“What sets Cushing apart is the quality of care, the levels of support, the campus setting and our long-standing history.

Come take a tour and see what Cushing has to offer.”

Nanette Rondeau

Nanette Rondeau
Director of Admissions

Our Schools

Hanover and Braintree, Mass

We are currently accepting new students on a rolling admissions basis, so your student can start at any time.

We will help you determine which programs are the best fit for individuals with complex developmental and intellectual disabilities, and behavioral and clinical challenges.

School Facts

Town Hanover, MA

School Style Campus

# of Students 98

Residential Option Yes

Vocational Training Yes

Total Teachers 15

Student Teacher Ratio 7:3

Bus Options Yes

Recreational Facilities Yes

Town Braintree, MA

School Style Single Building

# of Students 38

Residential Option No

Vocational Training Yes

Total Teachers 8

Student Teacher Ratio 5:3

Bus Options Yes

Recreational Facilities Yes

Please note: Students, teachers, and ratios are based on 2024 numbers.

Academic Programs

Customized Learning That Fits Your Student’s Abilities

Cushing provides students with mild to severe special needs a healthy environment for emotional, personal, and physical growth.

  • Customized academic curriculum for a wide variety of abilities
  • Small class sizes, licensed special ed teachers and dedicated support staff
  • Technology instruction and assistive skill development
  • Language, music, art, industrial arts and recreation programs
  • Community access via field trips, volunteerism and more
  • Access to counseling, behavioral supports, and nursing
  • Occupational, physical, speech & language therapy
  • Transition and vocational programs
  • Parent supports and training

As your student grows, additional transitional programs and vocational training will be introduced to maximize their success.

Nanette Rondeau

Programing Questions?

Cici teaching music class

“Performing arts, and especially music, are important to everyone’s mental and spiritual growth—but especially so for those who may not be able to express themselves fully with words.”

Cici Cimini – Performing Arts Instructor

Cici Cimini
Performing Arts Instructor

"Cushing had multiple programs to choose from, and their staff helped us determine the best fit for our daughter's personality and needs."

-Jerry V - A Cushing Parent

Residential Programs

Living Together, Learning Together with 24 Hour Care

Find out if Residential Life is right for your student – where the fun, the experiences and the care never end.

Residential Students Enjoy All Academic Day Programs, Plus:

  • Lively campus setting; live with friends
  • 24 hour, awake supervision
  • Low staff-to-student ratios
  • Residences that look and feel like home
  • Community outings for field trips, sports, groceries, etc.
  • Independent living skills: hygiene, health and wellness, cooking, laundry and more
Students preparing food at a Cardinal Cushing Residence

Transition and Vocational Services

Helping Your Student Transition From Student to Adult

For students ages 18-22, Cushing provides vocational training to help build confidence, learn valuable skills, and prepare for living and working in the community.

Transition Services Include:

  • Career awareness and interest programs
  • Self-advocacy and job acquisition skills
  • Job coach encouragement and support
  • Work experience opportunities on Cushing Campus
  • Culinary, Business, Recycling, Industrial Arts, Garden options
  • Comprehensive transition assessments
  • Volunteer, internships and paid employment options
  • Community employer network and supports
  • CORE Program work skills

Vocational Programs
Career Awareness and Employment Skills

Group of students and teachers in greenhouse tending flowers.

Vocational Programs

Quality instructional programs that aid students with career development, employment and transitions into Adult Programs

Our Goals:

  1. To assist students ages 18-22 in developing vocational skills
  2. To create a bridge from school to adult life through various opportunities
  3. To expose students to a wide range of workplace options
  4. To provide early vocational and transition services prior to graduation

Pathways to Success:
Our Vocational Programs provide every student with a continuum of career development opportunities that include:

  • Classroom-based career awareness and interests
  • Self-determination and self-advocacy skills
  • Job acquisition skills
  • Comprehensive transition assessment
  • Work experience within the Cushing community
  • Internships
  • Group supportive employment
  • Individual job coach supportive employment
  • Inclusive community employment
  • Employer natural supports
  • Post-secondary education and training

Life Skills Programs
Self Advocacy and Career Interest Skills

Student and Teacher working together in classroom using technology.

Our Life Skills Programs are open to students ages 16+, upon the recommendations of their IEP teams and the classroom teachers.

Life Skills Programs are designed to serve students who are ready to begin exploring employability skills, while still benefitting from the continuity and consistency of learning in a self-contained setting. Students work in a classroom setting on the social, personal and work skills needed for the workplace – including following directions, cooperation, accepting supervision, good attendance and punctuality, and meeting the demands and quality of work. Students are encouraged to explore a broad selection of career options, to develop a variety of career skills and learn about various work environments and employer expectations.

Cushing Work Sites
MarketPlace, Culinary and Industrial Arts Training Opportunities

The Cushing MarketPlace

In 2020, Cushing completed a $10 million development of open-to-the-public storefronts at the Cushing Hanover campus. These four shops- collectively called the MarketPlace - provide the perfect training ground for students to practice employment skills – while also engaging with the greater South Shore Community.

Cushing Cafe - This modern and vibrant café is a popular spot for Cushing staff, students and the greater South Shore community to grab coffee, breakfast, pastries, soups, salads and sandwiches – to eat in or to take out. Students practice a wide range of skills at the Café, including serving customers, counting change, making food, washing dishes, cleaning, and keeping inventory.

Unique Boutique - This site sells artwork, crafts and gifts that were made by Cushing students and adults, as well as other people with disabilities from across the country. Retail work includes using the cash register, stocking shelves, pricing items, cleaning, and keeping inventory. Students also take classes to learn to make pottery, jewelry, candles, soaps and more – to keep the Unique Boutique shelves stocked.

Take 2 Thrift Shop - Take 2 accepts donations, and students help to sort, hang, price and store clothing, as well as learning the register, cleaning, and moving inventory. When not attending to customers, students sort containers by size, brand, distributor, and perform routine cleaning tasks.

Recycling Center - Recycling Center students learn to recycle cans, bottles and paper. They collect recycling from around campus, count returns, sort items, and perform routine cleaning tasks.

Cushing Greenhouse and Garden Shop - Cushing Greenhouse students wait on customers and sell seasonal plants and flowers. They also make quality craft items, such as candles, soap, candies, and dried flower arrangements, which are sold in the shop. Students enjoy planting seeds and seedlings, watering, and caring for the plants. Many students also enjoy physical labor (e.g., preparing the garden, harvesting the crops, and being outside).

The Culinary Arts Program

The Culinary Arts program assists the Food Service Department in preparing and serving meals to staff and students. Some of the jobs include: cleaning and setting up dining rooms, making salads and preparing sandwiches, cooking hot meals, making desserts, portioning and serving meals, bussing trays, and completing all dish room tasks according to sanitary guidelines. Students set the dining rooms and wait on tables, practicing their social skills as they interact with their customers.

Teacher helping an individual at the Cushing WoodshopThe Woodworking and Industrial Arts program

The Woodworking and Industrial Arts program, part of our vocational offerings, allows students to work with wood and other raw materials. In addition to learning basic repair skills, program participants create items for their enjoyment and for sale in Cushing’s gift shop, the Unique Boutique. The Industrial Arts curriculum provides opportunities for enrichment in all areas—academic, social/emotional, and physical.

Add-On Programs and Public School Partnerships
Cushing and Non-Cushing Students

Cardinal Cushing Centers offers additional services to Cushing students, as well as non-Cushing students in conjunction with their public school. These programs, which meet both state and federal mandates, include:

  • Learn-A-Skill - Cushing and non-Cushing students receive one-on-one training in a particular vocational field to better prepare for future job opportunities. Choose from Culinary, Business, Recycling, Industrial Arts, and Agriculture training.
  • Vocational Assessment, Counseling and Placement – Cushing works with student, parents, agencies and IEP team to determine vocational options, suggest instruments and techniques to hone skills, and work to find an appropriate job match for the student.
  • Evaluation & Consulting Services - Available to all, this offering allows students from Cushing or any school district to receive qualified testing for speech & language, OT, PT, assistive technology, and transition assessments by our licensed staff.

Recreational Programs and Special Olympics

Available to any member of the special needs community

  • Recreational Add-Ons - Summer Camps, Field Trips, Games, Pool Time and Sports at our Hanover campus.
  • Special Olympics - Come join Cushing’s Special Olympics team in basketball, soccer, flag football, softball, cheerleading, and more!
Tom McElman

For More Information

Contact Tom McElman
or call (781) 829-1295

Student Life

Whether day or residential, Below are examples of a typical day

Day Student
Middle & High School

Time Activity
8:15AM Arrive at school
8:30AM Academic classes, specials (APE, Performing Arts, Art)
11:00AM Lunch in the cafeteria
11:30AM Social skills
12:00PM Sensory break, ADLs (bathroom, hand washing, etc.)
12:30PM Academic classes
2:00PM Leisure skills
2:30PM Prepare for dismissal
2:45PM Dismissal / bus home

Day Student
Post High School

Time Activity
8:15AM Arrive at school
8:30AM Functional academic classes, vocational skills, specials (APE, Performing Arts, Art)
11:00AM Lunch in the cafeteria
11:30AM Social skills
12:00PM Sensory break, ADLs (bathroom, hand washing, etc.)
12:30PM Functional academic classes & vocational skills
2:00PM Leisure skills
2:30PM Prepare for dismissal
2:45PM Dismissal / bus home

Day Student

Time Activity
8:15AM Arrive at school
8:30AM Functional academics
9:00AM Vocational site instruction
10:45AM Lunch in the cafeteria
11:15AM Functional academics
11:45AM Sensory break, ADLs (bathroom, hand washing, etc.)
12:30PM Vocational site instruction
2:00PM Leisure skills
2:30PM Prepare for dismissal
2:45PM Dismissal / bus home

Residential Student
The Above Schedules, Plus:

Time Activity
6:30AM Wake up
7:00AM Morning ADLs (brush teeth, etc), breakfast and medication
8:15AM Walk to school with school staff (1-1 staff if applicable)
*** Classes and Vocational Activities - See tracks above for more details ***
2:45PM Snack
3:00PM Afterschool program (Special Olympic Sports, dance group, bike riding, fishing, swimming, etc.)
4:30PM Dinner Preparation
5:30PM Dinner
6:00PM Dinner clean up / evening chores
7:00PM Medication time/ ADLs (showers, toothbrushing etc)
8:00PM Free time (phone calls, screen time, movies, games, music)
9:00PM Room time
9:30PM Lights out and overnight staff shift change
10:00PM Day staff depart

Cushing follows the same calendar as the local Hanover public school system.

Cushing Alumni Spotlight

Leigh Ann Barry

An advocate for herself and others

Alumni Profile: Leigh-Ann Barry It’s been nearly 15 years since Leigh-Ann Barry graduated from Cardinal Cushing Centers, but ...
Nanette Rondeau

For More Info

Additional Resources

Health and Behavioral Services

Our health and behavioral services team is comprised of three distinct clinical disciplines: Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Health. Learn More about our Clinical Services, 24-hour Nursing, or Behavior Care.

Family Resources

Ideas and information from Cushing staff and outside organizations including: Helpful Links, Parent Advisory Group, Handbooks, and Transition Planning.

We look forward to meeting you.

Contact us with questions or to book a visit.