Renovations are underway to prepare the future home for Dearborn Academy beginning in summer 2017.


Schools for Children -
Paul Stein
781-641-2424, ext. 1001

Dearborn Academy -
Rebecca Altepeter
781-641-5992, ext. 3018


“The decision to move two schools is something that we considered very carefully,” said Schools for Children’s executive director Ted Wilson. “While the Board of Trustees has long been considering similar options that would provide long term stability for each of its schools, the timeline around these moves was created by the Town of Arlington’s decision to retake the Gibbs Building. We concluded that we could make major gains for both schools by taking advantage of an incredible property that just came on the market.”

 “This will allow Schools for Children to move Dearborn to a very desirable location, with 50 percent more program space than Dearborn’s current home, well-lighted classrooms, large halls & common areas and a full-size modern gym.”

Additional photos of the new Dearborn Academy

Why is Dearborn Academy moving?

In the spring of 2016, Schools for Children decided to relocate two of its Arlington, MA programs—Dearborn Academy and Lesley Ellis School. Dearborn will move to Newton where a new facility will support the goals of growing and enhancing the program. The decision was accelerated (see below), but is in line with our strategic plans and efforts to provide long- term stability and new opportunities for all our schools and services.

How did the Town of Arlington’s growing student population affect the timing of decision?

Arlington’s rapidly growing school population and need for new school buildings led town officials to decide this past winter not to renew Schools for Children’s lease on the Gibbs building at 41 Foster Street—the home of Lesley Ellis School and, instead, use it for the town (see article).

Where is Dearborn moving?

Schools for Children successfully negotiated a long-term lease on a property at 575 Washington Street in Newton. This facility formerly housed the CATS Academy, a top independent prep school, which is moving to Braintree. The 2016-17 school year is being spent preparing to adapt the space to meet Dearborn’s programmatic and curricular needs.

What will happen to the old building?

Once Dearborn has moved out of its present facility in June, 2017, the Lesley Ellis School will move from its location in the Gibbs School to 34 Winter Street for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

How did you settle on the Newton facility for Dearborn Academy?

The search for possible locations was widespread, and the Schools for Children Board studied for options for both schools, including the option of not moving at all. The Trustees carefully considered dozens of facilities and discussed options with Dearborn leadership, special education experts, and officials in Arlington and neighboring towns.

When we presented with the opportunity in Newton, the Board evaluated the facility carefully and sought advice and opinions from the Dearborn staff and leadership, other special education experts, leadership from other special education programs, school and town officials, state education authorities, neighbors in the community, architects and many others. We also analyzed financial models and projections and carefully considered the impact of the move on the Dearborn community and on the program itself.

We concluded that Dearborn would be warmly welcomed in Newton, that the facility would not only support our program but enhance it, and that even though moving after 30 years in the same location would be a challenge to our community, it was a challenge worth taking on.

What benefits does the new facility offer?

The Newton location offers many benefits to Dearborn Academy, including:

  • almost 50 percent more program space than Dearborn’s current home
  • well-lighted classrooms
  • large halls and common areas
  • a full-size modern gym
  • a raised stage for performances and events
  • plenty of off-street parking, and
  • ample room to expand upon the range of specialized services required by Dearborn’s students

The building is close to major transportation routes and primary referral sources. While many improvements were completed by the former tenant, an ambitious renovation project is underway to create dedicated spaces for our shops and smaller classrooms and instructional spaces useful to our students.

What is the timeline for all of this?

We anticipate having both schools in their new homes for the 2017-18 school year.

How will this affect the school’s summer programs?

Dearborn’s summer programs in 2017 will be held at the Newton address.

What's next?

Everything will remain in place until school ends in the spring of 2017.

Until then, Dearborn has been working with an architect to design and renovate the building to meet Dearborn's unique needs. We have several transition teams of Dearborn leadership, staff and families to make the transition a smooth one for everyone.

How will this move affect students and families?

We recognize that for some families, this relocation could mean a significant change in routine or convenience—for others, the new location will mean greater convenience. Dearborn will work families individually to determine the potential impact of this move on its students and offer support. Please let us know if you have concerns. Families and students will also be invited to learn about the move, visit the new space, and asked to participate in brainstorming ways to make this shift be a positive one.

How can I support this move?

Dearborn greatly appreciates the support of friends and families as we undertake this major relocation. If you would like to make a gift to Dearborn Academy, please email or call us, especially if you’d like your gift to honor an individual who has inspired you. As part of Schools for Children, Dearborn Academy is a Massachusetts 501(c)(3) nonprofit and all gifts are tax deductible. You can also make a gift online. Thank you for your support!

Additional questions

If you have any additional questions:

Email: pstein@schoolsforchildreninc.org

Phone: (781) 641 2424 x1001