ST. PETERSBURG — Bill Law didn't waste any time.
As soon as the new St. Petersburg College president read the news that Gibbs High School had slipped onto a list of the state Department of Education's 22 most troubled schools, he started making inquiries about what the college could do to help.
"If there's something that SPC can do to, (a) lend some moral support, and (b) lend a hand in some of the educational components, I wanted to do it," Law said.
It took less than three weeks, but the college is in discussions with the St. Petersburg school to provide student teachers to act as classroom assistants where needed. He said he also hopes to allow Gibbs students regular access to a staffed computer lab at the college's Midtown campus, 1048 22nd St. S, to provide extra math and reading help.
"I'd really like those kids to come over to a more collegiate environment because they'll start to see themselves differently," Law said.
Law said SPC has a long tradition of helping motivated students expand their options through dual enrollment courses.
But more needs to be done, he said, for those kids who have a harder time seeing beyond high school — those who are at risk of dropping out altogether.
"My goal is to try to do things with kids who are not yet on track for college," he said.
Law, who said he was enormously impressed when he first met Gibbs High School principal Kevin Gordon this summer during a social function, said he hopes to give his board a firm proposal for assisting Gibbs.
And if things go well, he said, he'd like to offer similar partnerships at other area schools.
Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at (727) 893-8707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.