Educating, Not Managing
With the reorganization of Dearborn Academy, Schools for Children’s early managers set off on a course to support schools with high-quality fiscal, operational and administrative services. Our early leaders realized that they could create economies of scale, improve school management and provide specialized professional expertise that would not otherwise be available to small schools. Such back-office support could, in turn, accelerate improvements in education, help schools grow and expand and inspire real educational innovation. Teachers and school leaders would be freer to focus on the educational needs of children and to deepen their commitment to the education of children as unique individuals.
Since 1981, Schools for Children has helped transform Lesley Ellis School in Arlington from an early childhood program to a nationally recognized preschool through grade eight independent school; supported the evolution of Dearborn Academy into one of the region's pre-eminent alternative schools for students with significant learning and emotional challenges; initiated a special needs program on a Coast Guard vessel, growing it into today's Seaport Academy, a state-approved alternative school for boys, grades 8-12; piloted the highly successful STEP program which offers assessment and stabilization services to students who have been temporarily excluded from public school; and assisted independent schools and public school systems throughout the region in developing their new programs and services. The 2014 expansion bringing the successful Winn Brook Before and After School program into the 'portfolio' reflects the wide range of services available through Schools for Children.
Schools for Children has clearly delivered the benefits the organization imagined at its inception. Our schools are more able to respond directly to the needs of their students, create new and innovative programs within their schools, grow when opportunities arise, and respond quickly to the needs of the communities they serve. In short, we have helped the schools we operate and work with become better schools—more capable of providing better education. At the same time, we continue to invent and innovate, creating new programs that address unmet needs of today's students.
Today Schools for Children is one of the largest private employers in and around Arlington, Massachusetts. Each year we enroll more than 350 students in our various schools and programs. Our annual operating budget exceeds $12 million and is managed out of our new, Winchester (MA) headquarters.
Over the next ten years, Schools for Children will seek to add permanent facilities for Lesley Ellis School and Seaport Academy and will work to expand its offerings. The addition of the Winn Brook Child Care Program exemplifies the way high quality programs are added to the service delivery platform. Two key areas of focus for us in the near term are (1) generating innovation in curriculum design at all of our locations and (2) continuing the development of critical measures to demonstrate student progress.
We look forward to working with other educators in both public and private schools to create and pilot new services and to strengthen existing schools. We remain open to parents and guardians seeking support in their efforts to find and/or create the types of learning opportunities best suited for their children. By working together, we can ensure that every student has the opportunity for a high-quality, student-centered education. Please join us in furthering our mission.
To read histories of our individual schools, please visit their websites: