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Branford, North Branford Participants Share ACES Open Choice Experiences

Open Choice Applications Available March 1

Published Jan. 27, 2017 • Last Updated 12:24 p.m., Jan. 27, 2017

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While the goals of ACES Open Choice are to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation and to increase academic achievement, the benefits are much greater. As a result of being part of the Open Choice program, genuine connections are made between students, families, schools, districts, and ACES Open Choice staff.

As Beth Bernstein, Open Choice Coordinator for North Branford High School, shared, "I am a better person for knowing these students. They have taught me invaluable life lessons. It is truly a pleasure to work with the Open Choice students every day."

ACES staff will be available to speak with families at the New Haven Public Schools of Choice Expo on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Hillhouse /Floyd-Little Athletic Center from 6 pm – 8 pm and at John S. Martinez School on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 11 – 2 p.m. Applications for the ACES Open Choice program wil be available on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. ACES will be holding an Open Choice Family Information and Recruitment Session on Monday, April 3, 2017, 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., at Mitchell Library, 37 Harrison Street, New Haven. Further information is available here or contact Lynn Bailey at (203) 498-6843 or

The ACES Open Choice program started in 1998 with 18 districts and 160 students. Since its inception, the program has experienced steady growth. Currently, 469 students representing 14 districts and 58 schools are enrolled. ACES Open Choice program enables New Haven families to send their children to schools with openings in the suburbs, and for families in the suburbs to send their children to schools with openings in New Haven. Participating districts include Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, East Haven, Hamden, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Regional District #5 (Amity), Wallingford, and Woodbridge.

"The Open Choice program not only enriches our student population but also the entire staff of the North Branford Public School system.   We are honored to be a part a collaborative program that provides a platform for student growth. I continue to be impressed with the success rate of our Choice students and their commitment and willingness to prepare themselves for college and career opportunities," stated Scott Schoonmaker, Superintendent, North Branford Public Schools.

Students' positive academic experience in the Open Choice program has provided a solid foundation for growth and future academic success. Ninety-seven percent of Open Choice graduates have gone on to higher education programs and professional careers in medicine, law and many other fields.

The Open Choice program isn't just about academics, however, it's also about exploring new communities, meeting new people, and expanding world views. 

Deborah, an Open Choice parent whose son attends Branford Public Schools shared, "My family has the fortune of participating in the ACES Open Choice program -- our son is simply blossoming in the school and sporting activities this program affords him. Our family lives in downtown New Haven and was placed by Open Choice in the Branford Public School system. That said, our son gets the best of two worlds: residing in a city, while being schooled in a suburban setting. This was my husband's and my plan to do so -- by our son simultaneously living where he does and going to a school where he does; we firmly believe that we've given him the opportunity to make informed decisions about his future. We are eternally grateful for the ACES Open Choice program. Thank you, Open Choice."

Gabriella and Neycha, two Open Choice students who are New Haven residents attending North Branford High School shared, "With being in a new school system, faculty and staff work very hard in order to teach the curriculum as well as life lessons that will stay with us and we will be able to reflect upon in our future. Through our high school years, we have met many people that we now can consider family and those we look up to."

ACES welcomes new participants to the Open Choice program.

"ACES Open Choice program is a great step in helping people from different communities come to know and value each other. We, at ACES, appreciate all who have been involved with the program for so long," stated Dr. Thomas Danehy, Executive Director, ACES.


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