meeting. The following is an example of a modified consensus-building process that may be used until the team agrees upon its own decision-making process.

How to Identify Ground Rules and Operational Procedures
  1. Brainstorm possible ground rules. Team leaders/facilitators should remember that, while brainstorming, judgments and discussion about ideas are suspended. If needed, both judgments and discussion can occur later, but brainstorming is meant to be a spontaneous, non-threatening activity. If the group is large (more than 9 people) break into smaller groups and compile results from each group to develop a large group list. The recorder could use an easel with large sheets of blank paper to post at the end of the meeting. Sample ground rules are: Stay until the end; Use active listening; Keep group notes in a team binder; Acknowledge everyone’s contribution; Be respectful of other people’s points of view; Use a consensus-building decision-making process; Share the responsibilities for maintaining the team; and Start on time. If you cannot be on time, let someone know.
  2. Clarify and cluster ideas. Do this on a large blank paper positioned where everyone can see it.
  3. Select ground rules. If there are many ideas, prioritize them. The following is a quick method to prioritize items: Each person is given a weighted system of one, three, and five points to identify their three favorite ideas. Place five points on the favorite item, three points on the next favorite, and one point on the third favorite. Add the points on each item to see what the group sees as its top priority.

What does a typical agenda look like?

Pre-planning the first interagency team meeting is important for leaders wanting to instill a sense of positive and purposeful collaboration, as well as set the tone for efficiency by ensuring that the meeting starts and ends on time. Below are generic sample agenda items that are appropriate for state or local level interagency teams. Not all items need to be addressed in a single meeting, but all should be addressed early in the team’s schedule of meetings.

Sample Meeting Agenda
  1. Introduction of team members – this may include an activity to get acquainted, establish positive tone, etc. (see Tool 2)—15 minutes;
  2. Purpose of meeting—5 minutes;
  3. Approval of the agenda by team members—5 minutes;
  4. Approval and/or reading of the minutes from previous meeting—15 minutes;
  5. Selection of volunteers to facilitate initial meeting (see Tool 1)—5 minutes;
  6. Presentation on the status of individual(s) in transition and/or the service system(s)—20 minutes;
  7. Statement of achievements/strengths (e.g., educational, vocational, assessment, residential, recreational)— 20 minutes;
  8. Identification of opportunities for growth or needs—20 minutes;
  9. Discussion of desired outcomes for individual(s) in transition and/or the service system—30 minutes;
  10. Listing of current known available resources—15 minutes;
  11. Listing of current known needs—15 minutes;
  12. Development of possible strategies—30 minutes;
  13. Finalization of procedure for follow-up and confirmation assignment of responsibilities—20 minutes;
  14. Closure or summary—15 minutes; and
  15. Scheduling of next meeting date, place, and time (determine who will need to be present)—10 minutes.

B. Moving from Preparations to Actions

What resources does the team already have?

An excellent method to apply Principle 4: Demonstrating Synergy is resource mapping, as it elicits higher-order thinking, creative visioning, and problemsolving. It is valuable for interagency teams to employ resource mapping at various times in their planning sessions, including when the team first convenes, to create its vision and before it devises a strategic action plan. Mapping is a methodology that can be useful to link and align school, community, district, and regional or state resources with organizational goals, strategies, or expected outcomes for teams attempting renewal. Mapping is also a useful activity to inspire newly-created interagency transition teams to begin envisioning potential outcomes based on resources uncovered.

Essential Steps to Resource Mapping
  1. Orient the team to its shared vision, mission statement, and priorities;
  2. Identify all complementary resources (e.g., human, fiscal, or programmatic) from multiple sources that can be aligned to accomplish the vision. Also determine whether existing resources are being used effectively to achieve expected outcomes;
  3. Note any priorities that lack resources and design solutions to fill those gaps; and
  4. Implement an ongoing process that maximizes all relevant resources by employing them in a strategic way to accomplish common goals.

Resource mapping enables interagency teams to build systems that serve individuals with disabilities in transition rather than targeting funds based on criteria and categories. Moreover, resource mapping can help community or state agencies identify a need for additional policy or legislation to fill a gap or enhance an existing program. This methodology can allow team members to acquire valuable information about different agencies’ policies, procedures, funding streams, and collaborative practices. As well, mapping can guide the team in compiling a comprehensive set of policy recommendations across agencies and/or identifying further opportunities for interagency collaboration. A set of worksheets for interagency transition teams to use is provided at the end of this Tool.

Before using these worksheets, teams are also advised to review Principle 5 on valuing diversity. Some suggestions to get the most out of the resource mapping activity that this Principle encourages are:

  • Structure teams so they invite diversity;
  • Encourage the sharing and accepting of differing perspectives; and
  • Ensure that the setting is comfortable for small and large group work (i.e., consider furniture, lighting, fresh air, time of day, needs for providing food, etc.).

How to create a strategic action plan

Most likely, when the interagency transition team convenes for the second meeting a strategic action plan will be developed. This plan should include (a) a schedule of meetings including, perhaps, public ones; (b) what is to be accomplished at each meeting, and (c) how and by whom meetings will be facilitated.

To segue from envisioning the mission statement to formalizing major tasks, the interagency team needs to list its desired outcomes, goals, and wishes. These are what team members want to see happen so the team can move toward realizing its vision or mission. A simple three-step process taking approximately 30 minutes should be sufficient:

  1. Brainstorm a list of areas in which team members would like to see change (quality jobs for all individuals with disabilities, inclusive recreational and leisure activities, natural support systems, etc.);
  2. Clarify and cluster the team’s list; and
  3. Prioritize and select areas for action planning. (See above, How to Identify Ground Rules and Operational Procedures.) At this point, the team is ready to develop an action plan for each desired outcome.
How to Create a Strategic Action Plan
  1. In groups of no more than five, discuss and clarify a desired outcome/goal until everyone has a common understanding and is in agreement. Write it at the top of the action plan worksheet.
  2. Brainstorm activities/strategies that will lead to the outcome. Be creative.
  3. Clarify and cluster activities.
  4. Prioritize and select activities.
  5. Determine resources needed such as people, materials, equipment, money, time, etc.
  6. Determine who will do what by when.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for other desired outcomes.
  8. Group spokesperson(s) report to the team on action plan activities. Include additional ideas, as appropriate, from the entire team.

Some of the common tasks team leaders can anticipate may include:

  1. Developing state-level cooperative agreements;
  2. Implementing agreements within each agency or organization;
  3. Ensuring each team member has responsibility to follow through on a specific task;
  4. Creating a new position specifically to implement transition;
  5. Incorporating transition activities into specific staff duties already assigned;
  6. When an organization or agency has both state and local levels, assigning transition coordination and responsibilities at all levels and linking them;
  7. Agreeing upon meeting schedules;
  8. Submitting a plan to appropriate government agencies; and
  9. Submitting annual reports to appropriate government agencies.

Applying the Principles of Teaming to Tool 3

How to Apply Principles 2-9

While all the Principles can be applied to this Tool, it may be most useful for leaders and their teams to first focus on those Principles mentioned below:

  • Principle 3: A team demonstrates shared decision making.
  • Principle 4: A team demonstrates synergy – the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
  • Principle 5: A team highly regards diversity as a necessary part of creativity and collaboration.

Because this Tool addresses nearly all the activities of an interagency transition team, it also incorporates the nine Principles of Teaming. While Principles three through five are clearly inherent in specific recommendations above, they, along with the other Principles need to be considered in all of the team’s processes. Various approaches can be used to ensure this happens, and team leaders and facilitators should encourage team dialogue to direct just how this occurs. Your team may choose to review the Principles in an ongoing fashion at team meetings, with the team only considering a single Principle at one meeting, then the next Principle at a subsequent meeting, and so on. To avoid having members feel a particular Principle has been chosen because someone feels the group is somehow failing to apply it, teams could agree to review the Principles in the order they are presented in the Introductory Tool. Alternately, teams who prefer a direct problem-solution approach could encourage members to discuss how well the team is applying or exhibiting a specific desired Principle and how changes and/or improvements can be made (e.g., suggestions could be taken anonymously). For a more formal assessment of how well the team is applying the Principles, the worksheet in Tool 4 can be used.

Table of Contents

Cover Page


Background on Interagency Transition Teams

Four Tools for Interagency Transition Teams
Overview/Introductory Tool: Using Teaming Principles to Guide Your Work
Tool 1: How to Build an Effective Interagency Transition Team
Tool 2: How to Determine Initial Roles, Responsibilities, and the Team Vision
Tool 3: How to Conduct Interagency Transition Team Meetings
Tool 4: Knowing if Your Interagency Transition Team is On-Track and Meeting its Goals

Examples of Evidence-Based Models of Interagency Transition Teams


Additional Resources

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Citation: Stodden, R. A., Brown, S. E., Galloway, L. M., Mrazek, S., & Noy, L. (2004). Essential tools: Interagency transition team development and facilitation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.

Permission is granted to duplicate this publication in its entirety or portions thereof. Upon request, this publication will be made available in alternative formats. For additional copies of this publication, or to request an alternate format, please contact: Institute on Community Integration Publications Office, 109 Pattee Hall, 150 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 624-4512, icipub@umn.edu.

This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.