Paula Evans and the Redesign of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Background & Summary

Cambridge Ridge and Latin School’s current system of allowing children to be enrolled into either of the newly formed schools via a random selection process had been rejected by the School Committee. A system which had been introduced to increase collaboration and decrease competition is not being accepted well by parents who wanted their children to be part of a particular school. The random selection process had basically affected the parents’ involvement in selecting their children’s school.

Evan’s threat to resign if the random selection process was not approved had brought matters to a serious note. Now she has to take action in terms of either getting the system reinstated into CRLS or give up on her plan of bringing about the much needed change.

The decision to divide the school into four small schools had been taken in order to implement consistency of moral values amongst the children. In addition to this it was to make it easier to manage attendance and increase collaboration which had become challenging issues in a large school.

Creating a diverse culture in schools was needed for fostering better learning especially as there was evidence that a blend of cultural and economic backgrounds could lead to better learning.

Evan’s involvement has been the push that was needed for bringing about a change in the traditional one school system that had been there in CRLS for years. Being action orientated she was not someone who would introduce another process that could take years to be implemented. Changes also had to be made in the leadership time so that a greater focus could be placed on educational planning rather than managerial issues.

Although Evan could not hire her own team, a process of redesigning was initiated using the human resources who were already familiar with the dynamics and culture of the organization. This meant that the current faculty was formally and informally involved in creating draft for redesigning the school system.

Issues like lack of accountability became evident after a deeper analysis of the system which was further affecting the morale of faculty that was trying to be accountable. Evans involvement and resolve to resolve issues was leading to opposition from faculty members.

Negotiations with the union had also failed after a particular misunderstanding over school plans that eventually led to the involvement of an outside mediator to resolve the issue. There were mixed responses from teachers with some of them actively supportive while others hiding behind union representatives to show their distrust for Evan.

The overall response from parents, teachers and the general public was supportive although some parents wanted her to go slower while others perceived her to be oblivious to the prevalent culture of the community. However,her intensions were not viewed negatively.

Segregation had not just been observed in classroom but also outside them in terms of how people interacted with one another. She was able to get 900 signatures in favor of the new proposed design although explain the rationale behind the redesign process had taken several meetings and debates.

Paula Evans and the Redesign Case Solution

Finally, a detailed plan was presented to the School Committee which presented a united front despite initial disagreements about the design. This included the creation of five schools, changes in ninth grade assignment criteria, replacement of administration system, and early retirement incentive for teachers and impact bargaining process as per requirements. The School Committee rewrote the recommendation and Evans had to compromise on three of her initial demands including limited cross registration, restricting the regrouping to grade nine and ten for now and inclusion of the word ‘choice’ in the revised plan. The inclusion of ‘choice’ would mean that the whole process of creating collaboration and unity would not be effective since student and parents would again be using their respective ‘choices’ to select the school for studies.

Diagnosis

As per thediagnosis of the current situation several issues have been identified which can be explained and dealt with using the Competing Values Framework (Kim Cameron).  Evan wants to create a system of collaboration and diversity and wants to build an organization that works the right way. This makes her a collaborative leader as per the framework. An analysis of issues shows challenges in the actual implementation process such as factors like the resistance from teachers and the absence of an actual team. Issues like complaints from teachers and students who could not get their first choices in courses emerged have also been identified........................

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