Guilford Lakes Named Elementary School of the Year

By Regina Birdsell, Assistant Executive Director

The Connecticut Association of Schools has selected Guilford Lakes Elementary School as the 2015-2016 CAS Elementary School of the Year. The exemplar of a collegial learning community, Guilford Lakes serves approximately 325 children from preschool through grade four and hosts both the district special education preschool and Bright Connections (ABA) programs. It proudly lives up to its vision of “a professional learning community where instruction invites effort and supports academic rigor for all students and educators.”

At Guilford Lakes, the focus is for students to be part of the larger community. Students are encouraged to be risk-takers who are allowed to explore their ideas in a safe and supportive environment. The respectful relationship between parents, staff, and community is a bridge that joins them in the common goal of challenging and nurturing the growth of each and every child.

When notified of Guilford Lakes’ selection for the award, Principal Jill Hale was ecstatic to hear the news! “This is wonderful and unbelievable. I’m so proud of our school and can’t wait to tell the staff because they do such an amazing job. The students and parents will be so thrilled. I am so proud of our entire school community. This is great news, not only for our school,
but for the whole school district. Our sister schools in Guilford are all tremendous learning communities. We share common curriculum,
instructional practices, assessment strategies, etc. Our team of elementary
principals meets frequently to guarantee the high quality of education at
all of our schools and promote equity across the district.”

The selection committee, which conducted a site visit at the school, was impressed with the inclusive and accepting environment that focuses on meeting the needs of every student; the multiple channels of communication with parents and community; and the broad range of learning opportunities for students. These are a testament to the high level of instruction and safety provided by the dedicated faculty. The show of support by the parents, administration, staff, and students, as well as their numerous references to the collaboration and caring at Guilford Lakes, confirm the committee’s selection for the CAS Elementary School of the Year award.

Chosen from among a number of Connecticut elementary schools, Guilford Lakes Elementary clearly distinguished itself as a consummate elementary school. Criteria considered throughout the evaluation process included an educational program conducive to meeting the needs of all students; student opportunities that go beyond the typical school day; educational programs that are consistently reviewed and improved; an atmosphere that welcomes participation from all constituencies; an active role in the community; and strong parent-school involvement. Guilford Lakes Elementary demonstrates all of these qualities in a multitude of ways.

Guilford Lakes’ sense of community, its outstanding programs, its level of academic achievement, and the overwhelmingly positive feeling one enjoys when inside its walls have made it the clear choice for the 2015-2016 Connecticut Association of Schools Outstanding Elementary School of The Year Award. Guilford Lakes Elementary School will receive its award at the Connecticut Association of Schools’ Recognition of Excellence in Education Celebration to be held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on November 9, 2015.