ACES Mill Elementary School is a new and innovative program that serves students in grades kindergarten through grade three who have needs beyond the current in district educational programming. ACES Mill Elementary combines the best of what ACES experts knows is successful in managing and modifying challenging behavior that enables students to function effectively in a classroom environment and innovative trauma informed therapeutic programming.

Core Programming

The core programming at ACES Mill Elementary School utilizes a school-wide system to address behavior throughout the school day and across all environments including transportation. Components of this system include the tracking and graphing of student “safe days”, developing hourly, daily, and weekly goals and the use of individualized point sheets. Students can exchange the points they earn for fun activities, school store items and special field trips. Every classroom has a low student to staff ratio and provides engaging, hands-on standards based lessons. Each students’ academic performance is tracked by a combination of IEP goals/objectives, teacher created assessments and/or standardized computer based assessments.

Trauma Informed Programming

The trauma informed programming recognizes that in many cases the challenging behaviors students present are manifestations of a history of some type of significant trauma the student has experienced or is currently experiencing. These traumas can be direct or indirect but in any case young children suffering from traumatic stress may not be able to verbalize their reactions to the trauma and generally have difficulty regulating their behaviors and emotions which has a major impact on their ability to function in a traditional school setting. The ACES Mill Elementary clinical mental health team in collaboration with trauma therapy support agencies provide direct interventions to students to help the children find positive ways to process traumatic stress. The programming also provides support for staff and families so that all significant people in the students’ life understand the effects of traumatic stress and can participate in supporting the skill development process. For example, teachers use predictable routines and post schedules because for many students experiencing trauma predictability and routine support the need for students to feel safe. In addition, each classroom has a “coping skills center” to help students de-escalate and each classroom holds meetings in the morning and afternoon to foster a sense of community.


The New Haven Urban Youth Elementary Program at ACES Mill Elementary School and ACES Mill Academy is for students, grades kindergarten through 5th grade, who are identified through the New Haven Board of Education Pupil Personnel Office as needing a more structured program in order to meet their academic, behavioral and social needs.


Current Participating Districts:

Ansonia Derby Milford Oxford Wallingford
Bethany East Haven Naugatuck Seymour Waterbury
Branford Hamden New Haven Shelton Westbrook
Bridgeport Meriden North Branford Stratford West Haven
Bristol Middletown North Haven Thomaston Wilton