HKIS Connections


Fostering Connection: Haddam Killingworth Intermediate School’s Commitment to Unity

In a world increasingly dominated by digital interactions, Haddam Killingworth Intermediate School (HKIS) is taking intentional steps to create meaningful connections among its student body.

“It's the first time our kids transition since they've come to kindergarten and it's the first time that the two communities of Haddam and Killingworth are coming together in one place,” said HKIS Principal Eric Larson. “We designed [HKIS] as a place for kids to connect to their teachers, the school and other students that they are going to be with for another 8 years.”

One of the key strategies employed by the school is the implementation of morning meetings in every classroom. These brief gatherings serve as a venue for students and teachers to connect on a personal level, fostering a sense of community and understanding. It's a simple yet powerful way to start the day, ensuring that every student feels seen and heard within their environment.

To further enhance the welcoming atmosphere, the school has strategically placed morning greeters at various entry points. These friendly faces offer a warm welcome to students as they arrive, setting a positive tone for the day ahead and contributing to a sense of belonging within the school community.

Principal Larson explained the benefits of “getting eyes on kids” as they enter into the building every day. “You learn a lot just by looking at a student for a couple of seconds,” he said.

Recognizing the importance of extracurricular activities in building lasting connections, the school has introduced an array of clubs and activities. From the illustration club, where budding artists can unleash their creativity, to the running club promoting physical fitness, and even a roller-skating club for those seeking a unique and enjoyable pastime – these offerings cater to a diverse range of student interests. The school's commitment to a full-scale musical production is particularly noteworthy, providing students with a rare opportunity to showcase their talents in a way usually reserved for secondary students. The HKIS musical also brings in members of the greater community to connect them to the school. This year, second graders from both elementary schools became the audience for the final dress rehearsal.

The rationale behind these intentional efforts is rooted in the desire to merge students from different towns into one cohesive school community. By providing a plethora of avenues for interaction, school staff aims to ensure that students view their peers as classmates rather than individuals from a separate town.

In an era where personal connections are sometimes overshadowed by virtual interactions, HKIS stands out as a beacon of intentional efforts to create a tightly-knit community.