At a special workshop May 14, the Gadsden County School Board voted to enter into a provisional contract with an educational consulting agency it may have to allow to be Gadsden County High School’s external operator next school year.
Gadsden County School Superintendent Roger Milton said that as part of Gadsden County’s High School Turnaround Plan this past year, the district signed a contract last summer with The Rensselaerville Institute for that agency to be an educational consultant to the school.
The Rensselaerville Institute is an educational consulting agency and external operator of schools located in Delmar, N.Y. Gadsden County High School had been designated a low-performing school by the state of Florida for this 2017-18 school year due to numerous previous failing state assessments.
Milton said the Gadsden County School Board has been pleased with the work of The Rensselaerville Institute so far this year and wants to continue its relationship with the agency in any case. Should Gadsden County High School get a “C” rating or above when the school assessments come out in July, The Rensselaerville Institute will remain a consulting agency to the school.
However, if Gadsden County High gets a rating below a “C” in July, the district will have to begin using The Rensselaerville Institute as the external operator of the school rather than merely a consulting agency.
“There are a plethora of educational consultants that help turn around schools and/or work as external operators,” Milton said. “We were impressed with the Rensselaerville Institute and have continued to appreciate their work with us here in Gadsden County.”“That’s why we have agreed to a provisional contract to use them as the external operator of Gadsden County High School should we have to go that route when the school ratings come out in July,” Milton continued.
Gillian Williams, president of The Rensselaerville Institute, said her nonprofit organization is very picky about the schools and school districts it chooses to work with. “We want to make sure we can be successful in all the partnerships we take on,” Williams said. “We hope, of course, that Gadsden County High School makes it off the state list of failing schools, but we are prepared to step in with more resources if it doesn’t.”
“We’ve learned about the school that there are a lot of people working hard to put in a lot of effort to help students, but they perhaps need a little more guidance in how to work smarter to get the job done,” Williams said. “We have a good track record of helping schools like this in similar situations.”
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