Children First Intensive Inquiry Team Handbook (NYC DOE, July 2008)

The purpose of this handbook is to introduce members of Inquiry Teams, or anyone interested
in understanding New York City’s Inquiry Teams, to the basic concepts and processes related
to this work. It describes the thinking behind the choice to implement Inquiry Teams as a key
element of New York City’s strategy for school improvement, and it outlines each step of the
process and tools that support the process.
Recognizing the importance and power, as well as the difficulty, of Inquiry Team work, many
team members at schools have asked us for a concrete guide to help them with the work. This
handbook is an effort to respond to this demand. We would like to clarify up front, however,
that while the steps outlined here may appear prescriptive, they are meant as a guide for you
to adapt as needed according to the needs of your team and your school.
Inquiry work is, in essence, about how empowered educators work together. It is about teams
of teachers and administrators taking responsibility for student outcomes, which can look
different in different schools. The goal in all cases is to support and build on each team
member’s professionalism, and to inspire each team’s creative and self-motivated exercise of
responsibility for accelerating student learning.