The Dearborn Difference

The academic program at Dearborn is guided by the MCAS standards but we teach at a modified pace according to each student’s needs. Content is grade appropriate but assignments are adapted to accommodate each student’s specific learning style. We believe homework is important and can be a normalizing experience, while instilling a sense of responsibility and providing valuable practice for skills building and understanding. There is often a lot of catching up to be done, following a sustained period of difficulty in previous school settings. That’s fine. Every student’s journey is different; every entry point is different; every student has their own benchmarks. Our goal is to maintain important academic standards while making sure students are engaged and focused on learning. 


Every student’s path and purpose at Dearborn is unique. Some students learn specific skills and then return to public school. Upon successful completion of the MCAS, high school students may go on to college while others begin successful careers. 


  • Our low student-teacher ratio supports a program that is highly individualized and allows students opportunities to apply their developing skills in the real world. 


  • Shops are unique opportunities for students to succeed in different environments and engage in a less restrictive setting. Small classes allow for ample individual attention, instruction and supervision. Most projects are self-initiated, so students are invested in their work and the projects are personally meaningful. Finished pieces can be significant (like a conference table with a Lazy-Susan) and are used and/or displayed throughout the school. It is not unusual for the skills that have been developed in shops to translate into successful careers. 


  • Music helps students work collaboratively and builds communication skills. Engaging multiple brain functions as well as multiple senses, music can also have a calming effect that provides an important shift in the day’s rhythm.


  • Peer Mentoring is a valuable opportunity for students who benefit from an increased sense of community. The program helps both the students being mentored, as well as those who are providing support.


  • Spanish is offered to all students. Usually students with certain learning differences get a foreign language exemption and never enjoy the language proficiency and increased cultural awareness that comes from learning a second language. But Dearborn doesn’t assume students can’t do something; we assume they can and then find a way to teach them differently.


  • Our physical education offers students many opportunities to engage in important physical activity, healthy competition, new kinds of activities, and new social interactions—with classmates, as well as students from other schools. Options include:
    • A partnership with Community Rowing, Inc.
    • Competitive basketball (Greater Boston Basketball League)