Schools for Children, Inc. was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1981 when Lesley College (now Lesley University) divested itself of the lab schools operated by its education department. Collectively, these schools were known as the Lesley College Schools for Children and included Lesley Ellis School, the Walter F. Dearborn Elementary, Pre-Vocational, and Secondary Schools and the Carroll Hall School. Each of these schools has its own  history that begins earlier than the story of Schools for Children and, at the time, each served a unique community of students and families. What they had in common was a philosophy of educating students according to their unique needs and abilities, and encouraging them to grow and learn as individuals.

Early Days

After the divestment, Schools for Children’s early leaders recruited a volunteer board of trustees, developed a set of bylaws and developed an infrastructure for a nonprofit educational organization that could manage, create and nurture high-quality educational programs. Then they quickly got to work strengthening the schools in their charge. None of these schools had endowments, most served disadvantaged children, and the whole start-up organization was in a fiscally precarious circumstance. Because four of the schools were very small and served students with similar special needs, the original board soon decided to house these programs under one roof in a former elementary school building in Arlington.

In 1989, Schools for Children began to re-organize four of these distinct programs into a single school—Dearborn Academy. This consolidation allowed Dearborn to provide a full range of services with significantly reduced administrative costs. A fifth school, an early childhood program (Lesley Ellis School) continued on in its Cambridge location until moving to Arlington, strengthened by professional management and positioned to grow.

This notion of serving a wide range of children—including those who needed specialized services—was encoded in the very articles of the organization that created Schools for Children and has become the core of who we are today. We have always been committed to building and growing schools where learning takes many forms and respects the needs and talents of the children we serve. continued