Commonly asked Questions

What is Riverside Magnet School (RMS)?

RMS is an inter-district elementary magnet school serving the educational needs of students from all over the State of Connecticut. With fully certified teachers, low student to adult ratios, state of the art building and abundant technology and creative materials, we offer an inviting and inspiring environment for all learners from prekindergarten through grade 5.

What are the benefits of attending a magnet school?

As a magnet school, Riverside Magnet School offers several benefits including:

  • Flexible and innovative curriculum centered around a unifying theme
  • Diverse student body that encourages respect, empathy, and collaboration
  • Family and community involvement that instills a passion for learning and growth
  • Academic success that prepares students for a lifetime of academic achievement

How do you incorporate the Reggio Emilia Approach in your teaching?

RMS applies the world-famous Reggio Emilia approach as a foundation to help guide our learners through a challenging project-based curriculum that empowers students to reach their full potential by:

  • Encouraging students to take an active role in directing their learning
  • Developing effective relationships with peers and adults
  • Providing students with multiple opportunities to be creative and represent their learning
  • Having all adults serve as facilitators of learning

What grade levels does your school serve?

We are a Pre-K -Grade 5 elementary school. Preschoolers must be three years of age by December 31st of the school year for which they are entering.

Who is eligible to attend?

Any student residing in the State of Connecticut and is eligible to attend their local public school is eligible to attend Riverside Magnet School.     

What are the school hours?

Student drop off begins at 7:50am

Education instruction begins promptly at 8:10am

Dismissal begins at 3:25pm

Fridays (half days) dismissal is at 1:25pm

Is before/after school care available?

We provide a tuition based after school enrichment program which extends the day until 5:45 to help support our working parents.  This program is offered on a first come basis with our currently enrolled students receiving priority. 

Is transportation provided?

Bus transportation is provided for all students in grades K-5 that reside in the greater Hartford Regional Transportation Zone. Pre-K students residing in Hartford are also afforded transportation.

Families living outside the zone have the choice of transporting their child to the closest existing bus stop within the zone or provide their own transportation to and from school.  A stipend is available to those families who choose to drive their student to and from school, for the school year, and is based upon attendance at the end of the year.  Additional information call the RSCO Transportation line at (860) 524-4077 or on their website at RSCO transportation.

Will there be programs for children during vacations and holidays?

As a public school located in East Hartford, we follow the East Hartford Public Schools calendar and are closed during holidays and vacations. However, we do offer a tuition based, 4 week summer program.

Will children of different ages be grouped together in the classrooms?

Prek3 & Prek4 (children ages 3&4) will be grouped together in classrooms.  All other students are separated by grade.

Does the school provide for the needs of special education students?

Yes. The responsibility for holding planning and placement team (PPT) meetings belongs to the district where the student lives. We are responsible for ensuring that the student receives the services required by the student’s individualized education program (IEP), whether those services are provided by RMS or by the school district in which the student resides. For more information, contact the Bureau of Special Education at 860-713-6910 or visit the SDE website at

How will Parents/Guardians be involved in the Schools?

Families and the surrounding community play an essential role in our school. Families are recognized as children’s first teachers and we support them in being active and engaged co-responsible partners in the learning process.  We have a newly formed parent/teacher organization (Riverside Community Council) which meets regularly.

What is the Student to Teacher Ratio?

Each classroom will have between 18-21 students depending on grade level with a low student to adult ratio. We have a fully certified teaching staff supplemented by highly trained paraprofessionals and curriculum specialists.

Will there be a rest-time?

Rest-time is part of the Pre-K daily schedule.

Are students provided with breakfast and lunch?  

Breakfast and lunch can be purchased daily. Free and/or reduced meals are available to those families who qualify.

Do children need to be potty trained before starting school?

If your child is not potty trained, we will work with you and your child on a potty training plan.

Are there any additional costs to attend?  

As required by the State of Connecticut, we charge a tuition fee for preschool students ONLY. Families of enrolled preschool students whose family income is above 75% of the state median income will be required to pay a tuition fee. For the 2019-20 school year, tuition for New preschool families will be set at $4,000 for the first child, $500 for the second child with a cap of $4,500 per family per school year. Families whose income is at or below 75% of the state median income will not be required to pay a tuition fee. Verifying documentation will be required.

How does enrollment work?

Enrollment into RMS is conducted through a random lottery process conducted by the State Department of Education’s Regional School Choice Office (RSCO).  Families must submit a lottery application online during the lottery application period. The lottery application period for the 2019-20 school year runs from November 1, 2018 – February 28th, 2019. In the spring, RSCO randomly assigns each applicant a number and a random draw is conducted.  Students who do not get an offer 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 apply.  

For additional information contact Casey Decoteau @ 860-709-6822 or email her at