Magnet Theme Days

About Magnet Theme Days

At Connecticut River Academy, we believe place-based experiential learning motivates our scholars to learn because of the relevance to their lives and the connections they make in their community.  This has been true since the very beginning. Our school opened its doors in 2010 in a small temporary building on a beautiful rehabilitated Brownfield site on the Connecticut river. The school’s surroundings quickly became a favorite place to learn. The following fall we decided to celebrate our learning place by creating events that connected us to the environment and this was a perfect way to introduce our new school to the community.  We began with river clean-ups that were supported by the CT River Watershed Council (now called the CT River Conservancy). Our students enjoyed making a difference on our campus and they realized through theme-based units that the river that we learn by and live near connects us to a bigger community.

Over the last seven years, this tradition of place-based learning grew into a year-long series of Magnet Theme Days. At present, we have had four to eight magnet theme days on our calendar each year, when our entire school community takes a step back from normal classes to dive into Magnet Theme Days tend to take place on Fridays, which gives us the week to ramp up the excitement, make preparations and communicating the purpose.  They are always tied to our school’s values of Awareness, Diversity and Action, which we tie into a formal reflection during the following advisory period. These reflections are saved and used during each senior’s capstone project to show evidence that they have demonstrated our school’s values.

The following list shows the general calendar of Magnet Theme Days, although we sometimes change it depending on current events, weather, or an emphasis in an area of our theme:  


  • New Student Orientation - Awareness of our theme
  • Source to Sea Clean-Up - Action in our greater community
  • Spanish Heritage Celebration - Experiencing our community’s diversity
  • Day of Sharing - Action in our school by giving back to its community


  • Black History Programs -  Awareness of our history and culture and Action to make a difference
  • Girlcott - A national program that our school has joined.  We develop our own program to increase Awareness of gender issues and demonstrate respect Diversity for our school’sl culture


  • Community Outreach - The whole school takes action in clean-up efforts on campus and in our greater Hartford region
  • Community Day - Celebrate our accomplishments and demonstrating our values by inviting the community to our school for an awards assembly, lunch, and music.


Connecticut River Academy is working to build more consistent and substantive reflection opportunities into their magnet theme days. This simple reflection tool is designed to become part of the portfolio that students are accumulating over their... read more
One of CTRA’s Fall magnet theme days is focused on the Source to Sea River Clean Up which is supported by the CT River Conservancy.  We find being a part of a greater community effort makes us feel more a part of that community.
Our school population is diverse and one of our school’s values is diversity, therefore we usually have two magnet theme day events related to diversity.  Here is one program that honors our community’s Black culture.
This resource shares a sample schedule for CTRA's Earth Day Magnet Theme Day. The major event is a wildly popular trash-n-fashion program.  Built from a similar event that is held in Hartford every year, students create clothing from recycled... read more
One way that Connecticut River Academy lives out its school-wide environmental theme is through whole-school magnet theme days, which engage students at all grade levels. This video shares students' experiences during one of these magnet theme days... read more