Hamden Hall Country Day School

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Hamden Hall Country Day School
Hamden Hall Country Day School.png
1108 Whitney Avenue
Hamden, Connecticut, U.S.
Type Independent Day School
Motto "To challenge students to develop a strong sense of personal integrity and social responsibility while preparing them for demanding programs at the collegiate level"
Established 1912
Head of school Robert J. Izzo
Board President Joyce Lujic
Faculty 85 full-time
Grades PreSchool through Grade 12
Gender coed (since 1927)
Enrollment 560 students
Campus 12 + 30 acres (120,000 m2)
Color(s) Green and White          
Mascot "Hornet"
Rival Hopkins School
Tuition $29,990 (USD) (Upper School)

Hamden Hall Country Day School is a coeducational private day school in Hamden, Connecticut, educating students in preschool through grade 12. Hamden Hall was founded in 1912 as a country day school for boys by Dr. John P. Cushing, its first headmaster. It was the nation’s fourth country day school. The school has been coeducational since 1927 and expanded to include classes through grade 12 in 1934. Now split into three separate divisions, Hamden Hall enrolls the majority of its nearly 600 students in the upper and middle schools (Grades 7–12) and the remainder in the lower school (preschool through grade 6).

Tuition (2011–2012 school year) ranges from $15,275 in preschool to $34,640 in grades 9–12. Hamden Hall awards need-based financial aid to approximately 30 percent of its student body.

Hamden Hall is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of National Association of Independent Schools and the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.

The school[edit]

The school year, from early September to early June, is divided into two semesters, with Thanksgiving, winter, and spring recesses and observances of several national and religious holidays.

Most classes are held five days a week, and extra-help sessions are incorporated into the schedule.

The Lower School (Grades Preschool through 6)[edit]

This curriculum emphasizes reading and writing, comprehension, and critical thinking as well as the mastery of problem-solving and computational skills in mathematics. Understanding other cultures from a global perspective is the focus of the social studies program, which utilizes regular field trips, guest lecturers, and group projects to reinforce classroom instruction. Specialists teach music, fine arts, computer activities, and physical education. The World Language Program begins in preschool with instruction in Mandarin Chinese and continues through grade 1. Spanish is taught in grades 2 through 4, followed by Latin in grades 5 and 6. An extended-day program provides after-school enrichment for students. The Lower School is currently directed by Lorri Carroll.

The Middle School (Grades 7 through 8)[edit]

The middle school program is specially structured for students making the transition from childhood to adolescence. The curriculum builds on the skills acquired in early grades, combined with new challenges and techniques designed to maximize learning. English classes emphasize classical authors while providing students with opportunities to produce their own creative and expository essays. Beginning in grade 7, students work regularly with faculty advisors. The dean of the middle school is Brian Christman.

The Upper School (Grades 9 through 12)[edit]

Students in the upper school carry 4 to 6 courses each semester, with the vast majority of students carrying 5 or 5.5 courses.

The upper school divides these required credits into four types of classes, based on academic proficiency required to succeed in the class: Skills (the lowest level), General, Honors, and Advanced Placement. Typically, math and science courses are offered in Skills, General, Honors, and AP levels. Multi-Variable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Organic Chemistry and Advanced Latin are offered at a level beyond the AP curriculum.

Popular college destinations of Hamden Hall graduates (based on the list of matriculation for the classes of 2007-2009) include Bates College, Boston College, Brown University, Emory University, Princeton University, Yale University, and University of Connecticut.

The upper school also has a diverse and accommodating music program, comprising a concert band and a jazz ensemble instrumentally, as well as a premier female vocal group—dubbed "On a High Note"—which as of fall 2014 has already made its first recording. There's also a larger group of choral singers known as the Chamber Singers. Voice classes, under the "Musicianship" name, count as electives and consist of smaller groups of students. The instrumental ensembles as well as all vocal groups perform at regularly scheduled school concerts and assemblies, often alongside middle school performers. 2015 saw several Hamden Hall singers sent to Connecticut regional and all-state music festivals hosted by the Connecticut Music Educators' Association.

Hamden Hall has a storied theater program, based in the Taylor Fine Arts Center since its construction in the late 1980s. The Michael and Mary Jane Smith stage, named after Hamden Hall's long-standing theater faculty, has presented numerous productions since Michael Smith began developing the program. The stage was dedicated in 2015 on the occasion of the Smiths' retirement. Hamden Hall has housed a chapter of the International Thespian Society for several decades.

Hamden Hall upper schoolers have been known to make notable contributions to the community and outside entities, either via seniors' May Projects (in which all seniors participate in an internship-oriented activity for the month of May) or otherwise. Some upper schoolers have given concerts at local nursing homes and participated in trash cleanup days in the area. In a more scholastic vein, Hamden Hall students have been published in periodicals such as New Haven Magazine and venerable scientific journals.


  • 85 full and part-time teachers
  • Three quarters of the faculty hold advanced degrees
  • Student / faculty ratio: 5 to 1
  • Average class size: 13

The campus[edit]

Hamden Hall's main campus is located on 12 acres (49,000 m2) in Hamden, Connecticut, overlooking Lake Whitney. Hamden Hall was founded in 1912 by Dr. John P. Cushing and was housed in the hilltop mansion built by music merchant Morris Steinert. The mansion eventually exceeded its practical use and was taken down. The current campus consists of 8 major buildings.

The Cronin Administration Building houses the offices of the Head of School and the Director of the Lower School, with a faculty lounge on the first floor.

The Dolven Admissions Center, built around a Greek Revival house moved to the property, contains administrative and college counseling offices and a large art studio. In front of Dolven, a colorful display of the flags of 35 nations represents the nationalities and ethnic backgrounds of the school’s diverse student body.

The three-story Joseph & Esther Schiavone Science Center houses classrooms, state-of-the-art facilities for science and the arts, middle and upper school computer labs, and the cafeteria known as the Lender Refectory.

The Taylor Fine Arts Center features a fully equipped theater (with the Michael and Mary Jane Smith Stage) and a music suite.

The Taylor Gymnasium includes basketball, wrestling, and weight-training facilities.

Classrooms for the primary grades (pre-kindergarten - grade 3) are located in the Ethyle R. Alpert Building, while the upper elementary (grades 4-6), middle school (Grades 7-8), and upper school (grades 9-12) are housed in the 1972 Whitson Hall, named for former headmaster M. Jerry Whitson.

The Ellen & Charles Swain Library, built in 1983 and housing the Barbara Olin Taylor Learning Commons, features a collection of more than 25,000 volumes, 60 periodicals, and extensive reference resources. Swain is linked electronically to computer networks via the internet.

1.5 miles away, Hamden Hall operates the Beckerman Athletic Center, a 12.5 million-dollar facility that opened in 2010. In Beckerman are state-of-the-art gymnasiums, swimming facilities, a weight and exercise room, sports injury resources, and an indoor running track, as well as a small computer lab and conference and study rooms. The Hamden Hall golf team uses outside facilities, including the New Haven Country Club.


Hamden Hall Hornets Logo

Athletics are a major part of Hamden Hall's student culture; all students are required to participate in the athletic program.

Lower school students are involved in intramural teams and/or general physical education activities. Generally, the younger the students, the more "fun" and less competitive the activities are. Moving closer to the final year of the lower school, some students who excel athletically will not participate in middle school interscholastic teams.

In the middle school, all students participate in either interscholastic or non-competitive athletic teams or activities, with the majority choosing the former. Athletics in the middle school are managed on a trimester system with all students participating in athletics all three terms.

In the upper school, the trimester system is again used. Upper school students must participate in only two trimesters per year of school, with mandatory participation in the fall trimester. All freshmen must participate in at least one team sport, the idea behind this being that participating in team sports in the first year of school will help build class unity for the remaining years.

The school has developed an athletic rivalry with nearby Hopkins School.

In the middle and upper schools, interscholastic varsity teams are formed in football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and tennis for boys; and field hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, tennis, softball, and volleyball for girls. Cross-country, golf, and swimming squads are coeducational. Non-competitive athletics include weightlifting, yoga, Pilates, and Outdoors Club. Some students participate in independent athletics for credit, which have ranged from martial arts to dancing.

Most Hamden Hall athletic teams compete under the umbrella of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council,[1] with some competing in specific leagues such as the Fairchester League. Hamden Hall may be most remembered for its boys' basketball team, winning 8 Fairchester League titles and producing such players as former star Yale University guard Casey Hughes. Yale girls' basketball starter, Maddy Gobrecht, also hails from Hamden Hall.

Many other Hamden Hall teams are extremely competitive as well. The varsity baseball team has won several Fairchester League titles, including back to back New England championships, and produced many highly regarded prospects, such as pitcher Josh Zeid who pitches for the Houston Astros, outfielder Casey Frawley in the Cleveland Indians minor league system, and pitcher Tyler Mizenko, recently drafted by the San Francisco Giants. The girls' soccer team has won back to back New England championships. Deb Gruen, former (Yale University) swimmer, won a bronze medal in swimming at the Paralympic Games.

Hamden Hall maintains two off-campus athletic facilities: a small, soccer-sized field directly adjacent to the main campus, and a 30-acre (120,000 m2) athletic complex 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from campus. The latter contains some of the most highly regarded playing surfaces in the state, with fields and facilities for football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, and cross country. The Hadelman Family Multipurpose Stadium, featuring a synthetic field, was dedicated in 2012. Also at this complex exists the Beckerman Athletic Center, dedicated in 2010. It is a US$12.5 million, 65,000-square-foot (6,000 m2) state-of-the art athletic building featuring 3 collegiate-length basketball courts (one wood, two composite), a 6 lane by 25-yard swimming pool, a large fitness center, conference rooms, and more. It has seatingfor up to 800 spectators.[2]


Notable alumni include:


  1. ^ [1] Homepage of NEPSAC.
  2. ^ https://www.hamdenhall.org/podium/default.aspx?t=204&nid=509849
  3. ^ "Mitch Feierstein 1977 reaches out across the pond!". Hamden Hall Country Day School. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°20′31″N 72°54′47″W / 41.342°N 72.913°W / 41.342; -72.913