Elementary schools in Hamden provide a broad and compete education for children in grades kindergarten through grade six. Some of our elementary schools also have preschool programs.
Hamden currently has eight elementary schools, spread throughout the town. Students are assigned to attend a a specific elementary school based on where they live.
Every day, students have instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. Students also have "specials" including art, music, physical education and library media. The school day runs from about 8:00-3:00 or 8:30-3:30 (we have "early" and "late" schools).
Class sizes in primary grades have a maximum of 20 students; in grades three-six, the maximum class size is 25 students.
Technology is integrated into classes and students have access to chromebooks, iPads, and laptop and desktop computers. We offer students a variety of "hands on" experiences to immerse and engage them in learning.
What do you love most about school?
We asked a few of our elementary students to tell us what they love about school - here's what they told us.
Ruby (Grade 6) I believe that Ridge Hill is an AMAZING school. I remember when I was in 5th grade I would come into the classroom in the morning and be welcomed warmly by my teacher. I got my morning work done with a smile on my face, waiting for the day to begin. Ridge Hill School is also really good with new kids, in any grade. For example, four new kids came to our class this year and they have all found a great group of friends. I really love that our school is so diverse. I am lucky to go to a school that does not judge people by what they look like or their background, but our personalities.
Carlos (Grade 3) School is really fun. I get to read and write about things that I like. I get to spend time with my friends. We do a lot of different things every day.
Mo (Grade 4) School is cool. I like working on my chromebook and doing groups with my friends. I like specials and all the teachers try hard.
Andrew (Grade 6) My school is a place where friendships are made. The staff, kids, and teachers are always friendly to you. Our school community is friendly and we choose to be kind and helpful to others.
Andre (Grade 1) I love my school. I love my teacher. She is nice. She makes us happy.
Jaya (Grade 2) My favorite part of the day is writing. I love writing because, we are doing nonfiction. I love to think of a topic that I know a lot about and love. Like music. I also like math and how we get to learn new math games with my friends.
Eva (Grade 5) I always look forward to the next day of school because there is always going to be something fun and different to do. I personally love geography because you are always traveling somewhere new which is what I want to do when I grow up.
Peter (Grade 2) My favorite part of the day is math workshop because I get to work with friends, and I help them and they help me. I also like math workshop because we play cooperative games and I like cooperative games because I like to work with my friends.
Ashley (Grade 5) A specific thing I like is school is to learn with great teachers over the years and to learn amazing information to help you in the futures as well as to have growth in your brain. I also believe another great thing about school is to learn on field trips, such as STEM, school plays and other things that make school a fun learning place for me.
What's it like to go to school here? Here's how a few of our 6th grade students describe their experience attending school in Hamden.
Here's how it has been for me... growing through the grades...
Kindergarten: You see the shiny yellow bus coming down the road. You feel fear mixed with excitement. You wave at your parents through the window. The whole ride to school, you sit quietly. When you step out of the vehicle, you are called up a ramp into the cafeteria. You, along with many others sit there quietly, not knowing what to expect. Soon after that, your teacher comes in and takes you to your class.you learn quickly that Kindergarten is learning backed up with hidden fun. There is color-by-the-number and funny stories that you can read! There is naptime and specials, and your classroom is in a corridor filled with first and second graders. It makes you feel older.
First grade: By now, you know the ropes. Every day you wake up at 7:00 am to get on the bus at 8:00 am. You are able to go farther back on the bus every year. The “specials” are music/PE, art, and library. In writing, you are starting with big-kid words. Naptime is replaced with longer subjects. There are reading challenges and you start learning vowels. In math you finally start learning to subtract. It is all so fun! It makes you feel special.
Second grade: Now, you are the oldest in the early grades. You have more school work, and you have to set a good example for the younger grades, too. You learn to count money and to tell time, and you start with recognizing grammatical errors. You realize you are easily able to do many things you couldn't do when in kindergarten, you see that you have grown. Seeing this growth makes you feel proud.
Third grade: All of the teachers are nice. You start to learn to type with a computer. You get special accounts to do math applications on the computers and chromebooks: there you can practice your math at home, especially your new skill, multiplication! You feel smart.
Fourth grade: Now, you are learning to divide numbers and add fractions. You also get your own Google Apps for Education account! You had no idea that such a small account can open up so many doors! Plus, you can join band, which is only for the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders! You have become so proud of your work!
Fifth grade: In math, you are doing a mix of all different equations. You learn about dimensions and decimals, too! You also write many stories that are both true stories and fiction. You rotate classes for math and science. There are fun competitions between classes to build teamwork and trust. You can now either join chorus or band or both.
Sixth grade: The year you have been waiting for! The last year until you enter middle school! At last, you are the oldest kids in the school!! You can still join band or chorus, and you are more likely to get a solo. Plus, you now work during field day, the one day of the school year that there is no studying at all. As a sixth grader, you get to end the special day of water balloon toss, blow-up slides, hot dogs, tattoos, face painting, and ice cream with a huge water balloon fight! You help many other grades and have more freedom than ever before. You feel so important!
Every day as I walk in I'm greeted by my teacher, with a bright hello. As I read, I enjoy my book and every word of it. We have 5 letter days. A, B, C, D and E. A different one every day. In our school 4 types of different specials Art, Gym and Music, and Media/Library. In math, we would learn about different units, for example, algebra or decimals and it is really fun. In writing, we have a couple of units like Narrative, Informational, Opinion. After having a quick break and eating a snack and talking to friends, we work hard during literacy. In Literacy, we did this fun TED Talk and we had a book club and we currently are doing debates.
The 2 sixth grade teachers Mr. and Mrs. Chudoba both specialize in 2 different subjects; Mr. Chudoba specializes in math and Mrs. Chudoba specializes in Writing. Each day, our classes switch for these two subjects. This is helping us get ready for middle school. Even though recess might no get us ready for middle school, we still need a break. We have lunch where my friends and I talk and eat our food and afterward, we either go outside or stay inside and we have fun anyways. We come in from recess and we take a break. We have an interesting read aloud every day making us want to read even more every day. Subsequent, we have Science/Social Studies. In science, both teachers teach and we also do experiments and write in our notebooks about the experiments. In Social Studies we do projects about certain topics and its really fun. At the end of the day, dismissal is a breeze. Buses come quick and deliver their kids at their destination without trouble. All days at Dunbar are really fun.
As you walk in the school door, you will see smiling faces waiting to greet you. Great staff and your amazing principal. You will probably be waiting for your best friends but take time to see all the smiling teachers around you. You walk through the doorway and say good morning to your teacher. You hang up your backpack and take out your own things, then sit down and read.
When it’s time for specials, everyone jumps out of their seats. After specials, you sit and calm down. It’s time to start the math lesson! You have supporting teachers who will help you when you’re stuck, and when you’re not feeling your best. Your teacher will explain everything to make sure you get the topic. When your teacher says math is over, you get excited for snack. You can move your seat and chat with your friends. “One minute!” your teacher will say. We automatically clean up and get ready for Literacy. We will be researching about a certain topic that is meaningful to us and the world.
Before you know it, it is time to switch classes for writing. We will be doing some sort of essay, maybe opinion, informative or narrative. My teacher will make it fun and exciting. “Okay guys, its lunch time!” We put our writing materials in our desks and then quiet down so we can get our coats and eat. Mr. Chudoba calls everyone to get their coats, then get in line to order. We walk through the halls that are filled with quotes and different work from each grade.
When we arrive to the lunch room, We sit with our friends and chat about what has been going on in our lives at home. Then, after what feels like a short time at lunch, it’s time for recess. We meet up with our friends from the other class and walk around the track, play on the playground, play some different sports and honestly, we chat A LOT. The whistle blows and we stop where we are and line up to get back to class. After we put our coats away, it’s time to read. Sometimes we will read to ourselves, but other times we will do a read aloud where our teachers will read to the class.
Before I move on, I will explain some of my school’s features. Kids from 4th to 6th grade have a choice to choose from orchestra or band. They also have a choice to join chorus.
Next is Social Studies. We learn about our history and other countries' history as well. We do projects and essays on history which sounds boring, but it is really fun! You can learn more about your culture and other cultures. “Guys, time to wrap it up!” your teacher will say. We put our social studies notebook away and sit quietly before your teacher calls each table to pack up. Once you’re all packed up you will sit quietly and choose a game to play before we go. You teacher will say, “Okay guys, shhhh….” Then we know it’s time for announcements. Mr. Chudoba will call the bus buddies to get the kindergartners to bring them to their bus stop. When he calls 5th and 6th grade, we leave the class to go to our bus stops. Mr. Chudoba calls buses to leave. Once your bus is called, you stand up and walk out the door, waiting for new memories to be made the next day.
When you walk through the doors entering the school, you will see smiles greeting you as you walk down the hallway. You meet up with your friends while wandering into the classroom. You say hello to everyone and hang up your backpack. When you go to sit down, you chat with your friends.
Class starts as everyone is calming down from the specials before. You follow along as your teacher is helping you understand the writing evaluation. Snack. This is when you finally get to talk to your friends and eat. This goes until literacy. Literacy is when we get time to do research about a topic that the teacher chooses for us. Time to switch. Switch means both classes switch into writing and math. If you are in Mrs. Chudoba’s class you will go to math, and if you are in Mr. Chudoba’s class you will go to writing. Math is the time before lunch so everyone is antsy. Once math is over everyone is ready to get their coats and hop in line. When you get to lunch everyone picks a seat and eats while chatting with your friends.
Recess is the time to get all of your energy out while playing kickball or running around with friends. Read aloud. This is the time to cool down and you get to draw or just relax. Now, the end of the day has options. You will either do science, social studies or health. Sometimes we do fun stuff. At this time everyone is tired from a great day at school.
Every day you learn at Dunbar Hill you will always have entertainment. We research interesting topics, chat with our book clubs, play learning games, and write what interests us. In science, we would do experiments and watch video clips. The experiments we have will be pretty cool and kind of fun. In math, we would play kahoot once in a while and play other math games that help us and are enjoyable at the same time. In writing, we would read books, and also be able to write whatever we want sometimes. In Literacy, we read books and articles and did awesome TED talks. These teachers make every subject as fun as they can. If you went to Dunbar Hill for a day you would want to come back the next day.
What is it our teachers love about working in Hamden?
- Ms. Biggart Kindergarten, Shepherd Glen
- Ms. Amodio Grade 5, Spring Glen
- Ms. Damico Grade 2, Bear Path
- Ms. McGuinn Social Worker, Alice Peck
- Ms. Reardon Grade 5, West Woods
One aspect of teaching in Hamden that I love, is the fact that our students are so diverse. To be able to teach students to work together, while celebrating each other’s differences, makes for some truly authentic teachable moments. The mix of cultures and ethnicities that we have in our schools, is something truly unique to Hamden and is something that I think we all take pride in.
What I love about teaching.... The look on a student's face when they enter class and remember something exciting they are going to do that day. It may be Number Sense Friday or a publishing day, or maybe it's Geography Friday! Whatever the cause, the smile on the student's face is not only priceless, but also contagious to me and others!
I love working in Hamden for many reasons. First of all, I have worked with some of the most amazing individuals. The support and inspiration that I have received from teammates, principals, and other staff members, has been invaluable. Secondly, I love the diversity among the families and children that I have taught. I have made lifelong connections with people from all walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds. Finally, for me, Hamden is 'home'. It is where I've grown up, it is where I've always taught, and it is where I am now raising my own children.
Getting to know children as individuals is the best part of being a teacher! What powerful skills we have as educators; the ability to connect with students, identify their needs and then to move each one forward in a tailored way is simultaneously an art and a science. The job is hard, but there is no more gratifying way to spend a work day.