Our Approach

The Dearborn STEP assessment program in Newton, Mass., is designed to meet the needs of students in Grades 5 through 12, who have been temporarily stepped away from their schools.


This may be due to challenges in academics, social-emotional health, school attendance, minor behavioral incidents, as well as other reasons that have impeded their success. We give students a chance to step back from an emotional crisis or conflict and move towards a more successful and independent environment in a classroom setting.


Through a rigorous, comprehensive assessment, we gain a holistic understanding of each student. We collaborate with the student, their family members/guardians, our district partners, and treatment providers to assess their strengths and challenges. We then create an action plan tailored to meet the students’ academic and clinical needs to help them successfully navigate and transition these skills to academic settings.


We start by evaluating and assessing the student’s individual challenges. Sometimes we identify psychological stressors or learning challenges that help us gain clarity in understanding the barriers that have influenced students’ choices. We work on assessing the issues to support families and schools in identifying services that would be a better fit for the students’ needs. We also provide counseling, learning supports and therapy.


Every student receives intensive supports individually designed to help them get back on track. The STEP staff works also closely with each student’s district to make sure their academic work at STEP can connect with their school’s curriculum and goals.


At the end of the assessment period, students leave with an extensive educational assessment and diagnostic evaluation that gives families and school districts important tools to meet students’ future needs. With these tools, students can make a successful transition from our program to the next step in their educational journey.