Special Education: Wayside Academy


Special Education: Wayside Academy

Special education day school for boys and girls age 12-18.

Wayside Academy offers a blend of clinical, behavioral and academic support to youth who require more support than that offered by a mainstream classroom. The Academy’s ultimate goal is to give these students the support and environment they need to build the skills necessary to successfully return to their home districts and prepare them for lives as independent adults.

The Academy is a therapeutic special educational environment for adolescents with specialized academic and emotional needs. It offers a high staff to student ratio, small, structured classrooms, a 12 month/220-day school calendar, individualized education planning, a comprehensive behavior management system, clinical support services and MCAS preparation.

Wayside Academy offers rolling admission throughout the year. Since our founding, we have welcomed students from communities throughout the central and MetroWest regions. We are housed in a beautiful campus setting in Framingham, offering many amenities onsite for a seamless continuum of care for our students.

Click here to read the DESE Approved Special Education School Program Review Final Report for 2023

Wayside Academy Facts

  • Wayside Academy is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a private special education school for students with complex emotional and behavioral difficulties, grades 6-12.
  • Wayside Academy is a co-educational program for up to 34 students who may be enrolled under our day, residential education or extended evaluation placement options.
  • Referrals are accepted throughout the year for all offered academic placements.
  • Wayside Academy is a 12-month program composed of: 220-day school year, residence 365 days.
  • Wayside Academy offers a 45-Day Interim Alternative Placement designed to stabilize and assess the function of behavior within the context of a comprehensive therapeutic setting through the lens of an extended evaluation environment or Temporary Assessment Placement.
  • Wayside has the capacity to accept emergency and weekend admissions.
  • Wayside Academy does not discriminate placement or participation in programs on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender and/or sexual orientation.
  • Students have access to a full array of clinical services, including individual, family and group counseling, psychopharmacological evaluation, medication management and testing services.

Population Served

Students that benefit from placement at Wayside Academy have histories of behavioral difficulties and emotional impairments. Many have experienced trauma and neglect, have been involved with Department of Children and Family Services and the court system. Students may have had multiple hospitalizations or extended period of absence from their previous academic settings and require the support of a small classroom with therapeutic and academic interventions to re-establish engagement and trust with the routines and practices of the school environment.

Location & Facilities

In April 2009 we consolidated select programs and services and moved into a beautiful facility in Framingham. Our students have access to spacious classrooms and technology resources through a partnership with Google for Education. We also provide sensory interventions, a fully resourced art room, state of the art gymnasium, playing fields and a cafeteria.

The Academy space was designed to provide private space for counselors and safe, low-stimuli quiet areas that comply with all regulations and best professional practices. Residential students, organized in houses and assigned private bedrooms, benefit from attractive living areas and access to kitchen facilities, dining area and other Campus resources.

Programs & Services

Day Placement: Students enrolled in school are offered comprehensive academic instruction in the core content areas, art, physical education, health, vocational and post-secondary planning and remedial support. Students benefit from an array of scheduled and as needed clinical services, as well as planful, individualized in the moment behavior interventions.

The support provided to students through the facility and resources contained within the Wayside Campus allow for the delivery of thoughtful, relevant lessons aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the application of caring, evidence-based interventions when a student faces emotional challenges.

Residential Placement: The residential program provides year-round, 24-hour supervision and support for students at our highest level of need. In both the academic and residential environment, students are supported by trauma-informed care and therapeutic behavior and safety interventions provided by trained staff.

Interim Assessment Program (IAP)

A 45-day academic and emotional assessment, the IAP is designed to stabilize behavior within the context of a comprehensive therapeutic educational setting and provide information to assist the public school in developing an appropriate educational program for the student. Students benefit from the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team of professionals trained to assess academic, emotional, and behavioral functioning.

Equal Access: The Academy provides all students with equal access to services, facilities, activities, and benefits regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or homelessness.

Groups for Caregivers & Youth

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