At A Glance

Dearborn Academy is one of the oldest and most distinguished special needs schools in New England. 

  • Founded: 1949 as one of Lesley University's original lab schools. Named for Walter Fenno Dearborn, a pioneer in the field of reading, a professor and founder of the Psycho-Educational Clinic at Harvard University, a distinguished researcher and a professor of psychology at Lesley University.
  • Accreditations and memberships: Approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE). Members of Massachusetts Association of Chapter 766 Approved Private Schools (maaps), National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC) and the Association of Special Educators (ASE).
  • Enrollment: Maximum enrollment: 55. Serving students from more than 40 Massachusetts communities and school districts.
  • Staff: Skilled teachers, learning specialists and therapists with advanced degrees and certifications. Clinical staff including on-site psychiatrist providing psycho-pharmacological assessment and treatment. Team approach supports each studentʼs personal, academic and IEP goalsLearn more about our staff here.
  • Teaching: Small structured classes designed to support individual needs. Maximum class size of seven in the Elementary/Middle School, ten in the High School. Most students also receive regular one-on-one instruction and support. Overall student/staff ratio in the classroom of 4/1.
  • Curriculum: Core curriculum modified and individualized for all students and aligned with Massachusetts Curriculum FrameworksAdditional enhanced curriculum and learning opportunities. For an overview by program, click here (Elementary/Middle or High School).
  • MCAS: MCAS preparation in all grades; 99+ percent pass rate for high school seniors.
  • Literacy: Highly successful reading and speech and language programs. 
  • Shop and arts: State-of-the-art shop and arts programs for Elementary/Middle and High School, including woodworking, metalwork, jewelry design and fine arts.
  • Physical education. Includes instructional, recreational and outdoor adventure opportunities. Additional interscholastic program for high school students. 
  • Therapeutic supports: Milieu approach to education and therapy. Comprehensive clinical services that include individual, group and family therapy.
  • Vocational readiness: Comprehensive Career Services program including job search workshops, job shadowing and internships. Support and guidance in choosing vocational programs, job training and apprenticeships.
  • College guidance: College prep and support for students seeking higher education. Support for all aspects of the college admissions process. Dearborn students have gone on to attend a wide range of two- and four-year colleges.
  • Summer programs: Two six-week, adventure-based programs, one for Elementary/Middle and one for High School students. Open to students enrolled at other schools.
  • School Day: Dearborn Academy’s school day is from 8:20 to 2:30 with an early release day of 12:45 each Wednesday. Our school year is 180 days and follows typical public school recesses.

  • Meals Program. Every day Dearborn provides a nutritious breakfast and lunch for our students. Students choose the main meal or can select from a menu of alternate options. Individual needs regarding allergies or health issues can usually be accommodated.

Where Dearborn Students Come From

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