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Greenfield Dream Teams serve two purposes: In the short term they provide students with a network of support to fuel their academic growth and personal motivation, and in the long term they help students develop the self-awareness and confidence necessary to establish a similar support network in the future. Dream Teams are composed of peers, immediate family, a school-based “Goal Coach,” and other key influencers from a student’s life such as friends, mentors, or religious leaders. These teams convene three times each year to reflect on progress toward academic and personal goals and plan ways to achieve them during the upcoming trimester. Ultimately, Dream Teams ensure that every child has a network of support rallying around them as they pursue their goals and dreams.

Greenfield Dream Teams are implemented across several Achievement First schools. An extensive toolkit is available to support schools who wish to adopt the practice.

  • Integrated Identity
  • Positive Mindsets
  • Relationship Skills
  • Learning Strategies & Habits
  • Goal Setting and Reflection
  • Family Engagement & Support
  • Resource Toolkit

What Makes this Model Innovative?

Active Self-Direction
Greenfield Dream Teams position students as leaders of their own learning. Students nominate key influencers to join their team and take the lead in facilitating conferences where they reflect on their strengths, areas of growth, and progress toward academic and personal goals.
Connection & Community
Greenfield Dream Teams are assembled to ensure that every child and family has a network of support both within and outside of school. Additionally, Dream Teams ensure that schools get to know every child’s biggest hopes, dreams, and strengths
Affirmation of Self & Others
Dream Teams support children to develop a strong sense of purpose by building their skill around setting and working toward short- and long-term goals. They also learn how to assemble and leverage a team to rally around them, fostering their self-advocacy, self-awareness, confidence, and belonging.

Goals

Greenfield Dream Teams are assembled to support students as they work toward academic and personal goals while also helping them develop self-awareness around the type of support they need to thrive in new contexts. Dream Team Benefits

 

Academic Independence

Students develop self-awareness around what matters to them and the type of support they need to reach their goals. Students also develop the confidence to advocate for this support from their community.

Academic Preparation

Dream Teams foster students’ goal orientation, self reflection, and motivation as they learn to set and reflect on goals driving their academic performance. They also develop their level of comfort when public speaking by facilitating three goal-setting conferences each year.

Personal Why

Dream Teams support students in developing a sense of purpose grounded in both academic and personal growth related to areas of passion.

Social-Emotional Strength

Dream Teams support students in developing greater self-awareness while fostering their ability to navigate group dynamics as they learn how to leverage relationships from home and build new ones that will help them thrive in new contexts.

Experience

Dream Teams convene at the end of each trimester, bringing together the “all-star players” in students’ lives to support their academic and personal success by reflecting on their progress and planning next steps to achieve their goals.

First, Dream Teams are introduced to students and staff. Student Hype PPT Launch PD: Excellence Then, students nominate key influencers to join their Dream Teams, including family, friends, religious leaders, coaches, mentors, and more. Nomination Form Goal Coaches—also known as Dream Team Facilitators—reach out to nominees to invite them to join.

Goal Coaches work with students to help them prepare to facilitate their Dream Team conference each trimester. Preparations include:

* Note that this protocol assumes that rehearsal will take place during a Goal Team meeting, which is another support structure used in the comprehensive Greenfield School Design to provide ongoing support to students between Dream Team meetings. Greenfield School Design Schools that implement Dream Teams without Goal Teams should find a separate time for rehearsals. See more about Greenfield Goal Teams

Dream Teams follow a standard agenda. Agenda During the ~30-minute conference, the student welcomes their Dream Team before delivering an engaging presentation about their celebrations and progress toward academic and personal goals. Then, the student’s Dream Team supports them to set clear and meaningful goals for the upcoming trimester before summarizing any key next steps and closing out the conference on a positive note.

Supporting Structures

Despite being one of several key elements of the Achievement First Greenfield School Design Model, Dream Teams can be implemented as a standalone practice. Schools interested in implementing Dream Teams may wish to pilot them with one classroom or grade level before scaling the practice to include the entire school.

Dream Teams do not require changes to curriculum, instruction, or assessment, but they do require that learning objectives and progress are transparent to student and students learn how to prepare for Dream Teams.

Schools should plan to carve out time for Goal Coaches to help students prepare to facilitate Dream Teams. Preparation involves the following components:

Goal Coaches and students can refer to the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) for Dream Teams as a roadmap for understanding markers of excellence for each part of the meeting. Fundamentals of Instruction

Students can self-assess their Dream Team presentation using a reflection rubric. Presentation Rubric (3-6) Presentation Rubric (K-2)

Dream Teams should feel celebratory, energizing, and informative to all participants.

Existing school and community norms should apply during Dream Teams. Additionally, Dream Teams should be events that students, staff, and families look forward to and plan for at regular intervals during the year.

During Dream Teams, schools should prioritize creating a warm and welcoming environment that affirms parents, families, and Dream Team members as partners. Examples include decorating Dream Team meeting areas with balloons, playing upbeat music, displaying welcome signage, and more.

To run well, Dream Teams require Goal Coaches, an Operations Leader, and an Overall Leader to manage the project.

Each of these three roles is described in more detail below. Roles

Goal Coach: Each student needs at least one staff member to serve as their Goal Coach (also known as a Dream Team Facilitator), supports them to plan and lead three successful Dream Teams, and follow up with them about their progress toward goals between meetings. This typically requires a ratio of 1 adult per 10–12 students. A Goal Coach can be any adult in the school, including teachers, coaches, leaders, or parents who work in the building. For schools also facilitating Goal Teams, Goal Coaches might facilitate Dream Teams for every student on their team. See more about Greenfield Goal Teams

Operations Leader: The Operations Leader is responsible for carrying out the extensive logistics required for Dream Teams. The tasks they manage range from project planning and family communication to managing operations on the days when Dream Teams are held. Project Planning Template

Overall Leader: The Overall Leader manages the process of running Dream Teams. In some instances, the Operations Leader may carry out this role too. In other cases, an academic, culture, or general school leader might act as Overall Leader, guiding Dream Team members toward an inspiring vision of the event while also ensuring that operations run smoothly.

Dream Teams require four tiers of careful scheduling to ensure adequate time is allocated for both planning and execution.

1. Scheduling Dream Teams Across the Year: Dream Teams should be scheduled at three points over the course of the year to allow time for the following:

  • Launch: At the start of the year, there should be enough time to finalize Dream Team members and schedule Dream Team events.
  • Rounds: Dream Teams should be evenly spaced across the year to provide consistent time for students to achieve their goals.
  • Close-Out: The final round of Dream Teams should be close enough to the end of the year to serve as a celebratory look-back on the progress made that year.

2. Scheduling Each Round of Dream Teams: Schools must schedule enough Dream Team windows to ensure that all families are able to attend, which may involve holding them during the evening or on days when students are released early from school.

3. Scheduling In-School Student Dream Team Prep: Before each round of Dream Teams, students need time to plan and rehearse with their Goal Coach. In the Greenfield model, this typically involves 4–5 sessions of 30–40 minutes each.

4. Scheduling Each Dream Team Night/Event: Dream Team events require clear plans and schedules so school staff, students, and families know what to expect, including where to go and when. Day of Plan Template

Dream Teams require partnerships with families, friends, teachers, and other influencers to rally in support of individual students.

With support from their Goal Coach, students nominate influential people from their lives to join their Dream Team. As such, Dream Teams can serve as central hubs driving strong community partnerships.

Some schools also create a Dream Team council or leverage their PTA to support planning for Dream Teams. Council Guidance

Dream Team requires ample space and a welcoming environment that affirms all Dream Team members as partners.

To maximize space, some schools hold Dream Teams in all available rooms, including the gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria. Some schools even run two Dream Teams simultaneously on opposite sides of a single classroom.

Dream Teams should be designed to feel special and can include music, supportive signage, directional signage, and celebratory decor such as balloons, photo backdrops, and more. Look and Feel

Students require access to technology that will enable them to deliver a strong presentation.

Dream Team presentations utilize LCD projectors, smart boards, or TV screens on which to project PowerPoint presentations, as well as computers for each concurrent group.

Dream Teams do not require a significant budget beyond decorations to make the event look and feel special.

While Dream Teams do not require a significant budget to run, schools may choose to purchase special decorations or food to enhance the experience for students and families. The size and scope of this budget will vary based on the desires and financial capacity of each school. 

Schools should share regular updates related to Dream Teams with families, including those related to logistics, celebrations, and student progress.

Communication related to Dream Teams usually takes several forms, some related to planning in advance of the events, and some after the event.

  • Pre-Dream Team: 
    • Calendar: Dream Teams are scheduled ahead of time and are included on the school calendar.
    • Launch: Family members who are nominated to join a Dream Team receive an invitation as well as communication that sets expectations for what it means to be part of a Dream Team.
    • Logistics & Scheduling: Families receive communication leading up to Dream Teams about how, when, and where to sign up to attend.
  • Post-Dream Team:
    • Follow-Up: Following Dream Teams, members receive updates from the school on their student’s progress toward goals as well as shoutouts from Goal Coaches spotlighting student growth.

Schools should observe and coach Goal Coaches, prioritizing those who require the most support.

Schools teams must determine how formally or informally to observe and coach Dream Teams based on their unique needs. It is recommended that leaders observe every Goal Coach once at the start of Dream Teams to provide feedback; leaders can then prioritize subsequent observations based on which Goal Coaches require the most support. Alternatively, leaders might choose to observe only new Goal Coaches from the start or to observe and record expert facilitators in order to share exemplar videos with teachers who would benefit from seeing strong models.

Schools might consider using a Dream Team observation tool: Observation Tool

Dream Teams do not require changes to curriculum, instruction, or assessment, but they do require that learning objectives and progress are transparent to student and students learn how to prepare for Dream Teams.

Schools should plan to carve out time for Goal Coaches to help students prepare to facilitate Dream Teams. Preparation involves the following components:

Goal Coaches and students can refer to the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) for Dream Teams as a roadmap for understanding markers of excellence for each part of the meeting. Fundamentals of Instruction

Students can self-assess their Dream Team presentation using a reflection rubric. Presentation Rubric (3-6) Presentation Rubric (K-2)

Dream Teams should feel celebratory, energizing, and informative to all participants.

Existing school and community norms should apply during Dream Teams. Additionally, Dream Teams should be events that students, staff, and families look forward to and plan for at regular intervals during the year.

During Dream Teams, schools should prioritize creating a warm and welcoming environment that affirms parents, families, and Dream Team members as partners. Examples include decorating Dream Team meeting areas with balloons, playing upbeat music, displaying welcome signage, and more.

To run well, Dream Teams require Goal Coaches, an Operations Leader, and an Overall Leader to manage the project.

Each of these three roles is described in more detail below. Roles

Goal Coach: Each student needs at least one staff member to serve as their Goal Coach (also known as a Dream Team Facilitator), supports them to plan and lead three successful Dream Teams, and follow up with them about their progress toward goals between meetings. This typically requires a ratio of 1 adult per 10–12 students. A Goal Coach can be any adult in the school, including teachers, coaches, leaders, or parents who work in the building. For schools also facilitating Goal Teams, Goal Coaches might facilitate Dream Teams for every student on their team. See more about Greenfield Goal Teams

Operations Leader: The Operations Leader is responsible for carrying out the extensive logistics required for Dream Teams. The tasks they manage range from project planning and family communication to managing operations on the days when Dream Teams are held. Project Planning Template

Overall Leader: The Overall Leader manages the process of running Dream Teams. In some instances, the Operations Leader may carry out this role too. In other cases, an academic, culture, or general school leader might act as Overall Leader, guiding Dream Team members toward an inspiring vision of the event while also ensuring that operations run smoothly.

Dream Teams require four tiers of careful scheduling to ensure adequate time is allocated for both planning and execution.

1. Scheduling Dream Teams Across the Year: Dream Teams should be scheduled at three points over the course of the year to allow time for the following:

  • Launch: At the start of the year, there should be enough time to finalize Dream Team members and schedule Dream Team events.
  • Rounds: Dream Teams should be evenly spaced across the year to provide consistent time for students to achieve their goals.
  • Close-Out: The final round of Dream Teams should be close enough to the end of the year to serve as a celebratory look-back on the progress made that year.

2. Scheduling Each Round of Dream Teams: Schools must schedule enough Dream Team windows to ensure that all families are able to attend, which may involve holding them during the evening or on days when students are released early from school.

3. Scheduling In-School Student Dream Team Prep: Before each round of Dream Teams, students need time to plan and rehearse with their Goal Coach. In the Greenfield model, this typically involves 4–5 sessions of 30–40 minutes each.

4. Scheduling Each Dream Team Night/Event: Dream Team events require clear plans and schedules so school staff, students, and families know what to expect, including where to go and when. Day of Plan Template

Dream Teams require partnerships with families, friends, teachers, and other influencers to rally in support of individual students.

With support from their Goal Coach, students nominate influential people from their lives to join their Dream Team. As such, Dream Teams can serve as central hubs driving strong community partnerships.

Some schools also create a Dream Team council or leverage their PTA to support planning for Dream Teams. Council Guidance

Dream Team requires ample space and a welcoming environment that affirms all Dream Team members as partners.

To maximize space, some schools hold Dream Teams in all available rooms, including the gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria. Some schools even run two Dream Teams simultaneously on opposite sides of a single classroom.

Dream Teams should be designed to feel special and can include music, supportive signage, directional signage, and celebratory decor such as balloons, photo backdrops, and more. Look and Feel

Students require access to technology that will enable them to deliver a strong presentation.

Dream Team presentations utilize LCD projectors, smart boards, or TV screens on which to project PowerPoint presentations, as well as computers for each concurrent group.

Dream Teams do not require a significant budget beyond decorations to make the event look and feel special.

While Dream Teams do not require a significant budget to run, schools may choose to purchase special decorations or food to enhance the experience for students and families. The size and scope of this budget will vary based on the desires and financial capacity of each school. 

Schools should share regular updates related to Dream Teams with families, including those related to logistics, celebrations, and student progress.

Communication related to Dream Teams usually takes several forms, some related to planning in advance of the events, and some after the event.

  • Pre-Dream Team: 
    • Calendar: Dream Teams are scheduled ahead of time and are included on the school calendar.
    • Launch: Family members who are nominated to join a Dream Team receive an invitation as well as communication that sets expectations for what it means to be part of a Dream Team.
    • Logistics & Scheduling: Families receive communication leading up to Dream Teams about how, when, and where to sign up to attend.
  • Post-Dream Team:
    • Follow-Up: Following Dream Teams, members receive updates from the school on their student’s progress toward goals as well as shoutouts from Goal Coaches spotlighting student growth.

Schools should observe and coach Goal Coaches, prioritizing those who require the most support.

Schools teams must determine how formally or informally to observe and coach Dream Teams based on their unique needs. It is recommended that leaders observe every Goal Coach once at the start of Dream Teams to provide feedback; leaders can then prioritize subsequent observations based on which Goal Coaches require the most support. Alternatively, leaders might choose to observe only new Goal Coaches from the start or to observe and record expert facilitators in order to share exemplar videos with teachers who would benefit from seeing strong models.

Schools might consider using a Dream Team observation tool: Observation Tool

Supports Offered

Transcend supported the design and early implementation of Greenfield Dream Teams and created a toolkit where users can access various resources to pilot, adopt, and adapt the model.

Greenfield Resource Toolkit
Free

This toolkit contains a comprehensive set of resources to support the rollout and implementation of Greenfield Dream Teams, including: planning materials and templates, goal-setting and reflection materials, facilitator training materials, operations materials, sample schedules, observation tools, and so much more.

You can also find information on other parts of the comprehensive Greenfield School Design, including Greenfield Expeditions and Goal Teams.

Reach

41
Schools
15000
Students
75%
Free or Reduced Lunch
97%
Black & Latinx

Impact

Dream Teams are used across many schools in the Achievement First Network alongside a suite of other practices that together lead to dramatic impact on student achievement. Below are just a few examples of the excellence achieved by students in Achievement First schools.

  • Since Connecticut began Common Core-aligned assessments in 2015, Achievement First students have improved their proficiency by 21% points in math and by 15% points in ELA.
  • Achievement First high schools are among the best in the state of Connecticut. U.S. News & World Report ranked Achievement First Hartford High #3 and Achievement First Amistad High #12.
  • Achievement First Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York, was named a 2019 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. It is a prestigious award granted to schools showing overall academic excellence or excellent progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.
  • Achievement First students in Rhode Island far outperformed their in-state peers and scored 5% higher in ELA and math than students in Massachusetts, which is widely considered to have the best schools in the United States.

Contact

Saya Taniguchi
Transcend, Partner