Freeman-Brown Private School (FBPS), based in Illinois, was founded in 1944 by the Brown and Freeman families. Over the years, the school acquired a reputation as a leading academic institution with an advanced curriculum. Parents described the school as having a highly performing academic environment that provided a rigorous curriculum while fostering a safe, family-oriented atmosphere in a place where community was valued. Not surprisingly, the student population grew and the school opened multiple campuses in the metropolitan area (Bristol, Culpeper, Richmond, Hampton, and Staunton). The Brown and Freeman families eventually sold FBPS to the for-profit, Alabama-based Caudhill International Family of Schools in 2007. The mission of the Caudhill group was to broaden the international focus of FBPS, along with the nine other schools it owned (across the United States, Switzerland, and Mexico). Even under the new ownership, the environment in the various FBPS campuses was still described as achievement-oriented and supportive.
Within a year of Caudhill owning the school, parents noticed a subtle name change. The school, which was previously known as "Freeman-Brown Private School," was now "Freeman-Brown Preparatory School." This name change in itself did not seem to affect the school's image or functioning at an operational level, but it was an early indication of the strategic direction in which the school would be heading.
In 2008, FBPS attempted to enter the high school business at its Culpeper campus, but that initial attempt was not as successful as anticipated. This was probably a contributory factor to the relocation of the high school to a new state-of-the-art campus in Richmond, known as the North Richmond campus.
A high point for FBPS came in 2010 when it launched its International Baccalaureate Programme (IB Programme). Its first IB graduating class was May of 2012. However, that same year FBPS decided to close both the Culpeper and the Hampton campuses. At the time of the Hampton closure, families were informed that low enrollment was the reason behind the closure and that all other campuses would remain open. The economic recession in the United States between 2005 and 2011 led to many organizations going out of business, and the education sector was not exempt (U.S. Department of Labor, 2013).
In addition to the economic recession, private schools in Illinois have faced intense competition from charter schools, which are independently run public schools. Between 2011 and 2013, two top-rated charter schools opened campuses within 5 miles of the Staunton campus. Some FBPS Staunton campus students transferred to those schools.
In 2013, FBPS sent an e-mail to parents in error, informing them that the Staunton campus (pre-K through middle school) would be discontinued. That e-mail was withdrawn on the same day, and shortly afterwards, the head of the school retired. Caudhill appointed Dr. Audrina Murphy as the new head of the school. Dr. Murphy, a well-educated and experienced administrator, worked with "strategic planning experts" to create a niche and a new mission for the school. Dr. Murphy embraced her new role and continuously assured parents that the Staunton campus would remain open. Parents who attended the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) meeting in mid-December 2013 affirmed that she offered assurances at the meeting.
Winter break started on Monday, December 23, 2013, and students were scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. On Monday, January 6, 2014, the Staunton campus principal received information that the campus would close at the end of the semester, and this news was conveyed to faculty and staff at the school. Only two campuses would remain open: the Richmond and North Richmond campuses.
Parents were outraged, students were in disarray, and faculty and administration were in shock. If parents had been informed earlier, it would have been possible for them to try to secure a spot for their children at one of the schools nearby. However, open admissions at the surrounding schools had closed earlier in December. Parents attempted to place their children on waiting lists, but most lists had already filled up, some in excess of 800 students. Additionally, many local schools had already completed their hiring for the following academic year, leaving FBPS faculty and staff limited in employment options.
As it turned out, FBPS was not the only school closing campuses. That period was a difficult time for schools in Illinois in general, with reports from the Center for Education Reform (2011) reporting that between 2010 and 2011 the major reasons schools closure were financial, mismanagement, and district-related issues.
Parents were invited to a meeting on January 8, 2014, to meet with the head of the school and a Caudhill official. Parents invited the media to the meeting, but the media was denied access. At the onset of the meeting, Dr. Murphy took the podium and began by praising the Staunton campus and its community. These statements bothered some of the parents, who demanded to know why the school was closing if it had all the positive attributes just attributed to it.
The meeting grew tense and heated. Parents felt betrayed because of the timing of the closure announcement. Dr. Murphy stated that buses would be provided to shuttle children ages 2-12 to the new locations. However, the closest campus would require a trip of 40-miles (minimum) twice every day. This would not be a viable option for many parents, but the announcement timing left them with few options.
Other parents tried to negotiate with the administration to run the school for one more academic year so families would have enough time to transition their children. Neither the Caudill official nor Dr. Murphy agreed to this proposed solution.
Some parents offered to pay more in terms of tuition, but administration again did not agree to this proposal. Parents asked if the closure was due to financial reasons. Dr. Murphy replied that finances were "not a factor" and the closure was for "demographic reasons."
While Dr. Murphy stated that the reason for the closure of the two campuses was not financial in nature, Moody's analytics reported that the parent company (Caudill) was experiencing some strain. The rating of Moody's analytics is a representation of the analysts' opinion of the creditworthiness of an organization. From August 2012 to 2014, the corporate family rating (CFR) went from B2 to Caa2 indicating a lack of confidence in the financial health of Caudill.
Following the parent meeting in January, some families pulled their children out of FBPS immediately, prior to the completion of the academic year. Those families received no financial reimbursement as parents had signed a contract for the academic year. Other families decided to withdraw from the school at the end of the semester. By June 2014, student population had significantly diminished on the affected campuses.
Some of the students who remained at Staunton planned to transfer to surrounding schools. Few decided to continue at the Richmond and North Richmond campuses. Others registered at Allegiant Academy, a new nonprofit private school opened by parents previously affiliated with Staunton. Kasey Luce, daughter of one of the FBPS founders, came out of retirement to become principal of Allegiant Academy. In addition to her role as principal of the school, Luce was also the president of the nonprofit corporation that owned the school.
Allegiant Academy began with an enrollment of about 100 students (pre-K-8 grade), rising to 120 students by the end of the year. Most of these students were from the Staunton campus population. The school leased a church for its first year to house the school. Parents described Allegiant Academy in positive terms with approximately 90% of families choosing to reenroll for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The board of directors at Freeman-Brown Private School (FBPS) has hired you as part of a consulting team to review the situation and present your findings and recommendations. Write a paper (1,500-1750 words) that discusses the case. Complete this assignment from the perspective of the hired consultants. Respond to the following questions:
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Review how organizations interact with their external environment (as open systems and complex adaptive systems). How effective was Freeman-Brown as an open system at the time of the closure? How effective was Freeman-Brown as a complex adaptive system at the time of the closure?
The external environment of an entity consists of boundaries with a critical effect on the development and sustainability of the organization. The external world involves components in the dynamic adaptive structure of the company and an open network. The open platform gives the corporation an opportunity to express its interests in the development of the organization. A system open comprises boundaries that allow feedback to be shared both internally and externally. Open interface controllers link the company with its internal environment , customer requirements and an external environment. The complex adaptive framework involves the implementation of semi-self-supporting and complex organizational frameworks that enable the interaction between action and awareness. The dynamic adaptive mechanism is able to create fluid and versatile external and internal boundaries for the organization.
In the closing time there were open frontiers and the population of Freeman Brown expanded in many regions to the metropolitan areas. Since the school extends its scope to the Caudill International School Community located in Alabama, the international presence has been broadened. Freeman Brown has given multiple campuses with access to the environmental program and a record of many focused and positive accomplishments.Changing the name of the school had no effect on the school image. It promoted operational levels that show the efficiency of the complex adaptive system. The move has facilitated the link between awareness and behavior, leading to new strategic guidelines.
Review your reading this week on the internal environment of organizations. What is your evaluation of the organizational culture and organizational climate at the time the decision to close two campuses was made?
The organizational culture: It is important for organisations to outline their culture principles in order to differentiate their brand on the market. This means that Freeman Brown School recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of its culture and the impact it has on the fraternity of the school. It is essential for the government to define the standards required to enhance the culture of the school. It is important to evaluate the behaviors of the company and determine how these attitudes and behaviour.
Culture is characterized as a social narcotic, by which all its participants are subject to this if it is enforced successfully; people are happy to belong to a particular culture. This means both teachers and students are united and helped to shape one another with a strong school culture. In terms of history, Freeman's Brown School will decide whether or not they can regulate their society.
The organizational climate: Freeman-Brown Private School has postponed lessons and games because of adverse weather, such as winter. Poor weather adversely impacts the activities of students. In heavy snow, for example , school bus routes may be diverted to discourage children from arriving in school on time. The weather may also have a negative impact on students waiting for a school bus at the bus stop and also cause them to develop a cold-related disease. It is therefore best to nominate the class of people at school as extreme weather coordinators. The person designating this position should be a weather-conscious school administrator. The role is to establish a work plan for schools.
What is your evaluation of the decision made by Dr. Murphy and Caudill? What is your evaluation of the process of going about the closure?
I was shocked by the decision of Dr. Murphy and Caudill to give up school for a year. They refused to contact parents and allow them time to consider other schools to which they could apply. It surprises me that they had sufficient resources to run the school another year, but they did not. The parents were willing to pay extra for school tuition fees, but it was rejected by the school authorities. At least one academic year should have been announced by Freeman Brown Private School to parents to find further solutions.
Was FBPS demonstrating social responsibility? Discuss the closure impact on three specific stakeholders.
The study indicates that Freeman-Brown did not reflect any social obligation. The school's closure was devastating for the teachers, parents and pupils themselves. The closing of the campus burdened the students, as they had to drive every day a 40 miles coach to school. The students will also return to their homes tired and just do their work. The parents have not been reimbursed financially. When the school was closed, the employees who worked with the school were decreased, and their income was terminated.
Provide an explanation, using appropriate management theories, for how the administration could have handled the closure effectively with stakeholders? Include one theory from each of the following: the classical approach, the human relations approach, and the modern management approach.
Freeman Brown Private School dealt unorderly, deceptive and unprofessional with the closing of the school. The school did not provide the parents with ample notice to enroll their children in other schools. The traditional solution is that the school should have told them in advance so they can brace themselves. The approach to human relations could be implemented by promoting the school and by increasing the number of parents enrolled in the school. This will, in turn , increase childcare support. The new management approach requires a partnership approach. This ensures that the school will satisfy the parents and find the right solutions to address the financial issue.
You have been asked to suggest two goals: one long-term and one short-term goal for the future direction of FBPS. Justify your decision.
An example of how the Freeman-Brown Private School wants to accomplish a short-term objective wants to better connect with the community. They must ensure that all students are enrolled before their closure at a school of the same standard as their own. They can do it with alternative choices for their parents. The long-term target of the school would include requirements for successful touch use. In order to prevent potential school issues, contact would improve.
Present a concluding statement that integrates the 4 functions of management as a means to revamp management at FBPS and meets the recommended goals.
This is an analysis of the internal and external environment of Freeman-Brown Private School. It also concentrates on the detection of directives in the workplace. The statement incorporates the 4 management roles as a way of enhancement of FBPS management, which follows the suggested objectives: The study would also help suggest approaches that can be introduced to support the future of the learning environment.
Regarding the elements and work carried out by the Freeman-Brown Private School, the internal framework is specifically defined to rely on resources whose main purpose is to improve constructive teaching practices and teacher learning objectives. The day-to-day events in the school such as winter and heavy rain often influence environmental factors such as the climate. The school should control its teaching strategies properly, thereby helping to better manage school during climate calamities. Another long-term objective is to incorporate higher rates and school courses to boost school earnings.
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