Supporting Labor-Management Collaboration in California

“This symposium far exceeded my expectations. I now am more committed than ever to developing strong partnerships in my district to improve student achievement. Most importantly, I feel I have information to share with my unit members on ways to begin the journey moving forward, not wallowing in the past.”

The Glen Price Group is pleased to highlight the success of the recent California Labor-Management Initiative Symposium on May 8th and 9th in San Diego. Building on key recommendations from the Blueprint for Great Schools and Greatness by Design, (publications from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) 2011 Transition Advisory Team and 2012 Educator Excellence Task Force), SSPI Tom Torlakson and the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDEF) convened the CA Labor-Management Initiative (CA LMI) in 2013.

The CA LMI seeks to build a collective knowledge base for supporting local labor-management collaborations in California; build capacity and resources at the state, regional, and local levels to support local labor-management collaborations; facilitate learning and sharing of promising labor-management practices among local labor-management teams; and improve a wide range of educational outcomes. To advance the Initiative, CDEF convened a planning and steering committee, made up of representatives from partner organizations and members of the California education community with experience in labor-management collaboration.

Advancing the Labor-Management Initiative

As a major step towards advancing labor-management collaboration in California, SSPI Torlakson invited teams from California school districts to participate in the state’s first Labor-Management Symposium. The Symposium was co-sponsored by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), California Department of Education (CDE), California Federation of Teachers (CFT), California School Boards Association (CSBA), California School Employees Association (CSEA), California Teachers Association (CTA), and the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation (CDEF).

Sponsors of the California Labor-Management Initiative Symposium

Sponsors of the California Labor-Management Initiative Symposium

The Glen Price Group worked with the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation to provide ongoing coordination support, facilitate ongoing planning efforts, and manage symposium registration, logistics, and management. The convening was designed to achieve the following objectives:

  1. Facilitate networking among district teams to foster inter-district learning;
  2. Highlight specific best practices, tools, and strategies used by district partners to build collaboration;
  3. Support collaborative learning and planning for district teams; and
  4. Provide a showcase for collaborative efforts.

Demand for this opportunity was high, with over 100 district teams having applied to attend the Symposium. Due to space and funding constraints, 50 district teams attended the event along with a number of representatives from the co-sponsoring organizations. Each district team was composed of the District Superintendent, a School Board member, the Teachers Union or Association President, and the Classified Employees Union or Association President.

California Labor-Management Initiative Symposium

Welcoming participants to the first ever California Labor Management Symposium at the Handlery Hotel in San Diego

Welcoming participants to the first ever California Labor-Management Symposium at the Handlery Hotel in San Diego

In an effort to reduce the amount of paper used for the Symposium, a mobile-friendly website was created for participants to use throughout the event. The website,, contained the Symposium agenda, detailed information about all Symposium sessions, and links to live polls and a feedback form. Prior to the event participants were encouraged to respond to an online poll indicating what they were most looking forward to about the Symposium. Their responses generated the word cloud below.


Throughout the two days of the Symposium, participants attended plenary sessions, several small-group breakout sessions, a role-alike discussion group, and had unstructured time when they were encouraged to build relationships and spend time talking to their fellow district team members. One participant commented, “You had an impeccable use of time. This conference was incredibly well planned and executed.”

As is GPG’s standard practice, all Symposium participants were asked to complete an evaluation form to provide feedback on their experience and indicate interest in various types of potential additional CA LMI activities. Overall, participants indicated that they had a very positive experience. In initial evaluation results, 95% of participants indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed that the conference was useful and informative and 94% indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed that they would recommend future CA LMI events to their colleagues.

Building on the momentum of the Symposium, the CA LMI hopes to provide additional opportunities for district teams from around the state to participate in the initiative. The Glen Price Group is proud to continue to support this effort. For more information, please visit the CA LMI website, subscribe to the email list, and follow the initiative on Twitter and Facebook.

The GPG Labor-Management Symposium Team with SSPI Torlakson

The GPG Labor-Management Symposium Team with SSPI Torlakson