Depot Campus

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to the Depot Campus

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85 Depot Road
Mansfield, CT 06268

Quotes from the founders
of Big Picture Learning

"We learn the best when we care about what we are doing, when we have choices. We learn best when the work has meaning to us, when it matters. We learn best when we are using out hands and out minds. We learn best when the work we are doing is real and relevant."
- Dennis "Doc" Littky

"If a student says it’s their work, they’ll say, “I have to read these five books. I have to take these courses. I have to meet these two people. I’ve got to do an internship. I’ve got to do a travel experience here,” and they keep going and going. 

If a student says it’s schoolwork, they say, “I’ve got to pass the test and get on to the next thing.” There’s a difference." ― Elliot Washor

Big Picture Learning: One Student At A Time!

The Depot Campus @ E.O. Smith High School understands that each student learns and grows differently. We've designed our program to support students who have the ability to thrive but require a different kind of setting to do so.
Using the innovative
Big Picture Learning model, we offer individualized instruction in a small-class setting. Depot Students’ learning experience is tailored to each student’s interests, talents and needs. Students learn to engage, communicate and collaborate. Under their teacher-mentor’s guidance, they can discover and pursue their passions and define their place in the world.

Students show an exhibit

For Curious Students

  • Does going to school fill you with dread?
  • Do you feel lost and overwhelmed in class?
  • Do you feel isolated from other kids in your grade?
  • Are you having a tough time focusing on or completing school assignments?
  • Are you anxious about moving from middle school to high school?
  • Do you feel like a square peg in a round hole?

You are not alone The Depot Campus at .O. Smith High School understands that each student learns and grows differently. We're not like any other school. And we're dedicated to helping each student thrive in his or her unique way. At the Depot Campus, you will work one-on-one with a teacher-mentor who focuses on your individual needs. You'll work on projects that you define in small groups. You'll have the opportunity to explore your interests and passions, both at school and in real-world internships with local businesses and organizations. There are no tests. Depot Campus students have the freedom to explore and learn in their unique ways, up front and hands-on. In addition to the goal of earning a high school degree, Depot Campus you can participate in after-school programs and intramural sports at E.O. Smith High School. The Depot Campus can help you develop and express your unique talents. We can help you define and pursue your passions. And we'll help you create a path to your future.

Want to learn more? Begin by talking with your parents about the challenges you are having in your current school situation. Meet with your current school counselor to discuss whether the Depot Campus may be right for you. With your parents, schedule a visit to the Depot Campus and meet with out amazing staff.

Students working on various projects

For Curious Parents

  • Is a traditional school environment not working out for your child?
  • Are they anxious about the prospect of attending high school?
  •  Are they struggling or overwhelmed in their high school classes?
  •  Do they act bored or uninterested in learning?
  •  Are their grades beginning to fail?
  •  Are they anxious about their relationships with other students?
  • Do they find excuses to not attend school – or are they regularly skipping school?
  • Is their lack of interest and participation jeopardizing their future life and career options?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above questions, the Depot Campus may be right for your child. We might be able to help your child find their passion, purpose, focus, and design a productive future.
Middle School Students While The Depot Campus program begins in 9th grade, we understand that concerned parents of middle school students may also want to explore alternative learning options for their student before they enter high school. If your child is in middle school and you are concerned about her/his/their ability to succeed in a traditional high school setting, we encourage you to reach out to the Depot staff and speak to your middle school counselors and administrators.
Want to learn more? Let’s talk or meet.
Contact Shannon Rose at  860-487-2262 or [email protected] 

Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-2:30 pm

What parents have to say...

"The Depot was there to support my daughter and our family every step of the way. The ability of her advisor to identify just what my daughter needed at different and sometimes difficult times and then to support her, was INVALUABLE. It’s not a cookie cutter approach, it’s more fluid and more suited to real life. I’m pretty certain that the traditional school model would have had a very different result for us.

Thank you to the Depot staff and for those at the main campus that support you." 

"I highly recommend the Depot Campus to other students that may be looking for a different high school experience. My daughter was accepted to the Depot Campus halfway through her junior year of high school. She needed a school where she could thrive and that understood that her creative mind saw the world differently. She had a lot to offer and needed the small group setting where adults could bring out her strengths and help her overcome places where she needed to grow. We truly saw a different person emerge as she was supported to dive into her original style of art. She learned how to find mentors in the community to help guide and encourage her.

The Depot Campus is truly a unique experience where the whole person is honored, seen and encouraged. High school can be a challenging time for many students and the Depot Campus helps students to find their inner compass in a safe space."

“My son jumped right into the Depot Campus program and was well-supported by his teachers. It really opened him to want to learn. At Depot Campus, it’s all about what works for each individual child.”

What the students have to say...

"I entered the Depot Campus my sophomore year not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Nothing in my regular high school courses felt meaningful and I had begun to give up. The internships I had during my three years at Depot included a youth outreach program at the Access Community Action agency in Windham. These experiences helped me realize I wanted to be a social worker or family therapist.  

The Depot School’s teachers and my mentor at Access have been behind me every step of the way. They gave me the power to drive my own learning while still meeting Connecticut’s educational requirements for a high school diploma. I was nervous about the discipline and focus that college would require, so they gave me relevant assignments to help me prepare. They helped me put together my college application. They allowed me to interview social workers so I’d understand what this career would offer.

As a result, I entered the social work program at Eastern Connecticut State University much better prepared than most. Now I’m a graduate student at Central Connecticut State University. I look forward to a career as an outpatient clinician, ideally for a school that helps other young people find their own passion and purpose!

Depot School is a supportive environment. The teachers are there to support and encourage your passion…"

AmberBarr, Depot Campus Class of 2014

"The Depot has a lot of good memories for me and the teachers there actually care and help their students; Not just in academics, but with life as well.  As a graduated student, my time there was very positive and I recommend this school for anyone who is struggling academically!"

Jon-Marc, Class of 2021

"The Depot Campus is great for self-directed learners like me – students who grab every opportunity and try each of them out. It’s also great for creative thinkers who see things in unexpected and new ways! I came to Depot as a junior with a total lack of motivation. I thought I wanted to become a graphic designer. Then I did an internship at Mansfield Middle School where I worked with a student from Saudi Arabia in the school’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

That helped me realize that education was where I belonged. I graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in secondary education with an English concentration. While doing some freelance teaching this summer, I’m now thinking about where I want to pursue graduate degree; Central Connecticut State University or Quinnipiac University are two I’m exploring.

The Depot Campus is like living in a small town. We students know each other well and support each person’s interests and efforts. The Depot Campus provides one of the few times in life that we get to experiment as much as we want, mess up as much as we like, explore our options, then choose a path we love."

Zoe Stephen, Depot Campus Class of 2012

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