Welcome to Dearborn Academy, and thanks for your interest in what we do.

Massachusetts citizens believe that every child deserves a quality education. As a result, our state provides the best public education in the nation. We are, proudly, number one. Yet approximately 20 percent of Massachusetts public school students struggle in their public schools.

The reasons are complicated. Some students may have learning differences severe enough to require special education. Others may have experienced trauma and need specialized support to recover. In our state, public schools and collaboratives provide an extraordinary range of quality special education services which protect students’ access to education and keep them on track. Still, some children fall through the cracks. About three percent of students have challenges that cannot be adequately addressed in public schools. These are the students that Dearborn Academy is here to serve.

For more than 60 years, Dearborn Academy has been one of the leading special education programs in the state providing a high quality education, learning supports and psychotherapy to students who need extra help. At Dearborn we believe that every student, whatever their needs and challenges, deserves the chance for a great education. Our mission is to help young people successfully manage their learning and emotional challenges, and, whenever possible, return to their public schools to graduate, and go on to careers and often college. Bad luck can happen to any family. A parent can lose a job—and then a house. An accident or crime can overwhelm an entire family. A quirk of development or an illness can cause a learning difference, sometimes permanent, sometimes temporary. When these things happen, a child can lose confidence and hope and give up on learning.

Kids who have experienced difficult life challenges are still as deserving of a good education as any child anywhere. They deserve an opportunity for a happy and productive life, a chance to recover, to feel connected, to be heard. We have a responsibility to help them re-learn how to learn, if that’s what it takes. And at Dearborn, that’s exactly what we do. Our community cares about children and wants to see them succeed. That’s why I am so proud to be leading Dearborn at this point in its history. It’s why Dearborn students work so hard to make progress in their learning—why they study for tests, why they work hard in therapy, why they push themselves. They are our heroes.

Dearborn Academy exists for no other reason than to make sure that every child who comes to our school is given the care, support and opportunities they deserve to recover, to learn, to grow, and to succeed in reaching their dreams. We are here to help them change their stories—and write success stories, instead. Thanks for your interest in Dearborn Academy.


Rebecca Altepeter
Director, Dearborn Academy