Labor Management Collaboration

 

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The Massachusetts Education Partnership (MEP) works to improve student learning and success through collaborative labor-management-community relations in school districts. Since its founding, the MEP has directly engaged 131 school districts, almost half of all public school districts in the Commonwealth, as well as numerous regional and national partners. The MEP supports district labor-management teams that include superintendents, union presidents, and school committee members as they collaborate to:

  • Advance student achievement and success;

  • Increase teacher engagement and leadership in school and district governance; and

  • Develop and sustain more effective policies, structures and practices.

The MEP was established in 2012 by the American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, Massachusetts Association of School Committees, along with the Rennie Center and representatives from three of the Commonwealth’s most prominent research institutions: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also sits on the governing board as a non-voting member. The Rennie Center is the managing partner and fiscal agent for the MEP. Contact MEP>

Services for Districts

The MEP offers various services and programs to foster improved labor-management relationships between school committees, districts, and teachers union leaders with a focus on improving student achievement and post-secondary success. Any leader in a public school district is welcome to inquire about the program offerings available through the MEP. Our MEP facilitators are current or former district leaders, mediators, and labor representatives who are experts in labor-management collaboration focused on helping districts identify actionable solutions through a collaborative process. A variety of options are available to district leaders and teams:

The Interest-Based Bargaining Institute: The Interest-Based Bargaining Institute (IBBI) offers training and facilitation to school districts wishing to transform the way they engage in collective bargaining. We focus on helping local leaders identify shared goals and interests and effective strategies for achieving them, while avoiding the pitfalls of more adversarial, position-based negotiations. The Institute works directly with district negotiating teams representing both labor and management. IBBI participants receive a one-day training (eight hours) with exercises and bargaining simulations to improve understanding of interest-based processes. After the training, participants caucus as separate labor and management teams and decide whether to adopt interest-based bargaining for their upcoming negotiations. If the parties mutually agree to proceed, the IBBI provides an additional day of facilitation. Apply Now

The District Capacity Project: The District Capacity Project (DCP) supports local school districts in building their own capacity to design and drive innovative reform strategies aimed at improving teaching and learning. DCP teams, representing labor, management and community leaders, work together to identify strategies in order to effectively implement reforms using our change management framework.  An MEP Facilitator will help your team: co-design and implement initiatives to advance student learning and success; increase teacher engagement in leadership of school and district innovation efforts; improve problem solving, decision making, and fidelity of implementation; and develop skills, structures, and policies that can sustain collaborative practice over time.

Joint Leadership Workshop: Offered by an MEP facilitator/trainer, these workshops are designed to build respect, trust, and the skills necessary to increase district and union leadership team effectiveness. Current offerings include: Interest-Based Teaming for Student Achievement, Building Strong Cultures to Lead and Sustain Reform, Collaborative Problem-Solving in Action, Building Effective School-Community Collaborations, Having Difficult Conversations, and Creating a Culture of Dialogue. Workshops guide individuals or teams through the different aspects of the process of labor-management collaboration at the district level, and providing tools and resources for future work.

Joint Labor and Management Strategic Planning: The MEP has substantial experience working with local leaders to promote meaningful discussion among stakeholders, develop workable plans that enjoy broad support, and ensure effective implementation of sustainable reforms. Working with an MEP Facilitator will help teams collaboratively design and execute a strategic planning process that has a clear district vision, measurable goals and an achievable action plan.

Getting Started

If you are interested in any of our programs, please contact LaVonia Montoute. The MEP will send a representative to meet with team members to learn about their interests and aspirations, provide information about current projects and available services, and help the team to consider possible next steps. There is no cost for this initial meeting. For work to move forward, all key leaders—the superintendent, the president of the teachers union, and the chair or vice chair of the school committee—must agree to take part in the selected program.