Common ground is a great option for parents of special needs students who can't find the right fit in the new haven public system. Our son is graduating this year and after two other new haven schools (his 9th and 10th grades) I didn't think we would get here. Common ground seems to specialize in catering to students on the autism spectrum and their teachers and aides work hard to educate without the stigma of "special ed segregation" If you have an 8th grader in the new haven area who falls on the autism spectrum I highly recommend you consider common ground first. I wish we had.
This is the only area where I think that common ground could improve. My son is on the autism spectrum I know he sometimes can use his disability as an excuse to avoid work. Because common ground has so many ASD students the faculty sometimes have allowed students to leave class rather than stick to their work. In some small cases this can be good but not to the extent my son and his friends were permitted to leave class.
Common Ground focuses heavily on respect for the environment and many of my sons classes had a conservation or environmental theme to them. One class in particular was food and the environment where he learned about modern farming and where our food comes from and he had a new found respect for the food system after that.
The farm nature of the school and the outdoor setting offer students learning experiences that build empathy. one of our sons best friends suffers from extreme anxiety and he was able to work closely with the "layers crew" (chickens and ducks) to help calm down during the day. His teachers and peers encouraged this positive behavior.
My son just graduated from CG and my daughter is a current Sophmore. My son was well prepared for college when he graduated due to the excellent teaching staff who really go above and beyond to ensure that students succeed. Not only are the classes and teaching of good quality but the extra-curricular opportunities are wonderful as well. They have a small basketball team but no other team sports. They are adding on a new "green" building which is much needed and will definitely improve the facilities of the place which are a bit run down. Although they don't have every AP available they have enough to keep you busy and will make every effort to send students that are way above in a certain subject to local colleges to take a course if need be. My son graduated with an amazing array of outside activities that the school made available and was sought after by colleges because of this. It's a great school!!
Special thanks to teachers: Mike Horbachuk, Jeremy Stone, Larry Dome and Joan Foran.....you lay the foundation and expectation of what teaching should be and honestly there are many teachers at the college level who cannot compare.