Thinking About Learning

Notes from Dearborn Academy

Over $30,000 Raised at Dearborn's 12th Annual Luncheon
mtringali ::: Program News

Harvey Leonard with Dearborn Students

Written by Lynne Jacoby

On Thursday, November 10th over 100 people gathered at Dearborn Academy for the 12th Annual Luncheon in support of the school and its students. Hosted by Harvey Leonard, Chief Meteorologist of WCVB-TV Channel-5, the event raised over $30,000 for improving technology resources and provided a forum to share some inspiring stories with supporters and friends.  

Bec Fischbach, a 2011 Dearborn graduate, shared her very personal story. Bec spoke of her struggles with illness and grief, and falling hopelessly behind academically in her public school. She became afraid that she would not be able to attend college, which was her dream. At Dearborn, Bec reported, she found the academic and personal supports she needed, and as a result gained a renewed sense of hope.

“Because of this school” said Bec, who is currently enrolled at UMass Boston, “I can honestly say that I now have a future. If I had stayed in my public school, I don’t know where I’d be.” Bec also found acceptance at Dearborn and came to the realization, based on the accepting attitude at Dearborn, "that people deal with things differently and we need to accept each other's differences". 

After  Bec spoke, Paula Fallon, whose daughter graduated Dearborn in June 2011, shared her family's story. Dearborn Academy's acceptance of different learning styles, coping mechanisms and life stories helped create a safe space for Paula Fallon’s daughter to flourish.

“My daughter, like Robert Frost, always walked the road less traveled” Paula Fallon told the Luncheon audience. Her daughter had been diagnosed with learning disabilities and was under stress from a series of family and personal tragedies. Fallon felt that the clear behavior system at Dearborn Academy, the intense counseling, and the low teacher to student ratio all helped her daughter succeed in earning a diploma.

What differentiated Dearborn from previous placements was the depth of care, the dedication, acceptance and warmth Dearborn staff showed in their work with her child. “This is not their job; it is their passion,” Fallon said of the extra steps staff took over the four years her daughter was enrolled at Dearborn Academy. It helped the entire Fallon family feel welcome and supported; they had ‘found a home’. 

Betsy McKeon, the Director of Special Education for the Framingham Public Schools, also spoke at the event, echoing the importance of Dearborn’s welcoming and accepting atmosphere. Responsible for finding placements for students who have more needs than the Framingham Public Schools can address, McKeon has worked with Dearborn for years to find the right individual solutions for students.

In addition to top notch services and the adoption of effective strategies, Dearborn’s inclusiveness was recognized by McKeon as a key asset. She values Dearborn’s creation of a team atmosphere when working with public school representatives, a sentiment she has heard from many parents as well, making Dearborn one more resource the school uses in their efforts to help students.

    View more photos from event.