Domus operates three schools serving 350 Connecticut students who need a different educational environment to overcome barriers to learning and achieve success. Hear from staff and students about our approach and why it works.



Steve is an example of a student who grew tremendously during just one school year. Steve started off his senior year at Stamford Academy with an NWEA (Northwest Educational Assessment) reading score of 191, which is equivalent to a 2.9 grade level. He struggled with learning disabilities and dyslexia as well as family financial and heath difficulties. These challenges made it difficult to succeed in previous educational institutions. At Stamford Academy, he worked on vocabulary, phonics, reading comprehension, and writing throughout the year. In past years, Steve had struggled to verbally explain his thoughts and frustrations about reading. Steve’s NWEA reading score at the end of the year was 215, which is equivalent to a 6.9 grade level. His growth of four grade levels in one school year was a result of the work of many professionals who never gave up on him: the Stamford Academy reading teacher, all his classroom teachers, and his special education teacher. Steve is extremely proud of his work and graduated Stamford Academy with new skills so he can achieve his life goals.

Lion’s Den after-school STUDENT “Susan”


Susan’s mother died when she was in 6th grade. At school, she was quiet and closed off. She attended Lion’s Den every day but didn’t participate in many of the program’s activities. Gradually, she began to trust the Lion’s Den staff and, by 7th grade, she started joining activities and eventually signed up for many more activities—cheerleading, knitting, walking club, cooking, Alvin Ailey dancing and the step team. She also developed more confidence and became the team captain of the step team in 8th grade. Additionally, her academics gradually improved over this time period and she graduated last June as an honor roll student and was selected by the entire faculty as “Lion of the Year,” an award given to the student who best exemplifies and embodies the values of Trailblazers. She was accepted into a competitive academic-based summer program and passed the assessments necessary to enroll at Wright Tech. She is now a freshman, and while she never played volleyball, she tried out for the team and made it. We’re proud of Susan and the confidence she gained in Lion’s Den; we know her time at Lion’s Den will propel her to succeed at new things.



Before coming to Trailblazers Academy, 8th grader Lia was getting Cs and Ds on her middle school report cards and struggled with her temper and attitude. Her behaviors got her in trouble, which brought her grades down. Lia and her mother wanted to see changes; they both wanted her to do well. Lia and her mom spoke with Sam, the director of the Lion’s Den, Trailblazers’ after-school program, who took Lia under his wing and worked with her one-on-one. Sam had Lia write down what was important to her, and together, they made a goal sheet of all the things she wanted to accomplish. Lia and Sam started this process in December 2010, and since that time, Lia has made tremendous progress academically and socially. Lia herself has noticed the change. She even made the honor roll recently. Sam and Lia are now going to meet again to start another goal list since Lia has achieved the ones she originally listed.

A Film on Teen Violence By Students from The Stamford Academy