George Lucas Educational Foundation

Schools That Work| Case Study

Meriden Public Schools

Grades K-12 | Meriden, CT

A District Story: Creating a Culture of Change

Learn about how one district is innovating—from redesigning special education resources to having students teach their peers in the classroom.
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What This School Is Achieving

A photograph of two students working together around a laptop.

Meriden Public Schools, in Connecticut, is a small urban district dedicated to collaboration and innovation. Examples of innovation abound: Classroom learning has shifted from teacher-directed to student-centered. The peer-to-peer tech buddies program—in which older students teach younger ones how to use apps and digital devices—empowers kids and builds relationships. And the commitment to developing in-district resources to serve special education students led to the creation of a unique sensory room at one of the elementary schools.

  • In 2016, Meriden Public Schools outperformed the state growth rate on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium by 3% in math and 1% in ELA.
  • Across the district, suspensions are down 86% and expulsions are down 95% since 2011. 
  • Recognized as a District of Distinction in 2016 by District Administration and received the Magna Award in 2016 from the National School Board Association.
A photograph of two students working together around a laptop.

How They Do It

The Sensory Room: Helping Students With Autism Focus & Learn

Sensory Room 101

After we published a video about a special room designed to help autistic kids calm and focus themselves, you had questions. Here’s what it takes to create this kind of space.

3 6,765 10,823 views
A photograph of an older student working with a younger student.

Want to Improve a District? Let Teachers Lead the Way

A Connecticut superintendent put teachers and students at the forefront of all decisions and transformed a district.

13 6,758 10,931 views
Meriden Public Schools: Courageous Leadership and Innovation in Action

Meriden Public Schools: Courageous Leadership and Innovation in Action

Visit a school district that has modernized by focusing on four key areas.

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Student-Centered Learning: Building Agency and Engagement

Student-Centered Learning: Building Agency and Engagement

Peek inside a high school where teachers act as facilitators and students are directors of their own learning.

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The Sensory Room: Helping Students With Autism Focus & Learn

The Sensory Room: Helping Students With Autism Focus and Learn

Imagine a safe space where students with autism can go to calm their bodies and then get back to the business of learning.

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Tech Buddies: Building Technology Skills Through Peer Teaching

Tech Buddies: Building Technology Skills Through Peer Teaching

See the learning on both sides when fifth graders teach computer skills to first graders.

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Voices From the School

Using No-Agenda Meetings Effectively

Barbara Haeffner
Educator, Administrator, Life-long Learner

Redesigning District-Wide Special Education Services

Patricia Sullivan-Kowalski
Director of Pupil Personnel

Innovating Through District-Union Collaboration

Mark D. Benigni
Superintendent of Schools

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