Building community always starts our year together.  The group first assembles.  Excitement is evident.  We provide opportunities that invite students to learn about one another.  They focus on the important strengths they each contribute to the whole group.  Individual hopes and dreams, goals, and actions steps, begin … 

The group creates a “hand circle” on paper – a symbolic representation of the values we want as part of our community, as well as the ones we want to keep out.  Respect, courage, put-ups, and resilience are written on the inside of the circle of hands: values we keep.  Put-downs, negative attitude, and mean behavior are amongst those on the outside.  

Along with these intellectual processes, students engage kinesthetically.  At Bushy Hill Nature Center, students work together solving group challenges on the low ropes course.  Encouraging one another, the high ropes course allows for individual confidence and strength building. 

Some photos and  list of highlights:

Beginning of the year trip spent at Nature’s Classroom Charlton, Massachusetts and a visit to the Tsongas Industrial History Museum in Lowell, Massachusetts.

CELC Middle School students tour Ellis Island with the Save Ellis Island Foundation as part of CELC’s yearlong thematic study of Heritage, Ethnicity, and Quest for Freedom in America. The tour highlighted areas not open to the general public, including Ellis Island’s hospital wards and medical facility buildings, now under restoration.

Studying birds and migration, CELC Middle School students attend Carl Balestracci’s talk on shore birds, held at Guilford Free Library.  Students visit Lighthouse Point Park to observe hawk migration with New Haven Bird Club members and also to Chaffinch Island State Park. 

Students support local organization Call To Care Uganda at the Songs For Uganda event, held at Daniel Hand High School to raise the funds that will be used to complete the building of a school in Uganda. 

Registered Dietician Rebecca Alcosser visits CELC students to discuss food and nutrition as part CELC’s Health and Adolescent Development class. 

Study of Heritage and Ethnicity brings Indian cooking class to CELC, as students observe and help prepare Akki Rotti (akki means rice and rotti means pancake or bread), a traditional breakfast food in South India, especially in the state of Karnataka.  

Students acknowledge one another during community-building activity, as part of Outdoor Education class at Common Ground Nature Center. 

CELC engages in seasonal chores on a local farm, Trap Rock Ridge Camp,

Students enjoy a study of landscape art and Impressionist painting at Florence Griswold Museum. 

New yoga class comes to CELC Middle School with instructor Natasha Warner! Students enjoy practicing yoga and mindfulness.


A Middle School That Makes a Difference – Hazzah CELC!