Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin College

Frequently Asked Questions about Goodwin's Environmental Science and Technology High School

What is the Connecticut River Academy?

CTRA is a magnet high school serving Connecticut students grades 9 through 12. CTRA is located on the Goodwin College campus in East Hartford and is operated by LEARN. LEARN is one of six Regional Education Service Centers (RESC) established by the State of Connecticut under legislative mandate to provide more diverse, high-quality, cost-effective educational opportunities to students in Connecticut.

At CTRA we work together to find ways of contributing to justice and sustainability by striving to consistently live our core values of AWARENESS, DIVERSITY, and ACTION. These values are made explicit throughout our curriculum in the form of our magnet standards, which are the driving force behind all of our learning – both formal and informal. At CTRA, we are fortunate to have a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that brings our sustainability theme to life through early college, environmental science, and advanced manufacturing programs.

How is CTRA funded?

CTRA receives funding from two sources – government funds (federal and state grants) and local tuition from sending towns.

What is the difference between a magnet school and a charter school?

Both magnet schools and charter schools are schools of choice, meaning that families choose to apply to have their student attend these schools. They are both considered public schools and both receive a portion of their funding from the State of Connecticut.

Magnet schools are public schools that traditionally focus on a particular theme including the arts, math and technology, and environmental science. The goal of a magnet school is to enroll a racially diverse student body. Some magnet schools are set up by single districts and only enroll students from that town/city, while others are set up by regional educational school centers (RESCs) and serve a variety of towns.

Application into Goodwin College Magnet Schools is conducted through a lottery process managed by the State of Connecticut Regional School Choice Office. Many magnet schools, including ours, have diversification requirements and are monitored closely by the State RSCO office.

Charter schools operate under a different set of rules and regulations that vary by state. In Connecticut, charter schools receive public funds, but function as autonomous public schools. The rules, structure, and charter authorization for charter schools in Connecticut are established and monitored by the state Department of Education. The state must approve the school’s “charter” in which it lays out its missions, achievement goals, and methods of teaching and assessment. Charter schools can be managed and/or funded by a variety of institutions. Admission standards vary from school to school, and most charter schools manage their own enrollment process and lottery.

What are the school hours?

The school day runs from 7:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Mon-Thurs.
Fridays (half days) dismissal is at 12:45 p.m.

Afterschool programs and advanced enrichment opportunities are also available.

What types of courses do you offer?

CTRA students begin their studies in sustainability in grade 9. Sustainability courses include environmental science, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, engineering, manufacturing, and other advanced science courses, at both the high school and college levels.

While CTRA incorporates a strong science focus into its curriculum, it is a comprehensive high school that also offers courses in English, social studies, mathematics, and world languages — both Spanish and Chinese — as well as the arts, physical education, and health.

Why is CTRA called an “early college high school”?

Students who attend CTRA have a unique opportunity to take college-level courses while still in high school. Our scholars have direct access to the same facilities as regular Goodwin College students. Our students work with Goodwin faculty starting in grade 9 and can take credit-bearing courses at the college starting in grade 11. Students who maintain a high level of academic achievement can earn up to a year of college credit in a wide range of academic areas, including environmental science, early childhood education, criminal justice, human services, business administration, and advanced manufacturing.

Will the college credits I earn at Goodwin College be accepted by other colleges?

All Goodwin College credits earned as part of the dual enrollment program are reflected in a college transcript received at high school graduation. Goodwin College has agreements with state universities and community colleges in Connecticut including the University of Hartford, St. Joseph University, Charter Oak State College, and others. Click here for additional transfer information.

Are there afterschool sports?

CTRA offers many afterschool activities to expand and enrich the lives of our student body including recreational basketball, rowing, and more.

Is transportation provided?

Bus transportation is provided for all students in kindergarten through grade 5 who reside in the Greater Hartford Regional Transportation Zone. Families living outside the area have the choice of transporting their child to the closest bus stop within the area or providing their own transportation to and from school. A stipend is available to those families who choose to drive their student for the school year and is based upon attendance at the end of the year. For additional information, call the RSCO Transportation line at 860.524.4077 or visit

Are special education services available?

We will work with the family and the sending town of children with special circumstances to ensure that their needs are fully met. We include all children in the regular classroom setting as much as possible.

How does enrollment work?

Students interested in attending CTRA must go through a lottery process conducted by the State Department of Education’s Regional School Choice Office (RSCO). Families must submit a lottery application online between November 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018. Applicants may choose up to 5 schools, but should choose wisely because their choices will dictate their potential for acceptance to the school of their choice. In the spring, RSCO randomly assigns each applicant a number and a random drawing is conducted. Students who did not get an offer in the first round will have the option of being waitlisted and may receive an offer through the end of September. Please visit for more information on the lottery process and to submit an application.