This paper examines Urban Advantage, a thirteen-year partnership in New York City, between eight cultural institutions (botanical gardens among them) and the Department of Education, as a ‘case’ of a long-lasting research practice partnership that has had a positive impact upon both student outcomes and teacher retention. The paper describes its evolution, with a focus on the needs and strengths of all partners. It also explores the tensions that often pose challenges for research-practice partnerships—shifts and changes in the policy context or educational context; the development of a research agenda; and how researchers and school-based colleagues maintain collaborative relationships. Lastly, the paper illustrates how the partners continue to navigate both practical and methodological tensions and challenges as the collaboration extends and deepens its work together.