Almost six months ago John Dewey Academy, like many educational and therapeutic institutions, faced a very uncertain future. We closed our campus and attempted to serve our students virtually. A few weeks into “Virtual Dewey” the long-time owners of the school, weighing the challenges of operating in the era of COVID, informed senior leadership of their plans to close the school at the end of the term. I proposed an alternative and on May 7th ownership of the school transferred to me. I re-organized the school as a non-profit institution and with the encouragement of the longtime owners, a government loan, some timely bequests from the Dewey community and the extraordinary efforts of our staff of teachers, clinicians, and other professionals we were able to return students to campus beginning May 13th, and we continue to be open as “Actual Dewey” four months later, the first school in New England to close for COVID and then re-open successfully.
As I’ve suggested, credit for our success should be widely distributed, but foremost, I think, it should go to our new clinical director, Megan Czaja, whose energy, insight and vision have sustained the school as we have rebuilt our program, drawing on the best of our long-standing traditions as well as seizing on COVID as an opportunity to innovate across the board – in therapeutics, academics, residential and pragmatics. We have a solid and growing community of students, a young and energetic staff and a leadership invigorated by the challenge of preparing the John Dewey Academy for the next thirty-five years of its mission. And most recently we have located our new campus which will be home to what we envision will be many generations of future Dewey students.
Without jinxing the moment, then, I can say with confidence that we are back, and back to stay. To all who helped and who stuck by us, infinite gratitude.
David E Baum
Head of School