Community First School (CFS) opened in August of 2020 and serves children in grades K-2 in North Hartford’s federally designated Promise Zone neighborhoods, Clay Arsenal, Upper Albany, and Northeast. CFS believes in the inherent greatness of each resident, and the mission, vision, and core values embody this philosophy.


By partnering with community groups and implementing a whole-family care, relationship-based, and place-based program, CFS empowers children to own their greatness, and become passionate, independent learners able to compete, collaborate, and innovate in a diverse world.


CFS combines a place-based philosophy with essential social and emotional supports and a strong community partnership initiative to deliver an experiential academic program with the highest expectations, honoring the value of each child and family, and incorporating community supported human services to meet the needs of students in grades K-2 (scaling up each year to eventually serve grades K-5).

When one walks into Community First School they will see:

  • Students actively learning through purposeful project-based experiential activities, tied to individual student interests and goals.
  • Students or family members who greet you with a warm smile and engaging conversation.
  • Students and families taking a walk to a local landmark to participate in a field learning experience.
  • Teachers utilizing hands-on engaging instruction, positive behavior interventions and supports, and trauma informed practice, while regularly evaluating and assessing student performance.
  • Teachers visiting families in the community to discuss student growth and seek input on how to best serve the child.
  • Visual representations and student work representing the cultural diversity of North Hartford’s neighborhoods.
  • A morning meeting where student culture and diversity is on display through music, call and response, staff and community testimonies, and other culturally relevant activities.
  • Families sitting with each other across the dinner table enjoying meals provided by volunteers in the community.
  • Community partner organizations providing student and parent services in the visual and performing arts, health and nutrition, financial skills, and after school academic tutoring and homework support.