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Simches Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Arlington School

McLean Hospital’s Arlington School is an exceptional, nationally recognized college preparatory high school that integrates strong academics with clinical support for students with mental health issues that can interfere with their education. Arlington School students are likely to have:

  • Social and emotional issues—including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, ADD/ADHD, and other mental health or medical diagnoses—that affect their academic productivity and self-esteem
  • Complex learning styles
  • Disrupted educational experiences related to school absence

The Arlington School provides a safe and supportive community where students grow academically, heal and thrive emotionally, assume greater responsibility for their learning, and work toward personal goals. We strive to unlock the potential within our students and to maximize their abilities as confident learners so they become knowledgeable, creative, independent, and resilient individuals. Our teachers and clinical staff work closely with therapists and schools in the community to provide students with the best possible educational experience.

Arlington School at a Glance
  • For more information on admission, please call 617.855.2124.
    Private day school serving 40 students in grades 9-12
  • Learning environment and educational programs tailored to individual needs
  • Integrated onsite therapeutic support
  • 11-month program, including an 18-day summer session
  • Typical class size of 4-6 students
  • Core academic subjects and electives, including a rich arts program
  • Approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a Special Needs program and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Full college preparatory curriculum, aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks/Common Core State Standards, leading to a high school diploma
  • Opportunity for distance learning and community college courses
  • Transition counseling
  • Physical education, including health and wellness
  • Referrals by local public school systems or private placement by parents

Arlington School was founded in 1961 as a fully independent educational program for adolescents in residence at McLean Hospital. In response to changes in state education law, including Massachusetts Public Law 766 (1972) and the Massachusetts Education Reform Act (1993), Arlington School became a day school for a diverse body of emotionally challenged students from throughout the Boston metropolitan area.

The school is located on McLean Hospital’s main campus in Belmont, Massachusetts. Set apart from other buildings, we occupy a historic brick Victorian cottage, which includes three levels of classrooms, offices, and student activity space, with room to accommodate approximately 40 students and 20 staff.

Our academic, arts, and wellness spaces are well equipped to meet the broad needs of our students. The resource room allows for separate, supervised space for students who need to work alone or in pairs. School-provided lunch is served to students every day in our multipurpose room.

Arlington School mosaic signIn addition, the school has access to McLean’s fitness center and gymnasium for physical education classes and to a separate conference room in the McLean cafeteria for testing, team meetings, and parent support groups.

Arlington School classrooms utilize SmartBoards and have a variety of electronic devices for student use, including wireless internet access for personal devices. In addition, Mac laptops and iPads are available to be checked out of the school’s library.

Class content is delivered by teachers who are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Students address the content with accommodations delineated in individualized education programs (IEPs).

Arlington School graduates and parents of graduates are often invited to speak with current students and their families about their post-secondary school experiences. Speakers are chosen to represent a diverse range of experiences, and current students and parents are given the opportunity to ask questions.