High School Programs

  • Special education programs and services in Brookline are designed to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities in the least restrictive setting, meaning that regular education classrooms have the appropriate aids and support, alongside non-disabled peers as determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. Brookline offers several programs to meet the needs of students with disabilities, which are described below. Related services are also provided. The professional staff that delivers special education services are certified and trained to work with a wide range of students with specific disabilities. When the nature and/or severity of the student’s disability is such that a less restrictive environment with the use of supplementary aides and services would not meet the student’s needs consideration is given to district-wide programs and then to collaborative and out-of-district placements.

    Through the IEP team process, students can receive services in any composite program designed individually and drawing from our comprehensive resources.


    The Learning Centers are designed to provide a range of services to students with varied mild to moderate disabilities. Learning Centers focus on assisting students in meeting the curricular demands of each grade. In addition, specific services include but are not limited to direct instruction in reading, mathematics and written language. Learning Centers provide students with academic support and assistance in developing organizational skills, executive function skills and study skills. Small group instruction and individualized instruction are used to assist students in achieving individual student IEP goals. Learning Center special education teachers consult to general education staff members and to the parents as needed. Learning Center teachers also assist in the development and implementation of appropriate modifications and accommodations. Learning Centers provide students and teachers with a level of understanding for each student's disability(ies) and areas of strength as well as self-advocacy skills appropriate to the grade level of the student.

    In addition, Learning Centers servicing students age 14 and older assist students with transition planning and post-secondary planning. This may include some or all of the following: college preparatory support, exposure to services at the college level, development of individual transition plans, exploration of post-secondary employment options, and identification of areas of continued learning needed to enhance job skills and exposure to adult service agencies.


    The Bridge Program teaches skills to promote independence in the home, community, and workplace. It services students who have completed grades 9-12. Instruction and skill application may take place in the classroom, community and at various work sites. Students can receive individualized instruction and job support, as needed. This program services students ages 18-22 with developmental disabilities.


    The Community Based Classroom (CBC) serves high school students in grades 9-postgrad who have a wide range of disabilities including developmental, physical and cognitive disabilities. The goal of classroom instruction is to teach functional academics that can be used in real-life situations. Each student will receive the appropriate amount of 1:1 instruction throughout the day to optimize learning.


    The ExCEL program is a substantially separate therapeutic learning environment where community building and self-discovery are emphasized in order to improve student academic behavior and performance. Students will be active participants as they learn the skills needed to be successful in both academic and social settings. The ExCEL program is designed for students who benefit from daily structure, clear behavioral expectations, consistency, and a smaller community.


    The LAHB Program was designed in collaboration with the Landmark School consultants, with ongoing support that provides professional development to program staff. In addition, staff members have been trained in Wilson Reading and Orton-Gillingham techniques.

    LAHB supports offer students access to the general curriculum with additional intensive interventions in reading and writing. Students also access a specialized, language-based learning center. LAHB students exhibit language-based challenges but demonstrate average to above-average cognitive abilities; those who are self-motivated and independent benefit most from this model.


    Pathways to Social Communication, Integration and Inclusion is a program that provides a continuum of services to students who benefit from instruction in social communication, self-regulation, navigating the social world and managing the multiple academic and personal demands high school students face. The goal of this program is to help students become socially competent and successful learners who are engaged in the larger community.


    The RISE Program primarily serves students with diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorders, who may require intensive, individualized instruction and support. It functions as a home base for students and some students in the program participate in the full range of BHS course offerings; highly individualized discrete trial teaching is also available as is an instruction in functional academics.

    Integrated programming includes social learning instruction, communication services, organizational support, BCBA services, and daily living skill instruction.


    Transition Services are designed to help young adults with disabilities obtain and maintain employment by facilitating career exploration activities (i.e.  informational interviews, job shadowing opportunities and/or internships), identifying skills and interests, developing a range of career options, and ultimately securing employment in the community.


    Winthrop House, an off-site component of Brookline High School, provides a therapeutic Special Education alternative for students whose social and/or emotional problems has hindered success in a traditional setting.  The goal of Winthrop House is to break the cycle of difficulties some adolescents experience in school.  With its low student-teacher ratio, the program provides students individual support in an emotionally and physically safe environment, helping students build self-esteem, work toward academic potential, and experience positive peer interactions.