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Granite Academy

Located in Braintree, Mass., Granite Academy is a dynamic day school for middle and high school-aged students who have social/emotional challenges that complicate their learning. Fully approved by the DESE, Granite is recognized for providing flexible, individualized programming and being completely dedicated to meeting the needs of its students, families, and the public school systems.

Granite Academy outside


Granite Academy
At a Glance
This service is for
Middle School and High School aged students
Students who could benefit from a smaller classroom learning environment
Students who have emotional or social issues that can interfere with academic progress
Students with complex learning profiles or learning disabilities that are not effectively addressed in a public school setting
Gender: male, female, transgender, non-conforming
Let's Connect
Amy Barber, M.Ed., LMHC
Head of School
6 Columbian Street
Braintree, MA 02184
PHONE: (781) 380-3945 ext. 220
Laura McGrath
Intake Admission Coordinator
6 Columbian Street
Braintree, MA 02184
PHONE: (781) 277-0676
School Description and Services
Granite Academy students and staff

STUDENTS: Students at Granite typically have emotional and psychiatric issues that complicate schooling, social interactions, and family life. Students are capable learners and may have specific learning disabilities or need specialized therapies such as speech or occupational therapy, provided by their public schools. The student community is diverse, active, and talented!

APPROACH: The school uses a highly structured motivational behavioral system with a focus on successful engagement in classroom activities and learning. Students, families, and team members use data from this system to support and track student progress. Granite's school culture is one that engages students with respect, honesty, and openness. The team works with students individually and in small groups to support their full engagement in academic, vocational, social, and recreational activities that promote skill development, emotional well-being, and movement towards graduation. Granite works collaboratively with students, their families, collaterals, and the sending districts.

ACADEMICS: The school's team of licensed content and special education teachers provides a rich curriculum for students, which is aligned with the Common Core. Student learning is supported by the school's state-of-the-art technology center, where iPads, laptops, and computers are available. The school offers a variety of electives, including vocational programming, and supports dual enrollment for interested students in local sending districts and in community colleges. The educational team specializes in individualizing instruction to meet the needs of each student.

CLINICAL: The school's team of master's-level clinicians provides ongoing, individualized support for students through regular individual and group meetings, family outreach, and collaboration with collateral contacts. Student goals are individualized and developed with the student, family, and team to support each student in developing skills to reach their goals. Students have access to full-time nursing and sensory integration support.

COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS: The school has a full-time Transitions Coordinator who oversees each student's individualized transition planning needs. Programming includes internships, work/study opportunities, on-campus vocational opportunities, and regular college and career visits and fairs. The school also uses Skills4Living®, a multi-disciplinary program focused on developing life skills, post-secondary education preparation, and community awareness.

Granite Academy Field Day


Granite Academy School Director Keeps Students Engaged
During the spring of 2020, while students were learning remotely due to the pandemic, Amy Barber found creative ways to keep students engaged. Each day she sent the students a unique video with morning announcements.
About Granite Academy

Granite Academy, a 501(c)(3) Massachusetts corporation, was founded in 1981. We moved to our Braintree Campus in 1990. We hold full approval from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as a Chapter 766-approved special needs school.

Granite Academy waterfall, lunch and hallway

We serve middle and high school-aged students in grades 5 -12 who are referred to us from over 30 local school districts. Our students have mental health issues that complicate their learning. In addition to engaging in the Granite Academy clinical services, many of our students receive community-based mental health care, privately or through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

With an enrollment of 45 students, Granite Academy staff is able to remain intensively focused on the needs of each student. The individualized approach encompasses a cooperative effort of teachers, counselors, ancillary staff, and specialists.

Our services include a fully graded and approved academic curriculum, MCAS preparation, vocation and college preparation, and individual counseling. Successfully completion of the academic program leads to a diploma issued by the student’s home school system.

A range of group counseling modules is designed to address the many risks that challenge our students, including the risks posed by their disabilities and emotional fragility. Additional school services include health and wellness education, physical education, expressive arts, parent support, and extracurricular activities.

Preparing our students for functional independence is a central focus of our work. We engage students in a Skills4Living® curriculum that builds the skills students need to transition to independent living or college life. Skills4Living® is woven into all of our services and is adapted for age, disability, and independence readiness.

Recognized for our flexibility and complete dedication to meeting the needs of our students and the public school systems that support us, Granite Academy confidently enters its fourth decade of proud service to the educational and therapeutic needs of our students.

Our Students

Granite Academy accepts students of all gender identities ages 11-21. Students referred to us generally are experiencing emotional and psychiatric issues that complicate schooling, social interactions and family life.

Granite Academy students

Our students are capable learners, yet many have diagnosed learning disabilities and receive specialized therapies, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy, provided by their public schools.

Many of our students have diagnosed mood disorders, anxiety, and other psychiatric diagnoses that require psychiatric care and the prescription of psychiatric medications that are partially managed by our nurse.

Other issues that challenge many Granite Academy students are attention deficit disorder, attendance problems, difficulty participating in school activities, executive functioning deficits, self-regulation problems, low self-confidence, social skills weaknesses, and age-appropriate independent living skills.


Education Services
  • MCAS prep – Individualized support to strengthen content knowledge and test-taking skills has contributed to a higher MCAS rate.
  • Implementation of the Individual Education Program (IEP)

  • Mid-quarter reviews - Each student receives a mid-quarter review, which identifies progress and areas needing attention to meet requirements for a passing grade. Provided to parents.

Granite Academy Walkathon photos

  • STEAM - (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) - To enhance curriculum & expose students to 21st century skills, this class features a hands-on approach to engineering and technology. Students have the opportunity to work with electronic systems, computer programming, & design robotics, increasing understanding of the world around them. Students will embark in a yearlong project to build an underwater robotic craft called a SeaPerch. Working in teams, students will design and construct a SeaPerch. This activity encompasses all STEAM principles and will motivate students to be active participants in their education. Information about the SeaPerch can be found at www.seaperch.org

  • Executive functioning supportAn extensive program helping all students strengthen the ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks.

  • Integrated technology support for learning - Granite Academy supports learning with access to a range of digital instructional resources. A computer lab, student laptops and iPads provide the hardware infrastructure from which learning resources are accessed. Teachers use our technology and digital learning resources to support instruction and the individual learning needs of students.

  • Summer Read - With a focus on the benefits of literacy and the joy of reading, Summer Read is a yearly activity where all staff and students engage in reading and discussing selected books.

  • Dual-enrollment opportunities - Granite Academy supports students able and inclined to dual-enroll in home school or college classes

  • Diploma competenciesTo ensure that local district diploma requirements are met, coursework can be individualized and adapted. Granite Academy also works with local school districts to ensure that students are taking the courses that are required for graduation.

  • Credit recovery - For students who have not received passing credit for high school classes, we offer credit recovery options by partnering with a student and their family, as well as their home school district, to determine what credits need to be recovered and work to design curricula and coursework to provide students with an opportunity to complete the missed coursework for high school credit.

  • EPPs and Appeals Portfolios - For students experiencing difficulty meeting MCAS score thresholds, Granite Academy facilitates the development and implementation of Educational Proficiency Plans and the compilation and submission of Appeals Portfolios.

Clinical Services
  • Individual counseling – Counseling is focused on helping students be successful and feel confident in school, with a particular focus on maintaining an active engagement in academics, at their own level. Counselors develop treatment plans and help students identify and strengthen coping strategies.
  • Service coordination – For students with multiple service providers, Granite Academy counselors collaborate and coordinate with community-based providers to maintain communication and to ensure that there is a shared understanding of each student's needs and treatment focus.

  • Sensory integration support – Granite Academy provides students with sensory integration support as a part of the daily norm within our community. For some, the many experiences felt through the senses -- touch, smell, hearing, taste and sight -- can become overwhelming and/or difficult to fully process effectively.

    We develop sensory tools to be included in treatment plans to either decrease or increase arousal levels, depending on individual needs. These plans are then implemented throughout the learning environment to provide support as students strive for success. Students often value this kind of support, and view it as a helpful problem resolution tool that they can take with them and utilize outside of school as well. In fact, students become actively involved in developing these plans.

  • Granite Academy staff actively collaborates with our specialized Asperger's consultant who provides ongoing consultation with our team so we are able to utilize the most effective tools available to aid students.

  • Therapeutic Milieu – Our therapeutic milieu supports the health and strength of each student, which in turn contributes to a positive and supportive community. A supportive peer community facilitates respect and understanding, allowing students to be themselves and to accept others equally.

  • Therapeutic Response System – This is a highly structured motivational behavioral system with a focus on successful engagement in classroom activities and learning. The system utilizes detailed data collection, which allows staff, students, and parents to measure progress in both time-on-learning and behavior goals.

Skills 4 Living

A multi-disciplinary program focused on developing life skills, post-secondary education preparation and community awareness – all to support the transition to independence and self-sufficiency

  • College and Career Fair – This annual event brings 2- and 4-year colleges, trade schools, youth building organizations, and employers together with students and their parents

  • College and post-secondary training school visits – Each year students visit colleges and trade schools to get first-hand information about program offerings and information about campus life

  • Life-skills curricula woven into Math, Social Studies, English Language Arts

  • Vocationally focused electives – Past electives have included job interview preparation and practice, resume writing, small engine repair, clerical skills, culinary arts, and maintenance skills.

  • Work-study opportunities – With the approval of the referring school district, Granite Academy supports work-study opportunities, coordinating with the work site and making sure that credit requirements are met

  • Risk identification and prevention groups

  • Social skills groups

  • Internships – Important work-based internships exposing students to real-world situations, with the support of Granite Academy teachers and counselors. Past internships have been sited at VCA South Shore Animal Hospital, New England Wildlife Center, and Franklin Park Zoo

  • On-Campus Vocational Opportunities – Granite Academy provides paid and unpaid vocational training opportunities, including Culinary and Building Wall.



Extra Curricular Services
  • CiderHouse Jam – A forum for student performances of music, poetry and literature
  • Granite Café – A student-run micro-business supporting engagement with the community and the development of life skills.
  • Annual Thanksgiving Meal – A tradition of bringing staff, students, and guests together for an important community expression of unity and thanks
  • Mid-year Recognition Awards – This highly anticipated awards ceremony recognizes individual achievement, effort, social-emotional growth, and citizenship.
  • Graduation Ceremony – A celebration of student achievement for all students and particularly those being awarded a diploma.
  • Museum and theater outings
  • Community Meetings: Monthly meetings attended by staff and students provide a forum for healthy, constructive dialogue, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and community member recognition.
  • Co-ed Basketball Team – The Gladiators hold after-school practices and play games with other schools like Granite Academy
  • Poetry Slam – An annual event fostering expression and creative outlet
  • Graduates Panel – Granite Academy graduates return each summer to talk about their transitions to college and work and share their experiences and advice on meeting the challenges.
  • Student Council – A great opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, to shape the Granite Academy community, and to strengthen peer relationships.
  • Student days – Days identified by students that support school spirit and peer interactions. Past days have included a Boston Strong Day, Patriots Day, Red Sox Day, Halloween costume day, and pajama day.
  • Campus Beautification Day – Students and staff pitch in to plant flowers in the Learning Park.
Granite Academy playing basketball and field day


Family with teenage son reading a book
Our son was accepted from day one as he is. Granite Academy works to meet him where he is, not vice versa. To be accepted in this way is so helpful and enables him to feel less anxiety and more understood. He knows that on a good day or a bad day, there are supports in place to help him. To help him learn and continue his education while being recognized as a student who is an individual with mental health issues and learning issues. This is the starting point where he can begin to let his guard down and know everyone at Granite wants the best for him.
Joanne & John

Granite Academy Classrooms, Gym and Learning Park

  • Large classrooms
  • Natural lighting throughout the school for a healthier learning environment
  • Computer lab
  • Gym
  • Kitchen / Culinary training area
  • Art room
  • Individual counseling offices
  • Career and college resource room
  • Personal space and sensory areas
  • Learning Park and Building Wall
  • Wood shop
  • Building Wall
Granite Academy Classrooms

"Granite Academy isn't just a school, it's a place where you find yourself, where anything can be accomplished as long as you tried and pushed yourself through. There wasn't an option for failure, you picked yourself back up and continued to march on and succeed. The things I saw over there opened my eyes, people helping each other and supporting each other. The staff were always ready to not only educate you, but to help you achieve your goals and fix your problems." - Matthew P. (former student)




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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.