McDonough Expeditionary Learning School (MELS)

At MELS our students are learning to be: Mindful, Ethical, Leaders and Scholars.

The McDonough Expeditionary Learning School (MELS), grades 6-8, is an Expeditionary Learning School. Students engage in in-depth learning through interdisciplinary, project-based units of study. The units require students to engage in research, use the community in authentic ways, and communicate what they have learned through a presentation to outside audiences. Through this approach to teaching and learning, students will develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration.

MELS Habits of Scholarship:
I am MINDFUL: I treat others with dignity and respect. I follow all classroom rules and keep our environment neat and clean.I use reflection to learn from my mistakes.
 I am ETHICAL: I make no excuses; I take responsibility for my words and actions. I make positive choices, even when it’s difficult and no one is watching.
 I am a LEADER: I am a role model in supporting classroom learning. I pursue positive leadership activities in our school. I contribute to making our community a better place.
 I am a SCHOLAR: I come to class prepared and ready to learn. I grow by taking academic risk and giving and receiving feedback. I actively seek new learning and contribute to all learning activities.

Grades Served : 6 - 12
Type : Elementary
Zone : Zone 3
Lottery : • Neighborhood • Zone
Before Care : N/A
After School Programs : N/A
Special Features and Highlights
• Student leadership
• Sports for all students
• Technology: laptops and leadership opportunities
• Learning expeditions
• Art enrichment
• Strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
• Extended day programs
• Monthly newsletter “Bear Necessities” sent home to share information with parents on upcoming and ongoing events at MELS
Special Points
• Students empowered to pursue content knowledge on their own.
• Students demonstrate knowledge through multiple presentation modes.
• Students build connections to community and field experts.
• Integrated curriculum featuring Workshop Model instruction.
What People Are Saying
Students Say : “MELS has changed my attitude about school.The teachers are new and different from any teachers I’ve ever had before.”
Parents Say : “My child has attended this school since Pre-K. I’ve always felt a sense of security and genuine concern towards all students. McDonough’s transition to middle school was easy for us. I feel there is great communication between administration, teachers, and myself.”
Teachers Say : “MELS offer students an opportunity for hands on learning that is active, challenging and meaningful, Teachers receive weekly professional development in Expeditionary Model to enhance student learning and expeditions.”
Monday – Friday: 8:45 am – 3:55 pm
  • Images
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A black polo shirt with school logo “MELS” located on front/left, khaki pants or black MELS Gear athletic pants

Bethany Sullivan
Principal Email
(860) 695-4260
111 Hillside Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106