Academia Role-Play:

Franklin Family Foundation and Westbrook Regional School District


Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind

Twelve-person, two-round negotiation between six foundation board members and six school board and community leaders over efforts to address racial disparities in academic performance; internal negotiations precede external


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.


A recent report has stated that minority groups in the Westbrook Regional School District show a significant disparity in academic performance with regards to their white peers. In response, the Executive Director of the Franklin Family Foundation (a local charitable foundation) and the Superintendent of the District have developed a tutorial program for high school minorities, to be funded be the Foundation. Reaction from the community and the School Board has been mixed. The Foundation Board of Directors and members of the community, headed by members of the school board, are meeting to discuss what should be done to proceed in improving the program. The two groups will first meet separately to determine their collective goals and objectives, and then will meet together to negotiate on the program.



Ideally, all parties should be given their roles at least a day in advance to prepare.

The simulation takes place in 2 parts. The first part involves the community group and the board members meeting separately for 45 minutes. The second part involves the two groups having a joint meeting for 90 minutes.

There should be 3 rooms available. 2 rooms should be set-up for a 6-person meeting and a one room should be set-up for a 12 person meeting.


Time Requirements:

  • At least 30 minutes and preferably 1 day: preparation
  • 45 minutes: separate meetings of the two groups
  • 90 minutes: joint meeting of the two groups
  • At least 45 minutes: debrief
  • Total of at least 210 minutes



  • This negotiation presents the opportunity to discuss creatively and to address a realistic problem facing many public education systems today.
  • The issues, and the participant's stances on those issues, do not divide neatly. Part of the challenge of this negotiation is figuring out what is important to the individual players. Only once that is clear, can the participants begin to craft a creative solution to which the parties can agree.
  • The internal negotiations within each side can quickly dissolve into interpersonal bickering and posturing.
  • Learning how to work together in the face of past disagreements is key to this negotiation. Separating internal or external negotiations properly is the key to consensus building in multi-party negotiations.



This simulation is part of a series in the Council on Foundations.



For all parties:

  • General instructions
  • Profile of Westbrook Regional School District
  • Study titled “bridging the gap” on academic performances of ethnic groups
  • Notes on logistics and objectives
  • Worksheet for preparing for negotiations


Role Specific:

Foundation Board Members –

  • Ellen Rigby Franklin, Chairman of the Board
  • Thomas F. Leighton, Executive Director
  • Stephen J. Franklin, III, Board Member
  • Nancy Franklin Michaels, Ph.D., Board Member
  • Kevin Macloud, Board Member
  • Dr. Suzanne Lowe, Board Member


Community Members –

  • Martin O'Leary, Board President
  • Ruth Simone, Board Member
  • Julia Statner, Superintendent of Schools
  • Kyle Whitberg, President of PTA
  • Lynda Johnson, President of African-American Leaders
  • John Rayburn, President of Westbrook NEA


Teacher’s Package:

  • All of the above
  • Teaching Notes on logistics and major lessons



Foundations; education reform; community consultation, multi-party negotiation; collaborative problem-solving

Franklin Family Foundation and Westbrook Regional School District Attributes

Time required: 2-3 Hours
Number of participants: 12
Teams involved: Yes
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: None
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes