Preparing Your Child for High School

Parents can help their middle school students prepare for high school by helping them plan ahead. They need to figure out which high school best suits their child’s needs, depending on what type of career they’d like to pursue. Below is a list of the high schools in Bridgeport and New Haven with a brief introduction, as well as a link to the schools’ web sites.

How else can parents help their middle school aged children prepare for high school?
Be sure your child is taking the right courses in middle school to prepare for high school and college.  Studies show that if students take algebra and geometry early – starting in 8th and 9th grade – they are more likely to go on to college than students who don’t. By taking algebra soon, you’ll probably be able to enroll in chemistry, physics and advanced math courses before you finish high school. Then you will have room in your high school schedule to take a second language, art, or Advanced Placement course. Making good grades in these kinds of tough courses can be a big plus in helping you get into college.

Some other helpful hints:

  • Expose your child to people, events, and places that light up their imaginations and lift their aspirations
  • Encourage reading habits, content doesn’t really matter as long as the child is interested in reading. Regular reading outside of school is key to the critical reading and language skills that will determine placement in advanced courses.
  • Encourage your underachiever to pull up weak grades because colleges are impressed by improvement.


Bridgeport Public Schools Program of Studies, 2013-14

How to talk to your kids about school
Bridgeport Magnet Schools
New Haven Magnet Schools
Bridgeport High Schools
New Haven High Schools


How to talk to your kids about school
Why is it so hard to talk about school?  “How was school today?” has probably provoked more bad feelings between parents and kids than either party ever intended. Without meaning to, parents are asking for a summary but kids don’t summarize the way adults do. So most kids just say ‘fine’ or try to avoid the question. Fortunately, some simple strategies can get kids and parents talking and listening. “What was fun? What was the worst part of the day? Did your teacher explain that math homework? How did soccer go?” Good conversations help kids see we care about their lives, that we are there to support them, and to help them develop strategies for solving problems themselves. Source: PBS Parents Guide to Going to School.

< back to top


Bridgeport’s magnet schools are within the regular public high schools, rather than separate schools.

For more information on Bridgeport’s Magnet Schools, contact:
Michael J. Mulford
Magnet School Planner
Office of School Community Relations and Government Compliance
Bridgeport Public Schools

Bassick Business Magnet
The Business Magnet Program is designed to prepare students who are interested in pursuing a career in business, such as accounting, information technology, entrepreneurship, and international business.  This program is part of Bassick’s School-To-Career Program, which gives students the opportunity to participate in the Business Education Tech-Prep Program.  Successful completion of tech-prep courses allows the students to earn college credit from Sacred Heart University toward an Associate of Arts Degree in Business.  The courses offered are enhanced business courses. The Bassick High School Business Magnet Program is a four-year program. 

Central College Prep Magnet
The Magnet High School functions as a school within Central High School. Geared toward the academically motivated student, the Magnet Program functions in an environment of high motivation and creativity. Students follow a rigorous program of studies. In the last four years we have added Inter-Disciplinary Studies, Environmental Studies, Japanese and Chinese to our curriculum offerings. Magnet students also participate in the Regional Aquaculture School, the Bassick Business Magnet School and the Regional Program for the Arts.

Harding Medical Careers Magnet
The Harding Medical Careers Magnet is the high school magnet for students who are desirous of pursuing a career in the health field. It is a high academic program with a concentration on the sciences. Our students are exposed to many career opportunities in the health field and are able to be certified in CPR / First Aid, as EMT's and Certified Nursing Assistants. They make many visitations to hospitals and other health sites as well as do two marking periods of job "shadowing." Magnet students have a challenging academic program of studies which include Medical Careers, 5 years of science, and SAT prep. Electives offered to them are Advanced Placement Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, EMT, Nursing Assistant and Pharmacy Tech. Available to our students are courses for college credit courses that include Tech Prep Anatomy and Physiology, Tech Prep Chemistry, and Advanced Placement Biology. Students may also take the Advanced Placement in English. Eighth grade students must complete an application by December of the preceding year of entry and participate in an interview, which is usually scheduled for the spring.

< back to top


The New Haven Public School system is committed to a School Choice application process that is open to everyone and follows basic principles of fairness. In addition to providing effective and innovative educational practices, the schools are designed to foster student enrollment patterns that reflect racial, ethnic and economic diversity.

There are two types of preferences given to applicants - sibling and neighborhood. All schools give preference to siblings of students currently enrolled. Siblings are defined as brothers and sisters living in the same household. Neighborhood magnets give first preference to students living within the attendance zone of that school. Citywide schools are those that accept applications from the entire city without serving any particular local school attendance zone. The description of each school indicates what preferences apply to that school.

For More Information: Contact the New Haven Magnet School Office by Fax at 203-946-5697 or visit the Magnet School web site.

Important Dates:
Application Deadline: February 25, 2005
Magnet Lottery: March 8, 2005
Parent Notification: March 15, 2005
Acceptance Confirmation: March 22, 2005

List of Participating New Haven Magnet High Schools:

< back to top


Bassick High School
The Mission of Bassick High School is to provide the opportunity for every student to acquire knowledge, skills and self-esteem in a supportive setting. We strive to provide a safe environment for students and staff. We recognize and respect the individuality of our students. We encourage them to enhance their quality of life and to contribute to society, becoming lifelong learners. Students are provided with a program of educational opportunities and relevant technology that will guide them in the selection of and preparation for a chosen career path. We are committed to meeting the needs of all learners by improving their verbal and written communication, problem solving, critical-thinking and leadership skills.

Bridgeport Regional Vocational Aquaculature School
The facility provides students with specialized laboratories and classrooms that compliment the marine-related curriculum of the school. Examples include a pathology lab, an aquaculture finfish/shellfish lab, an indoor boat shop, a marine propulsion and electronics lab, a computer-assisted design and drafting lab and a meteorology classroom. The school also contains a modern telecommunications system capable of several educational functions including a computer network, a classroom satellite communication system, and a remote visual display system.

In addition, the school has a 56-foot research vessel, the Catherine Moore. The boat has the capability  for classroom instruction, boat navigation  and fishing operations to occur simultaneously. The activities aboard the Catherine Moore provide students with the opportunity to conduct marine biology, chemistry and ecological experiments, to engage in commercial fishing techniques and learn on-board navigation and marine electronic communication techniques. To compliment the Catherine Moore, the school also has a 25-foot work boat and access to the boats of the Aquaculture Foundation, including the John E. Pfreim and the Black Pearl.

Central High School
The Mission of Central High School is to encourage students to pursue academic excellence. We strive to develop the unique talents of each student and are committed to promoting social and civic responsibility.

Harding High School
Mission Statement: Warren Harding High School believes that all students can succeed. We believe in the value of education as a tool for academic and personal growth and for career preparation.

< back to top


Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School
Connecticut’s only full-time visual and performing arts high school. Special features of the Co-op include the Independent Study & Seminar Program (ISSP); national student organizations, such as the National Honor Society and National Art Honor Society; Visiting and Performing Artist Master Classes; Guest Lecture Series; and weekly enrichment activities designed to inspire students to attain their fullest potential. The entire arts community of Greater New Haven has established a working relationship with the school. These collaborations have provided unique opportunities for staff and students to have access to many of their facilities and programs. Many courses are taught at these locations.

High School in the Community
HSC is a regional magnet high school serving the entire Greater New Haven area.
It is a faculty-run school. The establishment of friendly relationships between students and teachers is an essential feature of the school. HSC seeks to develop students into critical thinkers, effective communicators, life long learners and responsible citizens. HSC has adopted the following goals to facilitate this process: Small school enrollment;

Diverse student body; Effective multicultural and multiethnic work groups; Problem-solving skills to increase and utilize reading, writing, communication and computation;

Computer literacy through the use of the highest level of technology-rich education;
Community volunteerism and relating that work to what is learned in school; Self-confidence to take academic, social, and career risks; Strong relationships that incorporate the local, national and global communities.

Hill Regional Career High School
The Career High School was created in 1983 with a program focused on exposing students to career opportunities in the fields of health, business and computer technology. Since its inception, more than 2,200 students have benefited from Career’s specialized curricula, partnerships with neighboring universities, businesses and committed faculty and parents. Career is home to a rich variety of inner city and urban students from all of New Haven’s neighborhoods and surrounding towns. Career High School has been named one of 20 exemplary alternative schools by Phi Lambda Kappa, a national education fraternity.

Hyde Leadership School
Hyde Leadership is unique because it is the only “Character First” school in the Greater New Haven area. Our focus is to provide a challenging environment for each student and family to promote self-discovery, life-long learning and the development of character. Our primary goal is to prepare all students for college. This is evident in that for the third consecutive year, 100% of graduating seniors (the class of 2004) have been accepted to an institution of higher learning. Two thirds of this class has been accepted to a four-year college and one third of the class has been accepted into a two-year college or institution. In this pursuit, we also prepare all students for life. Our expectation is that all students will graduate from Hyde able to answer the following four essential questions: Who are you? For what do you stand? Where are you going with your life? and How are you going to get there? The core of our philosophy is based on five words: Courage, Concern, Curiosity, Leadership and Integrity, as well as five principles; Destiny: Each of us is gifted with a unique potential, Humility: We trust in a power and purse beyond ourselves, Conscience: We attain our best through character and conscience, Truth: Truth is our primary guide and Brother’s Keeper: We help others achieve their best. At Hyde Leadership School, we strive to reflect these principles in all facets of our program.

Metropolitan Business High School
The mission of the Metropolitan Business High School is to provide opportunities for integrating academic and occupation related instruction in the area of entrepreneurial arts and sciences. The goal is to prepare its students to manage and own business enterprises in a 21st century global economy. Students will gain an understanding of successful business practices including finance, investment, research and development, quality control, growth, sales and returns of investments. It is a theme high school in which students stay with a group of teachers over integrated curriculum cycles to create a supportive learning environment. Partnerships and mentor programs with local businesses and employers will provide connections between school and work.

Riverside Education Academy High School
Riverside, though no longer an alternative high school, still embraces many of our former elements of success that set us apart from the New Haven Public Schools. One such strategy is that of one-on-one personal interviews prior to admittance. Parents, guardians and students meet with the principal in a productive dialogue, wherein students are not only appraised of the rules and regulations, but they sign off in formal acceptance. Small class settings provide teachers the opportunity to implement varied strategies to promote learning. Direct instruction has served to meet the needs of reluctant learners. We stand as proud endorsers of NHPS Five Bold Goals with a beautiful mural depicting those goals and symbolizing our commitment to attainment of each. Our involvement with the on-site Community Support Services Team affords us the unique opportunity to promote success with augmented psychological, social and career guidance.

Sound School
The Sound School offers an educational opportunity unique in New Haven and in the United States. Its multi-building facility is located on the waterfront on Long Island Sound, an ideal setting for the marine orientation of this regional vocational aquaculture program. The Sound School is a comprehensive high school with a focus on aquaculture and the marine sciences. The Sound School education program prepares students for college, technical schools or for entering employment upon graduation. The water program includes learning to sail 16-foot sharpies, recently acquired JY15s, having classes on the 90-foot schooner "Quinnipiack," and rowing in our 16-foot dories. Aquaculture production, nautical drafting, boat building, fisheries gear technology, natural resources management, environmental appreciation, vessel handling and safety at sea, and community service are several of the topics that students may select to study.

Wilbur Cross High School and Annex
Wilbur Cross High School has a student body of over 1600 students. The unique student body draws from all over New Haven and from suburban communities through Project Choice. Conflict resolution and mediation are used to teach students how to solve differences in a constructive manner. Our ninth grade cluster program provides entering freshmen an opportunity for easier transition into the large high school setting by breaking their class into teams that remain together for the four academic core classes (English, Social Studies, Math and Science). In addition, all freshmen participate in a seminar program to orient them to high school and introduce them to careers. The sophomore cluster teams remain together for two academic core classes, English and History. Our students are involved in the Choate Summer Program; Southern Connecticut Language and Culture Exposure Program; New Haven-Yale Saturday Seminars; New England Board of Higher Education’s Science, Engineering and Mathematics Conference; and the Harvard-Biomedical Science Careers Student Conference. Cross offers a College Before College Program that enables students to take college courses during their junior and senior years.

< back to top