Education Negotiation 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

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SCENARIO:

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.

 

MECHANICS:

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

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • 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.

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

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

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

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

 

KEYWORDS:

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
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 are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

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

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (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 http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (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, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as 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. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish 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 “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; 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 “Participant Copies.” 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.