HEC Academy

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HEC Academy

Welcome to HEC Academy

Some students may need an alternative setting to be successful, either on a limited transitional or longer term basis.

HEC Academy offers a small-school learning environment with specific remediation and technology to address learning disabilities, as well as a structured, consistent, emotionally supportive environment based on positive reinforcement contingencies. Students work individually and in small groups on academics, social skills, recreation and community service, and earn credits towards high school graduation from their sending schools.

We offer to high school and middle school students and their sending schools a comprehensive system of services, with a solid reputation for successful preparation of students for MCAS testing, vocational preparedness, re-entry into regular public schools as appropriate, and post-high school college placement. CES programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Through small group and individualized instruction consistent with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, we work to provide our students with the tools, knowledge, and support they need to fully reach their potential.


HEC Academy students may also access transition-based skills training and work-study opportunities for work skills development. Grade 11 and Grade 12 students may have the opportunity to incorporate work-study experiences into their programs through partnerships with local businesses. There may also be dual enrollment opportunities at Holyoke Community College. Students with an interest have the option to enroll in college courses during the program; and may apply for funding for courses to the Ben DeMarino Scholarship Fund.

Our Philosophy

We design our classroom activities and behavioral supports in all our programs so that students are rewarded for what they are doing right rather than punished for what they are doing wrong. We believe this approach supports students to develop a positive attitude toward learning so they can find success in their school work, social relationships and future work experience. The goal is for students to obtain a high school diploma and transition to post-secondary education and/or employment.

Our Students

Age Range: Students from 14 - 21
HEC Academy is designed for high school age students with a wide range of learning styles and needs.

Students in our Alternative Learning Program at HEC Academy generally have average to above average cognitive ability, who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or social-emotional challenges and have demonstrated the need for more intensive levels of academic, social and emotional support than most public schools can provide. HEC Academy is not an appropriate placement for students who require any level of physical intervention.


Regular school-day hours, Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 2:30pm

Located at HEC Academy, 228 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA


Supervised by the Program Coordinator, the staff includes Special Education Teachers, Content Teachers, an on-site Clinician/Counselor, Assistant Teachers, Paraprofessionals and Specialists. Additional 1:1 support may be provided on an interim basis at the request of the referring school district. Throughout the day, an on-site clinician/counselor is available to provide ongoing, informal counseling; and if enrolled more than 30 days, students participate in a weekly session with a licensed therapist. Related clinical specialist services are incorporated based on individual student needs.

To learn about enrollment and referral of students to our programs, visit our enrollment page.

For more information, contact: 
Director of Special Education
413.586.4900 x5260
Special Education Program student activities