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Dearborn STEM Academy


School Website:

Guiding Principles:

Mastery-Based Learning; Trans-Disciplinary Curriculum; Design-Focused and Real-World Learning; Personalization; Collaborative Partnerships; and Small Learning Communities.


Grade 6-12, 600-student STEM Academy, four-story, new construction, 120,000 SF, completed 2018.

Design Features:

Central Atrium and Commons Space; Distributed Administrative Centers; Cohort Commons Areas; Science and STEM Labs; Flexible Indoor and Outdoor Classrooms; Fabrication Labs, Dance Studio, LEED Silver designation.



Boston, Massachusetts

Part of a major city initiative to improve Boston public schools, this new neighborhood STEM middle- high school has almost no corridors, but rather interconnected small learning communities organized around a light-filled central atrium and community gathering space.

As the first newly constructed school for the Boston public school system in 15 years, the Dearborn STEM Academy is a far cry from the century-old building it replaced within the heart of Boston’s Dudley Square neighborhood. Planning for the forward-thinking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program involved extensive coordination by community and school leadership, and took place over a period of more than 10 years. The purpose-built STEM facility supports project and problem-based teaching and learning, integrated curriculum development and delivery, team teaching, faculty and student collaboration, flexible scheduling and full-technology integration.

The building is organized around a large light-filled atrium space that serves as the school’s dining commons and central gathering area. Students cohorts are organized within grade 6-7, 8-10 and 11-12 learning communities, each with their own distributed administrative offices and cohort commons area overlooking the central atrium. Spaces that support STEM delivery have been designed to foster small group learning, collaboration, hybrid learning, project-based exploration and community engagement.

New Vista was hired by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to conduct a feasibility study for renovation of the Dearborn’s existing classical school facility. When it was determined that renovation of the building into a collaborative and flexible STEM environment would be too costly, New Vista worked closely with Dearborn leadership, JLA architects and the local Dudley Square community to ensure that the aspirational vision for the new building was clearly articulated, appropriate detailed and fully realized.

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