I am privileged to work with a group of schools that coalesce for certain activities. To my knowledge, the Middlesex Consortium, based in central Connecticut, is the only one of its kind. More parents deserve a consortium in their towns
In an era when many public schools are reducing their extra-curricular offerings, Middlesex has expanded its offerings. By funding two administrators, Superintendents in seven Connecticut districts save money on many activities. Moreover, Middlesex students receive activities can’t be had at all when a single school tries to undertake them. Latin, chess, public speaking, and high level computer programming, are middle school activities that typically need 15 or more students to justify a good instructor, and 50 or more students to justify a really strong instructor (who can teach varied sections). Similarly, in high school, Chinese, entrepreneurship, anatomy, geology, economics, SAT prep, and speed reading also require a critical mass that many high schools lack.
College preparation is the activity with which I am most familiar. My firm provides private tutoring and on-campus SAT prep classes. Schools that enlist Ivy Bound save money for their participating students. We can give a top tier course at a reduced price. It’s typically 20 – 30% reduced. With a consortium providing many more students, we can reduce the rate 60 – 70%. The high number of students also means the SAT classes can be split into slower and faster paced classes, and in some cases it allows us to offer weekend and weekday classes. Students have more choices, lower cost, and a more honed learning experience.
SAT Prep is the tip of the extra-curricular iceberg. SAT study is for many students the end of a long learning process. Students who can have myriad activities start their enrichment well beforehand.
To superintendents who want to really make mark on the education world, I suggest starting a consortium. Offer private educators the chance to bid for services; you’ll be impressed at how many replies you will get. My firm for one would come running (we prefer dealing with truly outside-the-box superintendents than entrenched bureaucracies).
Your students will be the main beneficiaries. Fund the consortium at first with volunteers; there are plenty of capable, eager parents who can administer a few appealing class offerings to start. The district can earn money for future administrators by using a portion of the funds parents pay for the classes. Our experience is that 15% – 20% of course fees supports robust administration and marketing.