Social Development

"If you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything." —Muhammad Ali 

Enhancing Social Awareness

Many students who come to Dearborn have not had many supportive peer relationships. Some have been bullied, others have not been open to good, close friendships. But human beings are social beings and need to have good friends. We all need to trust others, share ideas, collaborate and experience the many dimensions of friendship. Learning is richer when we learn with friends—they are key to both academic success and happiness.

Creating a school where kids who have not had many friends can begin to make good friendship is an essential part of our mission. Helping students navigate and maintain healthy social relationships is central to our mission at Dearborn.

At Dearborn social skill development is a priority throughout the day—in class, in activities, during meals and in therapy.

To help students make regular progress, a level system provides explicit positive reinforcement for acts of kindness and compassion, courage in complex social situations and doing the right thing. Counselors also help students work on social skills. A team of adults work with the same group of students over the academic year. Staff become familiar with the different needs of each student and provide consistent feedback and help. Specialists provide additional support and include pragmatics specialists and a speech and language pathologist who offer both group and individual sessions. To deal with conflict, a highly developed approach rooted in peer mediation helps solve problems while also offering students opportunities to use their compassion and good judgment.


Want to know more about our community values? Learn about Dearborn Academy's Human Dignity Program.