Anchor Academy | Justice Resource Institute

Meet JRI's Service Navigator

Our Navigator personally answers questions and talks with you about resources that may be available in the community to meet your individualized needs. If you have any questions about our programs or services, or aren't sure what you need, contact our Service Navigator, Rachel Arruda, and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.


Anchor Academy

Anchor Academy, located in Middleboro, Mass., is a special education, therapeutic day school that serves middle and high school-aged students. The environment at Anchor provides both educational excellence as well as social and emotional supports for its students. Our school staff is committed to providing a transformational learning experience for students who need alternative pathways for success.

School Mission Statement:

Anchor Academy exists to provide challenging academics in a safe and supportive therapeutic rich environment.  Through a strengths-based approach, we offer a transformational learning experience that fosters resiliency and prepares students to become skilled, informed, and responsible citizens.  We design our program around anchoring our students with the supports they require to successfully achieve their academic, social, and emotional goals.

Anchor Academy Logo
At a Glance
This service is for
Focus: To provide a safe, supportive, and structured psychoeducational program for students that addresses their individual social, emotional, behavioral and learning needs
Age: 10-22
Gender: male, female, transgender, non-conforming
Capacity: Anchor Academy provides small, structured classroom settings with a teacher student ratio of 6:1.
Let's Connect
Lauren Kadesh, LICSW
49 Plymouth Street
Middleboro, MA 02346
(508) 947-0131
Fax: (508) 947-1569

The students referred to Anchor Academy generally are experiencing social/emotional challenges that complicate schooling, social interactions, community, and family life. Our students are capable learners, but have challenges such as attention deficit disorder, attendance problems, difficulty participating in school activities, executive functioning deficits, self-regulation problems, low self-confidence, social skills weaknesses, and lack of age-appropriate independent living skills. Our schools maximize academic opportunities and therapeutic support to overcome these challenges and provide a safe, supportive environment for success that our students have often been unable to experience in traditional classroom settings. Our school is based on a positive behavioral, trauma-informed approach that emphasizes that underscores every student's desire to succeed. We provide students and their families with the tools to meet, and often exceed, their goals and make their vision a reality.

Anchor Academy Interior Photo


Watch the Anchor Academy video!

Anchor Academy operates as an extended-year, 11-month educational program, with an optional summer experience. Certified special education teachers provide a challenging curriculum that is aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. The curriculum includes coursework in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, History, Computer Literacy, Art, Physical Education, Vocational Programming, and electives that prepare students for high school graduation and transition to employment or post-secondary education. Anchor Academy maintains a high teacher-to-student ratio (1:6) to ensure IEPs are fully implemented.

The school supplements the academic program with ChromeBooks, Google Education, and Smart Boards & Reading Plus online intervention. Credit Recovery supports students with course credit deficits and provides them with an opportunity to make up credits at their own pace and get back on track for graduation. Students will utilize Google for Education and Google Classroom to receive and submit assignments through a secure, school managed system.



Therapeutic Supports

Anchor Academy is a therapeutic school where teachers and support staff work with students individually and in small groups to engage them in academic, vocational, social, and recreational activities that promote skill development and emotional well-being. The school implements a Positive Behavior Support approach, and uses a trauma-informed framework, evidence-based clinical framework adapted for educational settings. Each campus employs licensed mental health clinicians who facilitate social skill groups, address IEP goals, and provide individualized counseling, and support. A full-time nurse facilitates the health education curriculum, monitors individual health plans, and provides onsite first aid. The speech therapist works collaboratively with staff to strengthen the language and literacy component of the program and fully implement IEPs. Occupational therapy is also provided on an as-needed basis.

Anchor Academy Student on playground


Transitional Supports

Anchor Academy supports students in making successful transitions between school placements as well as to employment and post-secondary educational opportunities. Students are offered a number of transitional opportunities such as internship programming, community services opportunities, and college and career readiness classes. Interest inventories and assessments are made available to students to assist in identifying vocational areas of interest.

With dedicated staff and the ability to provide excellent staff to student ratios, Anchor Academy is equipped to meet the needs of students who require ongoing academic, mental health and social supports. I have been impressed with their ability to successfully help students attain their full potential while developing the skills necessary for independent adulthood.
Taunton Special Education Out-Of-District Coordinator
Extra Curricular Activities

On Campus


Adaptive Music Programs for Lifeamplifi is a music program that focuses on community building and strengthening social emotional capacities through flexibly designed thematic units.  At Anchor Academy, amplifi participants will collaborate to explore musical genres of interest, and use the principles and foundations of music to create a song or composition as a class to share with family and friends.  Students learn to dissect each part of songs to further understand how and why the songs are made. Students will engage in physical and vocal warm-ups, social-skill building activities, reflective cool downs and share appreciations of the day.

Student Choice Days/Spirit Week

Students identify specific categories for the school to celebrate and recognize as a community. It's a way to bring out the camaraderie of the students and school employees in a fun and engaging way. 

Pi Day

An interactive day on 3/14 to take the math curriculum into the school's community. Different levels of math problems are posted throughout the school building that students have the opportunity to solve. Students design T-shirts with their own creative styles integrating Pi. The end of the day is celebrated with pie and determining winners of the contests.   

Anchor Academy Gives Back

Students participate in community service projects on campus that are then awarded to specific groups and people within the community. For example, students in culinary classes baked cookies for police officers; students made cards for soldiers to send overseas; amd students sent cards to servicemen following the Orlando bombing. 

Routines and Ritual Meals

The school community facilities homemade meals prior to each long weekend or school vacation. Each celebration is a way to bring the community together before some separation, provide an opportunity for the students to  practice culinary skills, reinforce the culture of the therapeutic and nurturing environment, and to allow students to identify specific cultures through meals, decorations, and information on cultures that are important to them. In addition, upon return from long weekends or vacations, the school welcomes the students and school employees back with a special breakfast. 

Newsletter Committee

Students create a quarterly newsletter that highlights events, activities, and memories through writing, pictures, and art. 

Graduation/Graduation Committee (end-of-year celebration)

​The students' hard work and achievements are celebrated with an end-of-the-year celebration. Students work to identify and facilitate specific activities, write speeches, make decorations, receive awards, and have a festive meal with all caregivers, school employees, and collaterals. 

Prom/Prom Committee

Students work to develop and create an annual prom in conjunction with the Cape campus. This entails developing decorations, music playlists, and a list of activities; gathering props for pictures; and developing a menu for the meal.

Gardening Club

Students plant and harvest fresh vegetables and plants on the schools campus. The food is utilized in culinary class, thus providing an opportunity for students to experience new competencies, develop skills, and gain pride in the crop they've helped to grow.  

Student Council

Student Council provides the students with an opportunity to have a voice in school's activities, events, and systems.   

Yearbook Club

Students and school employees work to compile the highlights of the schools in one book. This includes pictures of memorable events and trips, pictures of students and employees, and quotes from students and school employees. 

Recycling Program

The students learn the importance of recycling through education, and practice environmental care through recycling on campus. The students use the money from the recycled goods to put back into the school's community. 

Vocational Internship Locations/Field Trips

Boy on Field Trip

Pet Recess

A location for our students to volunteer, develop skills, and increase their self-esteem through working with animals. The students learn how to care for animals, clean and feed them, walk them, and provide the nurturance they need. 

The Bridge Center

Our students volunteer in therapeutic recreation and equine-assisted therapy for others who are furthering developing their social, emotional, and behavioral skills. Our students help facilitate and organize activities, care for the animals, and develop relationships with the clients. 

Soule Homestead

Our students volunteer and have hands-on learning opportunities to learn about the environment, organic farming and activities, and animal care. 

Taunton Animal Shelter

A location for our students to volunteer, develop skills, and increase their self-esteem through working with animals. The students learn how to care for animals, clean and feed them, walk them, and provide the nurturance they need. 

Taunton Holiday Inn

Students have the opportunity to develop strengths and skills in the area of hotel management and kitchen/restaurant services. 

Leonard’s Towing

Capeway Sunoco

Pariseau Electric

Taunton Hometown Radio

Friends Of Middleborough Cemetery

Students volunteer to keep the community clean by helping to clean up and landscape in the local cemetery. 

Sager Electric

Community Care Services

Hillside Adult Day Care Services

Students volunteer and develop skills by working with the elderly population. This could include facilitating activities, helping with meals, helping with paperwork, developing relationships, and teaching skills. 

Taunton Head Start

Gifts To Give

Students help to organize recycled, re-purposed, and gifted children's items for children in need. 

Middleborough Council on Aging

Middleborough YMCA

Whale and Dolphin Conservation

College Tours

Community Boating Center of New Bedford

Port of New Bedford

St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry

Battleship Cove

Middleboro Conservation



Request More Information

For assistance determining which programs or services will meet your individualized need, please fill out the form below. If you have a question regarding a particular program, please contact the Program Director listed in the “Let’s Connect” box above.