The Gilbert School is a private secondary school that serves as the public high school for the towns of Winchester and Hartland. The school was founded in 1895 as the result of the bequest of William L. Gilbert who, in his will, left funds for the “establishment and maintenance of an institution of learning to be known as The Gilbert School.” He directed that the school should give instruction “for the improvement of mankind by affording such assistance and means of educating the young as will help them to become good citizens.”
Mr. Gilbert named sixteen trustees who were to establish the school. Seven trustees were chosen to govern the school, forming The Gilbert School Committee. This committee was to be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the new institution.
The school opened on September 10, 1895, with Dr. John E. Clark as its principal, a faculty of seven teachers, and a student body of 143 pupils. It was located on Park Place East, the current site of Northwestern Connecticut Community College. In September 1959, a new school was built on Williams Avenue on the grounds of the former W. L. Gilbert Home with funds from the Gilbert Trust at no cost to the town.
For fifty-two years, from 1895 to 1947, the school operated tuition-free for the residents of the Town of Winchester. Since 1947, however, it has been necessary to charge tuition to each town that sends students to Gilbert.
In 1985, the Gilbert Trust provided for public representation on The Gilbert School Committee for the Town of Winchester.
In 1991, there was restructuring into two separate and distinct corporations: The W. L. Gilbert Trust Corporation (Trust) and The W. L. Gilbert School Corporation (School Corp.). The School Corp. increased the public representatives on its board from Winchester to three and added one representative from Hartland. This change brought the school into a new era of school governance that enables the State of Connecticut to provide direct funding for building and educational projects.
The School Corp. is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school. It exercises final educational, financial, and legal responsibility for TGS. Each community that has students attending may take an active role in the governance of The Gilbert School. The Trust is a private entity that exists to support the long-term objectives of the school and to provide financial assistance in the form of enhancements, special projects, and capital improvements.
In 2010, the town of Winchester reached an agreement with the school to send its 7th and 8th graders to TGS beginning in September 2011.
Today, The Gilbert School is a six-year, comprehensive, middle and high school, offering a diverse range of challenging academic programs to meet the needs of all its students. The head of school and superintendent is Dr. Anthony Serio. There is a faculty of 54 teachers and a student body of approximately 550 pupils. Additionally, TGS students continue to enjoy a tradition of extracurricular activities, including music, drama, yearbook, newspaper, and athletics. This preparation provides students with the essential knowledge and skills to be successful in postsecondary study and/or entry into the work world as productive citizens.
The Gilbert School is fully accredited by the Connecticut State Department of Education and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.