New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) – Many students thrive in a traditional classroom setting, and that’s more than OK. The Bridge at ACES is a program that helps students achieve success in a personalized environment. Education is crucial for children to learn and grow into functioning adults, but not every child learns in the same way or in the same environment.

Connecticut’s Morning Buzz Host Natasha Lubczenko was joined in the studio by Dr. Lisa Simone, Alternative Education Program Director at The Bridge at ACES, who came to discuss how their program works, and the goals of the school.

Dr. Simone starts by talking about who their students are. She says, “The Bridge at ACES  opened last September and we primarily work with high school students. We actually have a small middle school that’s now upstairs in our building, and after opening it, we really started to realize the need for, not only just social work support within the school, but also clinical services. So we’re working now to see if we could get clinical services into our building vocational programming as well as community projects.”

“We always strive for rigorous academics within the school. So, it’s primarily high school kids that we’ve worked with right now, and  we’re working with 12 different what we call LDA’s, which are public school districts across Connecticut.” “So, we’re very proud of the work that we’re doing, but we’re realizing that, especially post-pandemic, there’s a lot of students that need a lot of social emotional support, beyond the classroom.”

Dr. Simone says that the Bridge at ACES serves children who have experienced a variety of circumstances. It may be that a student gets expelled from school and needs a placement, or a student has anxiety in larger classroom settings. She says, “It’s an ideal place because we’re really looking at about maybe 11:50 students per class size.  So it’s much smaller. Kids that are looking for credit recovery that, you know, they’re looking at potentially a fifth year of school, but we could help them really hone in on the classes that they need and potentially cut that time down to graduate.”

Watch the full interview above, and you’ll learn more about the program, as Dr. Simon talks about some of the other key elements of their Alternative Education Program. These include:

  • Social, Emotional Education in the classroom every single day
  • A focus on Empathy, Community and Positive School Climate
  • Vocational Experiences, both internally and externally
  • Emphasis on developing soft skills for students
  • Support with how to find jobs and keep them

Students who enroll and participate in the Bridge at ACES program must be connected through a referral made  by their home school district. The Bridge at ACES is holding an Open House on November 8th at 1:00pm in their building at 261 Skiff Street in Hamden. 
School Superintendents are invited to come out and  check out their building and program to see what is offered, and this event is also opened to the public.  For more information, visit their website at