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History of Curtis Tufts Alternative High School

The Curtis-Tufts High School originated in 1979 as the Curtis Alternative Program housed at the former elementary Curtis School on Paris St in Medford. It was initiated by Special Education Director James Demos in collaboration with Alternative education Coordinator Roy Belson in response to the emerging need to serve high school age special needs students who required a smaller and more individualized education program and as an alternative to expensive out of district placements. Students who were placed at the CurtisTufts generally had a difficult time adjusting to the larger Medford High School environment and needed a more contained setting and personalized educational program. Students placed in the program had to be properly evaluated through a special education team process and have a valid IEP to be eligible. The establishment of the program enabled the district to serve students in their own community. The first Director of the program was Christine
McGrath. The program was among the first of its kind in Massachusetts.

When the district consolidated schools in the early 1980's the program moved to South Medford and occupied the former Tufts Elementary School. The program chose to retain the Curtis name to preserve the positive reputation earned by the program. The program became the Curtis-Tufts.

At its peak enrollment the school had up to 40 students at a time. Each year area communities would send some of their students on a tuition basis to the Curtis Tufts. As area communities recognized the value of alternative schooling, they established their own community-based programs. Over the years the program successfully helped many high school age youth to graduate with a Medford High School diploma and to either attend post-secondary education and/or become gainfully employed. Over the years this program more than paid for itself and in fact was a source of revenue to offset the special needs costs of other district programs.