Located in Dorchester, the COMPASS School works with students (aged 6-21) with varying disabilities that require special education in an individualized environment. 


It forms a therapeutic environment comprised of Clinical, Behavioral, and Academic components.

The COMPASS School is a therapeutic day-school that serves students aged 6-21 with varying disabilities including emotional impairment, behavior disorders, and other disabilities that require special education in an individualized environment. Students are referred from school districts in eastern Massachusetts for whom school has been a struggle. Students attend COMPASS on the basis of their individual needs either for a short-term period of evaluation or a long-term placement at COMPASS. The COMPASS School utilizes a therapeutic approach to build resiliency among its students by providing them with distinct programs based on age, cognitive levels, emotional needs, and academic requirements. The COMPASS School includes grades 1-12 as well as a vocational and a transitions program.

Learn about our in-school services

School Programs

Lower School
Upper School
Vocational Program
Transitions Program
Summer School
45 Day Interim Placement

School Nurse
In-School Services
Program Information (PDF)
2024-2025 School Calendar (PDF)
Anti-Bullying Policy (PDF)
School Contacts

The COMPASS School has developed Remote Learning Plans (RLPs) for each student; the student, parent/guardian, school district, and appropriate collateral agencies have each received a copy. Please see below for a template of the RLPs; one for Lower School students and one for Upper School students.

Lower School RLP. Template

Upper School RLP. Template

Clinical Component

Staff clinicians provide individual and group counseling to all students with the goal of having them be able to recognize and overcome roadblocks to their social and emotional health.

COMPASS staff are oriented to the emotional, social, and psychological needs of the students. Individualized clinical services provide assistance to each student through establishing and enhancing their emotional management and intrapersonal skills. This work is based in skill building that includes helping students identify appropriate and inappropriate responses to their emotions, using socially acceptable coping skills and strategies to respond to their emotions, and evaluating their own behavior during and following challenging situations.

Behavioral Component

Staff members provide a safe and nurturing environment in which students can successfully navigate daily life challenges through informed decision-making.

Throughout the school day, students are supported by teachers, clinical staff, and caseworkers to establish and enhance their planning, problem-solving, and life skills. By providing consistent and clear expectations, COMPASS staff work with students to name and anticipate consequences to their behaviors, to use functional communication to get their needs met safely, and to show flexibility when conflict arises.

COMPASS utilizes a combination of behavior management and the BEAMS system to provide a strength-based, nonpunitive approach to building skills that lead toward transitioning students to a less restrictive setting and/or preparing for and maintaining employment. The behavior management system provides the needed structure for the safety of students and staff. The key element of the BEAMS system is to reinforce positive behavior.

Educational Component

COMPASS provides students with access to the general curriculum and strives to ensure that they follow their path to reach their fullest academic potential.

Teaching and learning at COMPASS are built upon a literacy based, multi-sensory curriculum that establishes and/or enhances a student’s academic and job skills. Teachers develop curriculum guided by the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and implement lesson plans in compliance with each student’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP). In addition to state-mandated MCAS testing, students may also participate in district-wide testing. These individualized educational opportunities are designed to encourage students to attend to tasks for a required duration along with demonstrating emotional management skills in classroom and employment settings.

School Contacts

Terry Belli
Clinical Director
Email Terry
(857) 220-2333, x339

Keir Araujo
Director of Admissions & Family Engagement
Email Keir
(617) 388-3102

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