Consulting firm to focus on improving student performance at high school

Published on Monday, 5 February 2018 22:36
Written by Skyler Frazer


NEW BRITAIN - The Board of Education on Monday heard from an educational consulting company that will be looking at ways to improve student performance at New Britain High School.

School by Design, a Massachusetts-based education management company, will collect, compile and analyze data and make recommendations on how to maximize the high school’s resources.

This comes months after NBHS was accepted into the state’s Commissioner’s Network, a state’s Department of Education program for low-performing districts. Through the network, NBHS will receive additional funds and consulting services.

“The state is really watching what’s happening in New Britain. They have a lot of faith in what’s going on, not just with the high school … but also the district,” said Leslie Carson, an education consultant with the state Department of Education.

Carson said that, when state officials audited NBHS before accepting it into the network, they looked at how resources were being used and how they could be better used to increase performance. That’s where School by Design comes in.

“We design the schools that you need with the resources you have,” said Jennifer Frentress of School by Design.

School by Design collects data related to many facets of the school - including attendance and enrollment data - then puts them together in a report, Frentress said. The report breaks down the school’s resources and how they are used.

“We analyze it through three sets of ‘goggles.’ One of those is optimizing teaching and learning and how those resources are enabling or putting up barriers to teaching and learning. We look at it through efficiency and we look at it through equity and access. Then we help you investigate other ways you might have used those resources,” Frentress said.

Frentress said she has worked with the Bridgeport and Stratford school districts and many others nationwide.

“In all, our job’s about trying to make the job of the district leaders easier. We always emphasize creating better conditions for teaching and learning,” Frentress said.

While the work School by Design is doing this year focuses on NBHS, School Superintendent Nancy Sarra said she’d like to expand the process to other grade levels in hopes of increasing resource efficiency in the district.

“New Britain has to do something transformational. … We need to do something different than what’s been done in the past. So this kind of partnership is something that lets you see outside of the box what some possibilities are,” Carson said.

Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Monday, 5 February 2018 22:36. Updated: Monday, 5 February 2018 22:38.