When the adults in a building or district work together, there are better outcomes for students who attend those schools. This may seem a bit self-evident, but until recently, there was a gap in academic research to back up this collaboration. However, recent research from Rutgers University provides significant proof that the relationships between adults in a school has a direct and important impact on the students in that school’s classrooms. (See: Rubenstein, 2014)

Additionally, burnout and churn are very real threats to public education. Educators leave the profession within the first 5 years of their career at a much higher rate than those in other professions. The number one reason that educators report leaving the classroom is that they do not have a voice in the decisions that impact their students. They feel powerless under the weight of state, federal, and district mandates. Hamstrung by these external forces, they feel that they cannot make a difference for their students. So they leave.

In order to retain high quality educators in public schools and improve student performance, the Education Minnesota Foundation will direct resources to support collaborative work between educators and administration.


The Education Minnesota Foundation will work with districts administration and staff to build positive relationships between staff and management to:

  • Create systems and structures that support collaboration, deepen understanding of stakeholders, and provide honest feedback that can lead to better outcomes for a specific project.
  • Support sustainability of these systems and structures so that there is collaboration that takes place regardless of personalities of specific individuals in leadership.
  • Reach positive outcomes on a shared goal, project or objective.

In this case, how the staff-management group achieves their shared goal will be just as important as achieving it; process weighing equally with product. Our theory of change is that a better process will lead to a better product.


For districts that desire single-day professional development or collaborative opportunities, the Foundation will work directly with stakeholders from staff and management to design these opportunities if they are related to:

  • Racial Equity – FIRE (Facing Inequities in Racism and Education) collaboration
  • Relationship building around TDE or specific building issues


Districts will be charged a $1,000.00 base partnership fee that will be a charitable donation to the Foundation. This fee will get districts:

  • Facilitation at 4 meetings for 1 year-long project, including all of the tools for collaboration to make that project; OR
  • 1 full PD day including all trainers; OR
  • 2 half-day PD sessions including all trainers.

Any additional requests for PD sessions or staff time/facilitation will be charged back to districts at an hourly rate of $120.00 per hour. This rate includes prep and travel time to and from PD sessions or meetings, phone calls, or any other work related to the PD or project.

Staff and management are required to participate in and agree to all PD, collaboration, or goals that are worked on by the Foundation.

Interested? Fill out the Education Minnesota Foundation Collaboration Lab Interest Form.