Our Programs

We are very excited to offer a variety of programs that are designed to engage students, encourage learning and interest, and develop skills for a lifetime of success. A few of these programs are highlighted here. You may also want to visit our Elementary Program , Middle School Program and High School Program pages for a more general overview of each of these levels.



Highlighted Programs

Hamden Engineering Careers Academy (HHS STEM Academy) (Gr 9-12)

Open to current 8th and 9th grade students (rising 9th and 10th graders), the Hamden Engineering Careers Academy (HECA) is an innovative dual-enrollment program with our partners at Gateway Community College. Program students will have the opportunity to learn manufacturing workforce skills while working towards their Associate’s of Science in Manufacturing Engineering Degree, or a Manufacturing workforce certificate, while enrolled in high school. The application for program enrollment is open through March 15th, 2019, and must be completed by 5 pm on that date to be considered. The HECA program course map can be found here, and links to the concurrent dual enrollment options can be found herehere and here

The rigorous program will stretch the school year to ensure that students get access to all the required experiences and content. In Summer Session 1 students will be required to attend a two-week Manufacturing and Engineering in the Real World summer workshop at Gateway Community College’s New Haven campus. 

Marketing Education and DECA (Gr 9-12)

Marketing Education Program and DECA

The marketing education program courses and activities provides a overview of the subject of marketing, with a major emphasis on topics and hands-on activities related to advertising, economics, promotion, career development, management, distribution, finance, purchasing and selling.  Marketing education utilizes a variety of instructional methods, DECA activities and Student Store work experience.

Hamden’s marketing program encompasses three areas:
  1. Classroom Instruction
  2. DECA Activities and Events
  3. Green Dragon Enterprises – Student Store

The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an international organization which was organized in 1946 to improve educational and career opportunities in marketing, management and entrepreneurship for students.  Hamden High School reintroduced its marketing education program and DECA chapter in 1998.

By enrolling in Marketing 1, Marketing 2 or Marketing 3 at Hamden High School, students automatically become members of the Hamden DECA chapter.  Each member is strongly encouraged to participate in all chapter activities and events.

DECA provides opportunities for its members to enhance knowledge and skills through friendly competition.  Each year DECA members around the World compete in local, district, state and international competitions to put marketing theories into practice in real or simulated business situations. 

Marketing education provides a competitive edge to students who are entering college, the military or the competitive work force.  Regardless of a student’s career aspiration, DECA can provide the knowledge and skills needed to be successful.  DECA can provide a competitive edge!

Green Dragon Enterprises – Student Store:

The Student Store was opened in November of 1998 as the first phase of Green Dragon Enterprises, the school-to-career initiative at Hamden High School.  It is located on the second floor of the “C” wing, near the cafeteria.

The Student Store sells a variety of merchandise including:  School supplies, custom Hamden apparel items, balloons, key chains, coffee mugs, back packs, beverages, muffins, and freshly baked cookies.

Students who enroll in marketing have the unique opportunity to be directly involved in the management and operation of an actual small business.  Periodically class time is allocated to the operation of the store.  Corporate sales representatives may visit the classroom to present their product lines.  Students are given a budget and are allowed to purchase items to be sold in the store.

Students who chose to work in the Student Store will have the opportunity to gain additional academic credit.  Students will be assigned to staff the store either before school, after school or during a free period based on the store’s needs and student availability.  Grading is based on a student’s attendance, work ethic, and overall performance.  Students may also be selected to fill store management positions.

Students are responsible for performing the activities needed to operate this retail business.  These include: creating custom apparel and merchandise, meeting with vendors, selecting merchandise, ordering inventory, receiving and pricing incoming merchandise, stocking shelves, performing store maintenance, cashiering, conducting promotions, making deposits, paying bills and assisting customers.

Students who work in the Student Store may have a portion of their DECA related expenses paid for through the store’s profits.  The student’s store attendance and performance, as well as the availability of funds will determine the amount defrayed.

DECA Accomplishments

430 students have won awards in Connecticut DECA state competition since 1999 including 31 students (3 firsts, 7 seconds, and 4 thirds) in 2018-2019! Hamden DECA is known internationally for their program excellence, winning awards at the International DECA competitions in the past 10 years:

  • -    2009-2010:  International First Place – Internet Business Plan Event – Louisville, Kentucky
  • -    2013-2014:  International First Place – Entrepreneurship Written Event – Atlanta, Georgia
  • -    2017-2018:  International Second Place – Independent Business Plan Event – Atlanta, Georgia
  • -    2017-2018:  International Third Place – Public Relations Campaign Event – Atlanta, Georgia
  • -    2010-2011:  International Third Place – Creative Marketing Event – Orlando, Florida

Each year thousands of dollars are raised by Hamden DECA for charity (estimated to be over $75,000) so far!

Read more about the amazing accomplishments of Hamden DECA!


Columbia Reader's and Writer's Workshop (Gr K-6)

Columbia Teacher's College Reader's and Writer's Workshop is the heart of our English/Language Arts program at the elementary level. TCRWP utilizes state-of-the-art tools and methods for teaching reading and writing, for using performance assessments and learning progressions to accelerate progress, and for literacy-rich content-area instruction. 

Students do a LOT of writing and a LOT of reading as part of this program! Experts from Columbia Teacher's College interact regularly with Hamden teacher's in their classes and in professional development sessions, to ensure they understand the program and can use it effectively.

RULER (Emotional Intelligence) (Gr K-6)

We want our students to have positive experiences, and deal competently and appropriately deal with the range of emotions that all of us experience in our lives. The RULER system was adopted by the district, to help students learn to understand and deal with their emotions in acceptable ways.

From the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, the RULER program was developed to help nurture positive ways to deal with emotions.  According to the RULER Website, "RULER is an acronym that stands for the five skills of emotional intelligence: recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating emotions. RULER also is the name of the approach to social and emotional learning created by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence that supports positive emotional climates and the development of these skills in both students and the adults in their lives. RULER begins with staff personal and professional learning, continues with classroom instruction and family engagement, and becomes embedded seamlessly into policies and practices school-wide. 

HHS Culinary Arts Program

Students in our Hamden High Cullinary Arts program are cooking up amazing things!!! In addition to learning how to know their way around a kitchen and create healthy meals, students can earn college credit and certifications that help with employment opportunities. Yum!

Sandy Hook Promise (GR 7-8)

HMS is participating in the Sandy Hook Promise. Read more about it at https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/


Elementary Science Exploration (GR K-5)

Science is for all students

All students, regardless of age, gender, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, aspirations or interest in science, should have the opportunity to attain high levels of scientific literacy. Excellence in science education embodies the ideal that all students can achieve understanding of science if they are provided with high quality experiences that involve them in on-going sense making.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) embody a vision of science for all students, and promote an approach to achieving that vision based on research on science learning. Research tells us that students learn science best when they deeply engage in the practices of science and engineering, and apply these practices over many years to develop a coherent understanding of core ideas – and connections between these ideas across disciplines.

Students work to figure things out

Learning science is something students do, not something that is done to them. Like the creators of the NGSS, Hamden Public Schools envision a science classroom where all students are constantly working to make sense of natural phenomena through engagement in the practices of science and engineering. To facilitate learning that is driven by student inquiry, Hamden elementary teachers use science kits to frame their units. Each grade is defined by three science units. Here are some examples:

-      Where did Creamsicle get his fur color? – In this second grade unit, students investigate a phenomenon of a cream-colored kitten born to orange fur parents.  Readings and activities support students in making sense about patterns in inheritance.  Throughout the unit, students have multiple opportunities to create and revise their scientific models about Creamsicle’s fur color in light of new evidence they collect.  By the end of the unit, knowing the big science ideas behind the phenomenon allows students to explain related events, including those in their own families.

-      Why is our corn changing? This third-grade unit on plant growth starts off with students exploring the mystery of harvest corn (something they initially saw as decoration) beginning to sprout what look like leaves and roots! Disagreements about how the corn is growing to spark a series of questions and ideas for investigations related to what is causing this growth.  

-      Why do dead things disappear over time? In this fifth-grade unit on interrelationships in ecosystems, students investigate the gradual disappearance of the body of a small animal over time (shown via time lapse video!). Their investigations and research lead them to uncover the role of decomposers in this process and in ecosystems. Students ultimately track down where the materials come from that all living things need for repair and growth, and where the energy comes from that they use to move and stay warm.

IQWST Science (GR 6-8)

(From the IQWST Website www.ActivateLearning.com):

IQWST® (Investigating and Questioning our World through Science and Technology), which transforms adolescents into scientists, was developed over a decade by science education, literacy, and learning science specialists from the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Michigan State University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation. Students investigate questions relevant to their lives by conducting investigations; collecting and analyzing data; developing and using models to explain phenomena, and engaging in argument from evidence, all in a literacy and discourse-rich environment.

Lessons are organized into thematic units such as Can I Believe My Eyes? (Physical Science) and What's Going on Inside Me? (Life Science), that support students as they build understanding of core ideas in science as well as understanding and use of scientific practices. Students also pursue their own original questions in units that integrate the fundamentals of Physical Sciences, Life Science, and Earth & Space Science.

As research indicates, and the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS describe, students learn best when they use coherent materials that support them in building understanding over time.

Examples include:

  • Sixth-graders learn about species interactions in ecosystems by investigating data from real-world examples of invasive species.
  • Seventh-graders explore properties, chemical reactions, and the conservation of mass by making their own soap materials they have investigated across multiple lessons.
  • Eighth-graders race, jump, and crawl in the classroom to measure properties of motion and create graphs based on physics equations.
  • Eighth-graders use a computer program to investigate a drop in the Galapagos Islands’ finch population.

By referencing real-world science with which students are familiar or have personal experience, science learning has value to diverse students who can apply what they are learning to their everyday lives. Our learning-by-doing pedagogical approach — paired with the expertise of our Chief Learning Officer Dr. LeeAnn Sutherland, Michigan State Professor Joe Krajcik, Northwestern University Professor Brian Reiser, and Weizmann Institute Senior Scientist David Fortus — engages students as active learners and makes science come alive in ways that research has shown best support the broad range of learners found in every classroom.

ALICE Training (Safety) (GR K-12)

Hamden Public Schools has partnered with A.L.I.C.E. Training Institute, a nationally recognized provider of emergency response training.  The acronym stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate”, and details “standard of care” actions intended to provide students and staff with options to increase their chance of survival during an emergency involving an armed and violent intruder within our schools.  The A.L.I.C.E. protocols are embedded in our district-wide “lockdown” response, and HPS staff and students practice these actions as part of our emergency response drills. 

Recently, Hamden Public Schools was named as an ALICE Certified Organization.

Project Lead the Way (Engineering) (GR 9-12)

"From launching space explorations to delivering safe, clean water to communities, engineers find solutions to pressing problems and turn their ideas into reality. PLTW Engineering empowers students to step into the role of an engineer, adopt a problem-solving mindset, and make the leap from dreamers to doers. The program’ s courses engage students in compelling, real-world challenges that help them become better collaborators and thinkers. Students take from the courses in-demand knowledge and skills they will use in high school and for the rest of their lives, on any career path they take." (From the Project Lead the Way Website)  

At Hamden High School, students have the option to participate in Project Lead the Way Engineering classes. These classes are very engaging, problem-based and "hands-on" classes. Students can take Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design and starting next year, Environmental Sustainability. These courses can be taken individually or as part of the HHS STEM Academy HECA Program (Hamden Engineering Careers Academy).