Pathways Academy at McLean Hospital

Basic Information

Address: 115 Mill Street Belmont, MA 02478
County: Middlesex
School District: Belmont
Phone Number: 617-855-2847

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Pathways Academy at McLean Hospital

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Additional Information

School Type: Private, Special Education
Founded: 2001
Ages/Grades: 6-22 (1-12)
School Setting:

Pathways Academy is a private, year-round school developed to meet the psychological, social, and academic needs of children and adolescents ages 6 through 22 with autism spectrum and related disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders, nonverbal learning disability, sensory processing disorder, socialization and peer-relations problems, anxiety disorders, and school phobias. Pathways Academy is fully approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and has a staff-to-student ratio of 1:2.

School Size: 32
Classroom Size: 4
Student/Teacher Ratio: 1:2

$100,783.47 (paid for by school sending school district)

Financial Aid:

Sending school district pays the tuition


All teachers develop curriculum from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and is developed based on the individual abilities of each student.

Support Services:

OT, Speech/Language, Transition Services,

Summer School: Yes
Computer Capabilities:

Pathways offers laptops, Ipads, and Chromebooks to all students

Admissions Requirements:

Students must have an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Mission Statement:

Pathways Academy provides a safe and comfortable learning environment for students with autism spectrum and related disorders. Pathways Academy focuses on the social pragmatic and academic advancement of each student so that they may successfully face challenges in all aspects of their life.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

Pathways Academy was developed to meet the physical, social, and academic needs of children and adolescents who are out of or struggling in school. These students have difficulty understanding social cues and tend to misunderstand and misinterpret social situations. They have difficulty integrating their experiences and interactions and drawing expected inferences. Their reduced ability in these areas often leads to feelings of frustration, limited success, and low self- esteem. They also may have co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, including depression, social and academic anxiety and other behavioral difficulties. Each student's program is customized based on his/her individual academic, social, and cognitive profile.

Notes/School Information:


Students at Pathways Academy are educated based upon the Common Core State Standards and the Curriculum Frameworks as set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Students take core academic classes in Stock photoEnglish, mathematics, science, and social studies. Each core class is taught by a special education teacher and lessons are tailored to meet individual student learning needs. Students are provided with accommodations, as outlined in their individualized education program, throughout the school day. Although homework, tests and quizzes are not typically given at Pathways Academy, students do participate in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and/or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests during the state-specified grades. In addition to the core academic classes, students participate in a range of other classes including Pragmatics, Culinary Arts, Life Skills, Community Service, Pragmatics, Art, Physical Activity, Typing, and Health.

Transition Services

All Pathways students participate in a Life Skills class once per week and a Community Service class once per week. Beginning at age 14, students participate in a weekly transition planning meeting, during which students explore individual needs including banking skills, skills needed to acquire and maintain a job, independent living skills, travel skills, and more.


Pathways Academy follows a predictable schedule which is posted daily in each classroom. All classes are 45 minutes in length after which, students have a 15-minute sensory integration break, during which students work on specific objectives that are outlined in their IEP. School runs from 8:20 am to 2:30 pm four days per week, with students being in school from 8:20 am - 12:30 pm on Wednesdays. Pathways Academy is a year-round, 216-day program.

The faculty of Pathways Academy consists of educators and clinicians who have extensive training and knowledge of the difficulties affecting children and adolescentsGirl drawing with teacher with autism spectrum, attention deficit / hyperactive disorder (ADHD), high-functioning autism (HFA), and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and other related disorders. Pathways staff are also trained to help the psychiatric conditions that often accompany neurodevelopmental disorders.

Each wing of the program (the East and West Wing) has a master's level team leader with certification in special needs. Each classroom is lead by a special needs certified teacher. School-wide specialists include: speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, a school psychologist, a neuropsychologist, and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Medication evaluation and management services are available through McLean's Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services by request.

Pathways Academy invites parents and students an opportunity to tour our school and to explore the array of educational and support services available in our program. Pathways will admit a child when there is a good match between the child's needs and the school's ability to provide services.

BoyMost students at Pathways Academy present with an autism spectrum disorder such as pervasive developmental, autism spectrum, or nonverbal learning disorder with and without co-occurring psychiatric conditions, as well as a range of cognitive and adaptive abilities. As long as space is available, there are no admission deadlines; however, early application is encouraged. One admissions visit is required for most applicants. Pathways Academy staff may also be available to observe potential students in their current school placement in addition to or in place of an admissions visit. Supporting materials from schools and diagnosticians are essential in helping to make admissions decisions.

For further information, please contact:

Timothy Kadehjian, Admissions Coordinator
Phone: 617.855.3626