Two people skiing outside in the winter


Life skills & academics

Designed for high school students ages 14 through 22, our Secondary school offers individual and group instruction with the goals of developing organizational, reasoning, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. From a high school-level geometry course to household management and job-seeking strategies, we provide the skills and know-how for every one of our young adults to develop to their full potential.

Residential living

Many Secondary students live on campus, which enhances the development of self-determination and self-esteem in addition to friendships and social skills. Different levels of responsibility are offered as students progress through the various residences.

Daily living skills are emphasized in all programs, and students are encouraged to develop as much independence as possible through:

  • Menu and food preparation
  • Housekeeping responsibilities
  • Orientation and mobility
  • The use of community resources and other skills necessary for adult living

What to expect

Academics and life skills both have an important place in the Secondary School curriculum. Instruction, which incorporates the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, is designed to teach academics such as reading, writing, math and science, as well as compensatory skills such as assistive technology and braille. We focus on skills such as communication, self-advocacy and problem solving to increase each student’s participation in the community as an involved, civic-minded individual.

Our offerings also include physical education, music and art. Students may also participate in after-school study halls, team sports and other extracurricular activities. Students who plan to attend college frequently enroll in a course at a local community college to experience learning in larger groups and additional challenges.

Creative arts

  • Voice and instrumental instruction including chorus, chamber singers, Music Makers, Piano, orchestra, hand bells, and more
  • Braille music studies
  • Music technology
  • Multisensory art studies
  • Crafts and creative

Independent living

  • Orientation and mobility
  • Community experience
  • Adult living
  • Home and personal management
  • Handwriting
  • Health/Sex education
  • Social skills
  • Personal care assistant (PCA) management

Physical education

  • Adapted physical education (APE)
  • Modified fitness
  • Wheelchair adapted physical education
  • Large group games
  • Swimming
  • Access to community recreation

Individual skill classes

  • Metalworking
  • Woodworking
  • Weaving
  • Prevocational horticulture training

Work activities

  • Sales and office practice
  • Work skills training
  • Work activities
  • On and off-campus work experience

Food service

  • General food service skills
  • Recipe preparation
  • “To go” sandwich/salad preparation


Perkins classes

In addition to academics, we offer a few key classes that prepare our students for the post-high school transition.

  • Adult living: This course teaches students how to look for housing, how to access medical care, general safety including Red Cross First Aid and an explanation of electrical, heating and plumbing systems. It also shows them how to pay bills, develop a support system and more.
  • Vocational planning: This course teaches students how to prepare their resumes, create plans for after their graduation, visiting colleges or potential job sites, tackle the job application process and more.
A young female student and her teacher practicing signing at a table in a classroom.

Ongoing projects

Because of Perkins’ history and reputation, many organizations want to partner with us. Here are just a couple of the projects we are involved in to give our students rich educational experiences:

A student feels a whale skeleton.
Whale Watch on Wednesday May 31, 2017 in Gloucester.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Several field trips of Perkins students have gone down to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod to work with Dr. Amy S. Bower, an oceanographer who is blind. 

A paint brush and paint strokes on blue paper

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We’ve partnered with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to show our students the world of art. Museum staff members have visited the Perkins campus to teach students about art, and students visit the museum on a regular basis. The MFA has also set up exhibits specifically for our students to give them access to fine art.

Specially trained staff

Our educators work as part of a passionate, interdisciplinary team of related services staff to provide a multitude of services, including:

  • Certified braille instructors
  • Assistive technology specialists
  • Dual-media specialists
  • ABA therapist
  • Certified teachers of the visually impaired
  • Adapted math and science educators

Contact Perkins

Start the conversation.

Want to learn more about how your student can thrive at Perkins? Our Admissions team is standing by to answer your questions.

A young girl and her mother embracing with joy in front of a fountain.

We can’t wait for your student to join us.

Is your student ready to start their journey at Perkins? We’re here to support you every step of the way.