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Cotting School, Inc.

 453 Concord Avenue
 Lexington, MA 02421
[P] (781) 862-7323
[F] (781) 861-1179
Elizabeth Peters
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 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2104328

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

To enable students with special needs to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence.

Mission Statement

To enable students with special needs to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $14,397,138.00
Projected Expense $14,397,138.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • 1. Cotting School
  • 2. Supplemental Services
  • 3. Project Bridges
  • 4. Capstone Program
  • 5. Cotting Consulting

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

To enable students with special needs to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence.

Background Statement

Founded as an experiment in 1893 by two Children’s Hospital surgeons, Doctors Bradford and Thorndike, Cotting School was the first day school of its kind for students with physical disabilities. From its first classes, which were held in a church basement, Cotting has evolved into a national model of excellence in special education.  Today, Cotting is a Chapter 766-approved private day school, with programs fully approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Cotting is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Impact Statement


~ Offered a new option for students ages 17–22 to attend Cotting’s day program and live at HOPEhouse to address residential and transitional needs after 3:00 p.m.

~ Developed a Core Word Literacy program that integrates augmentative communication for students with complex communication needs.

~ Inaugurated a Director of Transition Services to oversee our Project Bridges Program, develop additional, community-based, work experiences for students, facilitate transition meetings with families, and coordinate with our Guidance Counselor regarding adult services.

~Expanded vocational and transitional programming to provide our students with a large variety of work and independent living experiences that prepare them for transition to adulthood.

~Continue creative writing classes which have produced wonderful projects that have broadened students’ thinking and writing skills, resulting in a revitalized digital literary magazine.



~Introducing Capstone, a new program level for students ages 18-22, which combines and integrates vocational, academic, independent living, and transition skills in a plan for transition to adulthood.
~ Implement a new school-wide math curriculum, which will focus on math skills and real-life applications related to time, money, calendar, problem-solving, language-based number sense and/or more traditional math skills, such as algebra, geometry, statistics, and probability.

~Continue to offer our adaptable, standards-based, Science curriculum with the addition of a dedicated Science classroom and teacher! Students will be conducting interactive experiments, using maker spaces, exploring coding, and using design thinking alongside the scientific method.

~ Continue our multimedia Performing Arts program, which has opened up new venues of creativity for students in video, song, and multimedia productions.

~ Offer additional and new vocational and enrichment electives to Upper School and Capstone students to encourage students’ choice-making, differentiation, and self-advocacy.

Needs Statement

  • With Capstone this year, our expenses increase as we enroll students with You’re With Us!, provide transportation and job coaching for 77 weekly off-site community work experiences, and meet tuition for students dually enrolled in Cotting and community college. $542,000 annually


  • Dynamic, flexible professional development that allows us to meet a wide range of needs/interests. We serve a diverse student population, addressing teachers and therapists at all stages of their careers, integrating technology and therapy services into our instruction, and applying best practices to our service delivery. $50,000 annually

  • We were a leader in developing FalconNet, our intra-Cotting system incorporating medical, vision, therapeutic and academic records. Cost for backup and IT support. $25,000 annually

  • Our community of diverse learners cannot be served by any one curriculum; a “one size fits all” approach does not work. We function like a school district serving these needs; we use an array of curricula/materials in math, literacy, and science. $15,000 annually

  • Equipment such as new standers and trikes for physical therapy, a 3-D printer for the Science classroom, and SmartBoards, ChromeBooks, and iPads $25,000


CEO Statement

Since 1893, we are the story of evolution in the field of educating children with special needs.

Our students have changed. For example, Cotting School no longer serves students with Potts Disease or polio, and the founders of the school could never have imagined that many of the children who thrive today would have survived birth.

Cotting School is the story of adaptation and teamwork.

It is the story of remembering and building upon our rich history and our successful work with children. But it is also about becoming something MORE each year. Our staff of highly skilled educators and therapists move forward together, always innovating, while ensuring that Cotting School never becomes static, a place trapped in time.

Cotting is a place of contradictions and surprises. Here, sometimes things are not always as they appear to be. When people come to visit the school for the first time, they often expect to see kids who are sad and staff who are tired. They find the opposite is true. Our students are happy and our staff is energized and creative.

I find tenaciousness in our students. They each have a fighting spirit, a 'I can do it' toughness that has helped each of them overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. At the same time there is tenderness as they treat others with exquisite kindness.

The world often measures success the wrong way: where you live, how many things you own, how much money you make, or how much your car costs. This is the wrong way to measure success.

To assess the true measure of success you need to answer the following question: Did YOU do your BEST with the gifts that YOU were given? Every day our students give us their best.

Our biggest challenge is to ensure that we recognize that our students have special talents. Therefore,Cotting School’s goal is to enable our students with special needs to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence.


Board Chair Statement


Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Massachusetts-All Regions
Cotting serves 120 students from 74 cities and towns throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Special Education
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



1. Cotting School

Cotting’s preschool, lower, middle, and upper schools and Capstone program offer academic instruction focusing on a variety of skills and content areas, vocational assessment, and training. Therapies are integrated into classroom instruction as much as possible, and the staff fosters student independence at all times.  Our Family Support Coordinator works as an advocate for parents, ensuring their needs are met when they first arrive. We encourage active parent involvement through Parent Advisory Committee meetings and the Cotting Family Builders, which promotes communication between families and the School and sponsors events for families and staff.  

Budget  $14,000,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Elementary & Secondary Education
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

1. Continue to embody the ideals of an inclusive community that challenge traditional notions of inclusion, diversity and participation by offering numerous opportunities for student participation and parent feedback and consulting outreach to all MA school districts.

2. 100% of Middle and Upper School students (70% of our student population) access the community weekly or bi-weekly to reinforce lessons and gain valuable work experience. These community inclusion experiences not only expand our students’ learning but also help educate the public about the abilities of our students.

3. 100% of students from 75 different cities and towns are given the opportunity to participate in ALL sport and social activities after school.

4. 90% of teachers at Cotting hold an advanced degree in their field.

5. Continue to explore, pilot and implement the use of cutting edge technology that allows students to gain meaningful academic experiences and function as independently as possible.

6. Creatively adapting our program, we accommodate the medically fragile students who attend our program.

Program Long-Term Success 

1. Using research and metrics, Cotting School will lead the conversation about outcomes for children with special needs.

2. Cotting School will implement a broad and flexible professional development model that meets the unique needs of our diverse faculty and invites other professionals to join us in both learning and teaching best practices in working with students with special needs.

3. Cotting School will initiate a variety of outreach programs, including professional development, parent workshops and direct services to students, which target underserved populations nationally.

4. Cotting School will develop an entrepreneurial enterprise that provides valuable work experience to current students and opportunities for gainful employment to Cotting alumni.

Program Success Monitored By 

Program Success Monitored By Program success is measured by adherence to each student's Individual Education Plan (IEP), which is subject to annual review and goal setting by parents, district personnel, and the student's educational team, including teachers, therapists, guidance personnel. From the age of fourteen, students are included in the IEP process as well.

Examples of Program Success 

Success Stories:

1. An alumnus who controls his power wheel chair and communication device with head controls passed the MCAS exam, graduated with a diploma from his school district, and is now a student at a community college.

2. A Middle School student with an uncontrollable seizure disorder, who had previously been home schooled because of her complex medical needs, is able to fully participate in all aspects of our program, including community trip experiences and after school activities.

3. A 22-year-old graduate with cognitive disabilities used the skills she acquired in her class and community work experience to secure an internship after graduation. With those skills and a strong work ethic, this young woman parlayed this internship into a paid position four days per week.


2. Supplemental Services

Supplemental Services provides 100% of our students, including Preschool students, opportunities to:
  • develop gross motor skills necessary for individual/team sports
  • increase self-esteem, self-confidence, interpersonal relationships and self-worth
  • improve social adjustment
  • participate in structured leisure, informational and supportive activities
  • Experience/learn new skills, which increase leisure activities and fun

Activities vary and range from:

  • Enrichment: technology/iPad apps, fitness, dance, theater, karate, music, golf, soccer, conditioning, cooking
  • Athletics: basketball, cheerleaders, Special Olympics, Saturday soccer/softball leagues, a ski trip
  • Dances/Friday-evening social activity
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Our team of teachers, therapists, and Supplemental Service providers work closely together to maximize each student’s progress and independence. The fact that 100% of Cotting students and 25 alumni per year participate in one or more of our Supplemental Services programs indicate to us one solid measure of success. While alumni participation indicates the quality of our programs, it also shows how little is offered outside Cotting; there is a lack of alternatives for our students once they graduate.
Program Long-Term Success  We are in the process of formally surveying our alumni to determine how many of them live independently, are employed, and are involved in their communities. We hope this data will provide a means to help measure of their and our success, but our data is not yet complete.
Program Success Monitored By  We survey our parent body frequently and hear that our offerings stand out because each student is actively involved and fully engaged in all aspects of the activity, learning social skills while coincidentally participating in the activity.Parents see progress in skill building, confidence building, developing social connections and friendships, all of which are a challenge for our students.
Examples of Program Success 
In our students, increased
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Self-worth
  • Improved social adjustment

3. Project Bridges

Project Bridges is Cotting School’s community-based volunteer work experience program. Our students work with local employers to develop vocational and transitional skills. This program also builds and sustains connections between our school and the surrounding community so that our students are empowered to view themselves as workers and as vital members of the greater community outside their home and school. Students contribute to the productivity and morale of the worksites while advocating for their individual needs and applying their skills in a professional setting. Our students work weekly off site with a job coach. Our oldest students are offered the opportunity to work twice a week.

Project Bridges benefits the workplace by:

  • Consistently and reliably meeting production needs and expectations
  • Forging lasting connections between students and co-workers
  • Educating businesses about accommodations for workers with disabilities
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Vocational Education
Population Served People/Families with of People with Disabilities People/Families with People of Developmental Disabilities People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success 

We have made strides in helping alums find their next step after Cotting by placing them in a Project Bridges job in their community during their last year here. Other students have been dually enrolled at Cotting and a community college, smoothing their full-time status as a student once they reach age 22. Also, several of our recent alums have been offered paying jobs upon graduation by employers they have met through Project Bridges.


Program Long-Term Success 

We have made strides in helping alums find their next step after Cotting by placing them in a Project Bridges job in their community during their last year here. Other students have been dually enrolled at Cotting and a community college, smoothing their full-time status as a student once they reach age 22. Also, several of our recent alums have been offered paying jobs upon graduation by employers they have met through Project Bridges.


Program Success Monitored By 

We survey our parent body frequently and hear that our offerings stand out because each student is actively involved and fully engaged in all aspects of the activity, learning social skills while coincidentally participating in the activity. Parents see progress in skill building, confidence building, developing social connections and friendships, all of which are a challenge for our students.


Examples of Program Success 
In our students, increased
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Self-worth
  • Improved social adjustment

4. Capstone Program

Capstone is a culminating experience for Cotting students ages 18-22. An optimal mix of academics, vocational opportunities, and transition skills that best suits each individual student, Capstone bridges their high school special education experience to a structured, stimulating, and inclusive adult service environment upon turning 22.


  • Increases and diversifies our vocational and transitional offerings
  • Offers the right experiences at more appropriate ages
  • Better aligns our program offerings with our current student demographics

In addition to our regular Upper School programming, Capstone will offer students:

  • Project Bridges community work experience twice weekly
  • Job development in their home community
  • Inclusive college experiences
  • Vocational electives
  • Full year of Transition Elective
  • Half year of World of Work
  • Science once per week

Also, through the You’re With Us! Program at Brandeis University, we aim to bridge students’ high school special education services to structured, stimulating, and inclusive adult service environments upon turning 22.

Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Vocational Education
Population Served College Aged (18-26 years)
Program Short-Term Success  .
Program Long-Term Success  .
Program Success Monitored By  .
Examples of Program Success  .

5. Cotting Consulting

Cotting Consulting provides individualized solutions for access and independence. We match Cotting Consultants to the unique needs of each student, family and educational team with flexible solutions that build capacity and accommodate your budget. Our services support students using a range of tools related to

  • Augmentative and Alternative
  • Communication
  • Assistive Technology
  • Curriculum Modification
  • Executive Functioning
  • Literacy and Math

Our Consultants support staff by:

  • Using best practices for technology integration
  • Conducting evaluations
  • Providing professional development opportunities
  • Providing teaching and therapeutic interventions
  • Assisting with curriculum access modification and alternative assessment
  • Implementing tools and strategies
  • Monitoring student progress
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other Guidance & Counseling
Population Served Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) College Aged (18-26 years)
Program Short-Term Success  .
Program Long-Term Success  .
Program Success Monitored By  .
Examples of Program Success  .

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We at Cotting School are proud of our long history of innovative services on behalf of our students.  We have consistently and creatively adapted our program to meet the needs of the students in our community.  For this reason, we follow the national discussion about education reform with great interest.  We are excited about the prospects of improving education for all students.  However, we are concerned that the unique needs of students with disabilities have not fully been addressed in these initiatives.  For this reason, we are vigorously pursuing better methods of assessing and documenting outcomes for our students in order to better represent the perspective of special education in this important national conversation.


CEO/Executive Director Mr. David W. Manzo M.Ed.
CEO Term Start July 2004
CEO Email
CEO Experience A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, Dave received a B.A. from Boston College (Summa Cum Laude), was named Scholar of the College and awarded the Order of the Cross and Crown. At Harvard University he received an M.Ed. with a concentration in Administration, Planning and Social Policy.

From 1984 until 2004, Dave served as President and Executive Director of COMPASS, a community-based nonprofit organization in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. COMPASS provides special education and enrichment services to high-risk, inner-city children.

Before joining COMPASS, Dave worked for many years with low income and homeless people in Boston. He is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pine Street Inn and currently serves on the Board.

Since 1980, Dave has taught at Boston College. His courses have included "Values in Social Services" and "Health Care in Boston: An Urban Analysis."

A member of the Board of Directors of MAAPS, Dave is also on the Board of the Children's League of Massachusetts.

Dave and his wife, Noreen, live in Boston's South End. Their son, Lou, a graduate of Boston College and Georgetown Law School, is employed as a Federal Prosecutor by the Department of Justice.

In July 2004, Dave became only the sixth President of Cotting School, which was founded in 1893.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Mr. Carl W. Mores Ed.D. July 1984 June 2004
Mr. William J. Carmichael M.Ed. Sept 1955 June 1984

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Ann Buckley M.Ed. Curriculum Specialist Opportunity has such an impact on our ability to be successful in life. I believe that every single student deserves the opportunity to learn in a safe, welcoming environment. They deserve the opportunity to see others like themselves succeed. Every little moment, every little chance matters so much for our students. Sometimes, just the opportunity to put your own name at the top of your paper for the first time can mean a world of difference. So many people with disabilities struggle to access everyday opportunities in our society.  I am so proud to be in a place that creates possibility for all students. Learning is the key. If I can create even one new chance, one new option in life for a student, one new path to learning, I feel like all my efforts have been worthwhile.
Ms. Bridget K. Irish M.B.A., S.P.H.R. Chief Operating Officer I believe every student deserves a teaching faculty and staff that feel passionate about their work and are dedicated to their students’ progress. I feel so proud to work at a school where the staff exemplifies this ideal.  Not only are these professionals consistently challenging themselves to develop new and innovative ways to teach our students, they are committed to working together to see what their students can do for themselves.  My goal is to support our staff to ensure they have the encouragement, resources and training they need so that every member of the Cotting community is able to reach his or her highest potential.  In return, I am invigorated by the amazing opportunities we create for our students and by the eagerness with which Cotting students rise to these challenges.
Ms. Krista Macari M.S., CCC-SLP Chief Academic Officer

It's hard to come to Cotting and not be transformed by your experience here.  For students that means learning, developing new skills, gaining independence, making friends, and building confidence. Each student is valued for their unique constellation of abilities and challenges. Our whole program centers on managing barriers to learning so that students have the opportunity to transform their lives in ways they and their families may not have imagined possible.   

Cotting impacts staff in many of the same ways. I have experienced many personal and professional transformations in my work here, first as a communication therapist and later as an administrator. Nowhere can you find a more talented, dedicated and hardworking group of professionals to learn from and grow with. Being at Cotting has taught me patience, perseverance, and teamwork. Each person is committed to the success and support of our school's mission. Each day brings a new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students with disabilities.  It's hard not to be changed by a place like that.
Mr. Michael Pembroke M.B.A. Chief Financial Officer It is a privilege to serve as the CFO of Cotting School.  Cotting is a first rate educational institution and arguably the best in its purpose and achievement. Many great students, faculty, staff, and volunteers have worked together over many years to achieve the highest possible outcomes for our students. All who work at the School understand and believe in the School's mission and focus on the student and feel proud to contribute to this wonderful learning environment. With great enthusiasm, I look forward to the future where there is much more good work to do.
Ms. Elizabeth Peters M.S. Director of Advancement Education is a tradition in my family. I have spent my entire career working in schools and have been on all sides of the desk as student, teacher, parent, and administrator. My work at Cotting gives me the opportunity to tell impressive stories about our amazing, hard-working students. Beneath that is our larger mission to educate the public about the need for full accessibility and inclusivity in general. I am proud to spread the good word about Cotting School because it has always strived for innovation and excellence in this arena.
Ms. Elizabeth Russell M.A., C.A.G.S. Director of Admissions

When I started working at Cotting in 1995, I really had no idea that my career had taken me to such an amazing place where I could feel a deep sense of community and support amongst my colleagues, my students and their families.  Cotting School is a special place; you can feel this the moment you first walk in the doors.  At Cotting, I am surrounded by remarkable students who inspire me in the ways they overcome obstacles, gain confidence, develop genuine friendships and grow and mature in extraordinary ways.  At Cotting I am surrounded by amazing staff and colleagues who are highly skilled and professional and who care greatly for each other as well as for their students.  

In my tenure at Cotting I have worn a number of different hats.  First I worked as the Director of Guidance and had the wonderful opportunity to work directly with our older students in a counseling and transition planning capacity.  Later, I took on the Director of Admissions role and in this role I have had the opportunity to meet many prospective families and teachers and administrators from public school districts. I am the person who gets the privilege of welcoming new students and families to our special community.  I give many tours and feel like I see Cotting from fresh eyes every day.  I see folks who are visiting for the first time who already feel that sense of community spirit and caring right from the get go.  I see the amazement in their eyes as they see all the cutting edge technology that our students and teachers use and view our impressive facility.  

Cotting is truly a unique and special place and I welcome visitors to take a first hand look at all the amazing things that happen under our roof on any given day! I feel fortunate to have landed at Cotting and appreciate the many aspects of this community that have given me a sense of fulfillment both personally and professionally.
Ms. Leah Thibodeau M.Ed., C.A.G.S. Special Education Coordinator I have always had a firm belief that collaborative teamwork is key to supporting students to reach their potentials. Fostering partnerships between staff, parents and school districts is of significant importance in my work with students who require special education services. There is nothing more rewarding than the opportunity to facilitate a team process that leads to the development of attainable goals that are in each student’s best interest. Though there are times when conflicting views can challenge this group effort, it’s always important to remain focused on the needs of our students to be able to come to constructive resolutions.
Ms. Pamela Varrin Ph.D. Family Support Coordinator

I came to Cotting with experience as both a clinical psychologist and the parent of a child with disabilities.  Previously working in the community mental health system and then in private practice in the Boston area, I was particularly interested in understanding what helped individuals and families retain and develop resilience in the face of serious illness, disability, and other forms of trauma.  From my dual perspective as parent and professional, at Cotting I strive to be responsive to and learn from each family’s experience and needs in contributing to a supportive community.  Through sharing information and nurturing the experience of belonging, I pursue the goal of maintaining a safe, reliable, and empowering community for families raising children with disabilities.

We all feel supported when we feel heard and understood, when we know that our experience and expertise brings something valued to the table.  The education and development of children with special needs is a high-stakes endeavor for all involved, requiring ongoing and multiple complex conversations in working toward the goal of the best possible future for each individual child.  If we can all use our experience and perspective to make these conversations feel better and more productive for both professionals and families, then together we can do something very important for our students.

Ms. Larainne Wilson M.Ed. Director of Upper School Services I am committed to a model of shared leadership and responsibility for teaching and learning.  As an administrator, being able to be a regular, active participant in each of the Upper School classrooms makes this model a reality. It is important that students, parents and school staff are committed to working together for success. I believe that student success can be measured in many ways: academic gains, increased flexibility and becoming more independent. Working collaboratively with staff to allow and encourage students to do what they are able to do for themselves and help only as much as necessary is one of the many highlights of my position. In this way, we are all advocates for children and young adults with disabilities.


Award Awarding Organization Year
Finalist, Excellence in Communications Award Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2012


Affiliation Year
Association of Independent Schools of New England 2018
Children’s League of Massachusetts 2018
International Association of Special Education 2018
Massachusetts Association of 766-Approved Private Schools 2018
Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers 2018
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology 2018
National Association of Private Schools for Exceptional Children 2018
New England Handicapped Sports Association (NEHSA) 2018
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
New England Association of Schools and Colleges 2009


AccesSport America
Amplifi, Andover
Barry University, Miami Shores, Florida
Best Buddies of Massachusetts
Boston College
Boston Medical Center
Boston University's Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Buddy Dog Humane Society
Cambridge Public Library, O'Neill Branch
Children's Hospital Boston
deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum
Discovery Museum, Acton
Donelan's Supermarkets
Drumlin Farm Wildlife
Drumlin Farm Preschool
Eastern Mountain Sports
Emerson College Clinical Training Program
Epicurean Feast
Home Goods, Bedford
Inn at Hastings Park
Lahey Medical Center, Lexington
Lincoln Public Library
Magic Garden Children's Center
Mahoney's Garden Center
Massachusetts Special Olympics
New England College of Optometry
Northeast Animal Shelter, Salem
Northeastern University's Bouve College of Health Sciences
Phinney's Friends, Lincoln
Physical Therapy Associates of Concord
Perkins School for the Blind
Phinney's Friends
Physical Therapy Associates of Concord
Radio Perkins
Regis College
Salem State College
Sancta Maria Nursing Facility
Sebastian's Catering, Burlington
Shire Pharmaceuticals
TJ Maxx, Acton
TJ Maxx, Bedford
True Value by Ideal, Waltham
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
United Church of Christ, Burlington
VA Medical Center, Bedford
Wagon Wheel Nursery and Farm Stand
Waltham Crossings
Waltham Police Department
Waltham YMCA
Waypoint Adventure
Wheelock College
Whole Foods, Bedford

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 110
Number of Part Time Staff 46
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 87%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 150
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 127
Male: 29
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Accident and Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Automobile Insurance and Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Blanket Personal Property
Boiler and Machinery
Business Income
Commercial General Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional
Commercial General Liability and Medical Malpractice
Computer Equipment and Software
Corporal Punishment Liability
Crime Coverage
Directors and Officers Policy
Disability Insurance
Educators Errors and Omission Liability
Employee Benefits Liability
Employee Dishonesty
Employment Practices Liability
Fiduciary Liability
General Property Coverage
General Property Coverage and Professional Liability
Improper Sexual Conduct/Sexual Abuse
Life Insurance
Medical Health Insurance
Medical Malpractice
Professional Liability
Property in Transit and Off Premises
Special Event Liability
Umbrella or Excess Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Workplace Violence

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually


Board Chair Mr. David Charles Cushing C.F.A.
Board Chair Company Affiliation Financial Services Executive
Board Chair Term Oct 2016 - Oct 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Henry W. Clark Esq. Clark, Hunt, Ahern & Embry Voting
Mr. Timothy J. Connelly Massachusetts Technology Collaborative --
Mr. David C. Cushing CFA Financial Services Executive Voting
Mr. Patrick Downes Psy.D. Author --
Mr. John Drake Accenture Voting
Mr. Michael Durkin CEO, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley Voting
Mr. H. Phelps Edwards Jr. Retired Exofficio
Mr. Charles T. Haydock CFA Welch & Forbes Exofficio
Mr. Richard Keeley Dean, Boston College Voting
Mr. Raymond L. Killian Jr. Investment Technology Group, Inc. (retired) Voting
Mr. D. Eliot Klein Cambridge Trust Company Voting
Mr. David S. Lee Retired Exofficio
Mr. David W. Manzo M.Ed. President, Cotting School Voting
Ms. Makeeba McCreary Ph.D. Abekam Consulting Voting
Ms. Anne Phillips Ogilby Esq. Ropes & Gray Exofficio
Mr. Stuart A. Randle GI Dynamics, Inc. Voting
Ms. Katherine Martien Sullivan M.D. Clinical Research Director, TRANSCEND Voting
Mr. Alexander Thorndike Century Capital Voting
Mrs. Joan I. Thorndike Brookline, MA Voting
Mr. John L. Thorndike Fiduciary Trust Company (retired) Exofficio
Mrs. Elise Wallace Sherborn, MA Exofficio

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Marianne Arcieri Parent volunteer Voting
Ms. Kathy Callahan Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Joan Davenport Parent Volunteer Voting
Mr. Patrick Davenport Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Susan Dykens Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Paulette Farmer Parent Volunteer Voting
Mr. Peter Farmer Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Tracey Hutchinson Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Elaina Kourepenos Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Stacey LaVangie Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Tiffany Lund Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Janet Montecalvo Parent Volunteer Voting
Mr. Glenn Paster Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Maureen Piotrowski Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Mary Raymond Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Adriana Reguera Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Rebecca Stevenson Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Erica Supple Parent Volunteer Voting
Ms. Barbara Talbot Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Meera Yuvaraj Parent Volunteer Voting

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Patricia M. Annino Esq. Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye Voting
Mr. R. Bradford Bailey Esq. Denner Pellegrino, LLP Voting
Mr. John Beach Bridges Associates Voting
Ms. Julie Bickel M.D. Children's Hospital Voting
Mr. Walter Cabot Retired Voting
Ms. Nancy Carlson O.D. New England College of Optometry Voting
Mr. Timothy J. Connelly Brown Brothers Harriman Voting
Mr. John Emans M.D. Children's Hospital Voting
Mr. Andrew Feinberg Esq. Lycos Voting
Ms. Laurie Glader M.D. Children's Hospital Voting
Mr. Paul Goodof Financial Advisor --
Ms. Susan M. Halby Community Volunteer Voting
Ms. Elizabeth Harstad M.D. Children's Hospital Voting
Mr. Richard Hay College Student Voting
Mr. Bayard Henry Retired Voting
Ms. Lynda G. Kabbash M.D. New England Baptist Hospital Voting
Mr. D. Eliot Klein Cambridge Trust Company Voting
Ms. Susan Nelson Retired Voting
Mr. Harry C. Webster M.D. Tufts New England Medical Center Voting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 18
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 5
Male: 15
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 71%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Audit
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Nominating

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $17,821,307 $16,162,060 $14,775,896
Total Expenses $13,184,582 $12,908,143 $12,787,562

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $7,000 $0 $3,000
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $7,000 -- $3,000
Individual Contributions $774,903 $2,651,417 $1,576,213
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $9,255,576 $9,634,985 $9,648,593
Investment Income, Net of Losses $7,478,888 $3,449,714 $3,148,360
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- $20,713 $8,964
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $304,940 $405,231 $390,766

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $10,729,445 $10,460,652 $10,334,759
Administration Expense $1,981,202 $1,969,891 $2,031,872
Fundraising Expense $473,935 $477,600 $420,931
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.35 1.25 1.16
Program Expense/Total Expenses 81% 81% 81%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 61% 18% 27%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $100,852,015 $92,841,596 $95,432,220
Current Assets $3,447,571 $3,900,680 $4,654,748
Long-Term Liabilities $3,921,848 $4,031,951 $4,496,738
Current Liabilities $843,007 $650,236 $928,527
Total Net Assets $96,087,160 $88,159,409 $90,006,955

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $97,491,123.00
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage(If selected) 3.3%
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.09 6.00 5.01

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 4% 4% 5%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS 990s.  Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Cotting School’s goal is to enable each student to achieve their highest learning potential and level of independence.

Cotting School creates an inclusive community which fosters academic achievement, skill development and social-emotional maturity. We meet the unique needs of students with a broad spectrum of learning and communication disabilities, physical challenges and complex medical conditions by providing an array of integrated services. We value partnerships among students and families, staff, public funding agencies, donors, and volunteers. We provide outreach services, nationally and internationally, to expand our commitment and expertise in the field of special education. We design our programs to enable students to realize their highest potential both during and after their enrollment.

Indicators of student progress are evident at each annual Independent Education Program (IEP) meeting (with faculty, therapists, parents, school district and individual students age 14+ present) to discuss progress made and next steps to achieving each student’s goals.

Our goal is to support transitional planning as our students become adults and move on to next steps, whether that is community college, a job, a vocational program, or some other program or independent living arrangement. With this foundation of optimal independence, self-advocacy, and self-determination skills, we anticipate that our students will need fewer interventions and services as adults.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

1. We teach self-advocacy and self-determination skills to help students find success in the greater community when they graduate.

2. We continually evaluate and improve our school-wide curriculum development in all academic areas to ensure a systematic progression that meets the national standards and the Massachusetts State Frameworks, the MCAS Resource Guide, and the integration of life skills. Our curricula must be adaptable to the wide variety of learning styles with which our students present, including varying cognitive abilities, physical access issues, and methods of verbal and written output. Our most recent curriculum developments have taken place in Science, Literacy and Math.

3. As students reach the levels of middle and upper schools, we take formative assessments of their cognitive and independence skills and measure their levels of independence in their work and at home. We use school-wide data collection and management programmatically to ensure that we have, for each student:

Individual diagnostic information

Appropriate intervention programs

Annual priority areas for each student in each academic subject

These tools help us create a total program to match up to each student’s needs.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Since 1893, teaching students with disabilities has been our sole focus. Ours is a low incidence population, and we understand how to support each student’s individual learning style and needs. For many students, coming to Cotting is also the first time that their academic and therapeutic needs are fully addressed and integrated, enabling optimal progress.

Our most important programmatic asset is our highly-trained, qualified, credentialed staff and faculty. We have ongoing professional development and program structures to keep them up-to-date in all areas of academics and therapies.

1. Our Summer Curriculum Institute allows teachers to assess data we have collected, survey available materials, and create curricula.

2. Weekly Team Meetings throughout the year give staff and faculty the time to communicate regarding student progress to make necessary changes and adaptations to optimize the time each student is here.

3. Our teacher supervision and support is unparalleled. Administrators support teachers through weekly observations and feedback meetings.

4. The Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) is comprised of teachers and administrators who meet weekly to improve curriculum planning, explore new programs, and ensure that we provide quality instruction to our students.

5. Our affiliations with local universities and other non-profits (see the list of Collaborations in the Management section of this profile) bring us a steady stream of interns, teachers, and new ideas in our field.

At Cotting School, 90% of our teachers hold Master’s Degrees in Special Education, and we serve students ages 3-22. Since 1975, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act mandates that students with disabilities have the opportunity to receive a free, appropriate public education; we have been an innovator and leader in the special education field for 123 years.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We are working on measuring school-wide progress in the fields of Science, Math, and Literacy. Because of our differentiated population, one of our goals is to develop tools to better inform us of student progress. We cannot rely solely on standardized measures or one single assessment tool because our students’ learning styles and needs are so individual and different. We are looking at new ways to help us measure school-wide progress in the fields of Science, Math, and Literacy and apply a new normative approach.

Our Summer Curriculum Institute first created a Science curriculum based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. We are now tracking Science units covered, and are ensuring logical progression in the areas of Physical Science, Earth and Space, Life Science, and Technology/Engineering at the lower, middle, upper, and Capstone levels.

We continued the curriculum assessment and analysis process to create a Literacy profile for each student. This profile will allow us to track assessment data, language skill levels, educator reports, program information and individual student progress for each area of literacy instruction. This has enabled us to:

Get individual diagnostic information

Assign appropriate intervention programs

Draft annual priority areas in literacy and language for each student

Create a total program to match up to each student’s needs

Review our data to see which literacy interventions are working

Address staff training needs

The Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) is repeating this process in Math to meet developmental needs of our students and give us measurable data so that we can continue to measure our effectiveness.

We have a Curriculum Resource Room and an E-Resource online, which hold all our resources for teachers and enable information and resource exchanges. Weekly two-hour professional development team meetings and curriculum development meetings enable our highly trained staff to exchange information and stay current on each student’s progress.

We also survey our parents periodically to determine their satisfaction and their school districts’ satisfaction.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Standards-based reform through No Child Left Behind has increased accountability for all students, including those with disabilities. Special Education has always been our sole focus. We constantly strive to provide the best possible learning experiences for our students.

Toward that goal, though not required to do so, Cotting School has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) since 2009. Based on the findings of the evaluation team, we made changes, which have been reported in a five-year report submitted in October 2014. The Curriculum work described above appears in that report. In addition, our Library Media Specialist has also updated the library, thanks to a large grant we received.

We have also made progress toward a more integrated vocational program, specifically in our Middle School Work Skills program, our Upper School In-House Jobs Program, our off-campus work program, Project Bridges, and our new Capstone Program.