The Carter School

A private high school serving students with special needs up to the age of 22 located on the Meeting Street Campus in Providence, RI

A sense of purpose - a sense of accomplishment - a sense of pride

The Carter School is a private special education school located in Providence, Rhode Island.  We serve students year round with significant and complex cognitive, physical, and medical needs. Our innovative approach to special education extends far beyond the classroom door. Our programs support education, vocational opportunities, and recreational and social activities tailored to each student's specific interests and abilities.

To learn more, please read The Carter School 2020-2021 family/student handbook here.


"Meeting Street is not only my child's school; it is our second family. I honestly don't know where my family and I would be without Meeting Street."

— Christina Rivera

If your child’s IEP indicates that The Carter School is an appropriate educational placement, we encourage parents to contact us for a virtual tour of the Meeting Street RI campus and our Life Skills classrooms.

Tours can be arranged by contacting us at 401.533.9104
or by using the form at the bottom of this page.

What Sets The Carter School Apart?

  • Rich academic environment for students with special needs year round for students in 9th grade to 22 years old.
  • Intensive therapeutic services, including comprehensive school nursing services.
  • Occupational, physical and speech therapy provided in both the classroom and one-to-one settings.
  • Aquatic therapy in our salt water pool.
  • Commitment to innovative techniques linked to successful transition into adulthood.

Our Program

Our best-practice approach offers three centers that concentrate on community-based learning (CBL) and determines the time spent in each center based on individual needs.  Each center parallels a key school-to-career dimension reflected in a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Education & Training Center

Focuses on functional academics, communication, self-advocacy and socio-emotional behavior skills and attaining relevant standard for each individual student through experiential learning.

Employment Center / Life Skills, on site

Readies each student for entry into the world-of-work at the appropriate level utilizing an eight-stage on-site and off-site, hands-on, real world program which emphasizes inclusive experiences with a natural peer group of young workers, aged 18-22, in the work force. The goal of the Employment Center is to assist our students in attaining maximum potential as adults in the work environment and as active members in their communities.

The Carter School Employment Center emphasizes essential hands-on, trial work experience for successful post-school transitions into integrated employment in the workforce.

Elements of the center include:

  • Intra-agency Occupational Investigations
  • Career and Vocational exploration in various community locations
  • Job shadowing, business tours, and internships
  • Person centered / Student Centered Career Development Plans. 
  • Examples of some community / vocational sties are:  Blithewold Mansion, Ronald MacDonald House, Lazicki's Bird House, Regency Plaza, and Petco
  • Provides instruction in personal and community daily living (life) skills, and other activities of daily living needed for transitioning to adulthood.

  • Life experiences in simulated office and technology, sales and merchandising, and daily-living skills areas.
  • Community-based learning and therapeutic activities, such as bowling, golf, swimming, as well as visiting museums, zoos, and other educational facilities.
  • Community-based daily living activities, such as shopping, doing laundry, attending a movie, or eating lunch at a restaurant with friends.
  • Community-service projects, such as food and clothing drives.
  • Off-site vocational work options provide valuable experience at a variety of businesses and organizations throughout the region.

Independent Living Center

Simulates a small apartment and prepares students for living in a similar environment.

Inclusive Programs

We partner with students from local High Schools providing our students to interact in an inclusive setting.

 Through Adaptive Physical Education - students also take part in CVS Health Downtown 5K, Ronald McDonald House Race, inclusive road races, Special Olympics, etc.

Extended School Year (ESY)

ESY is operated every summer and it helps students maintain progress throughout the summer months.  Implementation of skills to 'real world' contexts is emphasized.  We offer flexible enrollment options for the Extended School Year:

  • Half day
  • Flexible start day

Frequently Asked Questions from Parents of Children with Special Needs


What population do you serve?

Meeting Street’s school programs are appropriate for students with a wide range of abilities.  Our highly trained professional staff, teach and work with students with various physical, cognitive and developmental delays, as well as students with severe to moderate medical needs.  However, our programs are not appropriate for students with significant behavioral needs.

For students who attend The Early Learning Center and The Grace School, located on our Rhode Island Campus, they are in fully inclusive classroom, Preschool-Grade 8.  All day, every day, students learn, work and play alongside and with their same age peers that do not have disabilities. 


How many services do children receive and how are they delivered?

Special education services are provided per a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) which is developed in partnership with the student’s parents/guardian, a representative from the student’s   home school district and his/her educational team at Meeting Street.  Each IEP is personalized to include goals, objectives and services to meet each student’s unique needs so that he/she will grow and learn. A wide variety of services are included but not limited to educational, therapeautic (Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Physical Therapy), transition, career work readiness, behavioral, and Adaptive Physical Education.

What is the average class size and staffing ratio?

Meeting Street offers a highly individualized program with small class size that allows our teachers, assistants, and therapists the opportunity to work closely with each student. Per a child’s IEP, additional supports such as individual nursing care and 1:1 teacher assistants can also be found in our classrooms.

What does the average day look like?

While each child’s plan is individualized we incorporate the goals and skills they are working on across all contents areas including English Learning Arts, math, science, adaptive physical education, and art and music classes. Additionally, they receive therapy services per their IEP, in addition to life and social skills.  All students in our high school programs also work on career and work readiness skills.

At The Schwartz School, the school day runs from 8:45 am - 2:45 pm each day.

At the Early Learning Center, The Grace School and The Carter School, the school day runs from 8:00 am - 2:45 pm each day.  In addition, students in the Early Learning Center and The Grace School receive weekly instruction in American Sign Language (ASL).

Will my child have the opportunity to socialize with peers and make friends?

Absolutely!  At Meeting Street we believe all children should have the opportunity to socialize with their peers. To assist our students we build social time and play into our daily lessons and activities.  We also focus on socialization skills during career work readiness and recreational activities, as well as community outings.

In The Early Learning Center and The Grace School, students are in fully inclusive classroom, Preschool-Grade 8.   All day, every day, they learn, work and play alongside and with their same age peers that do not have a disability.

What type of opportunities do we have outside of school for enhanced learning?

Our students attend field trips and community outing, including career to work readiness job sites, which are varied based on the student’s age and educational needs. Outings often focus on skills in one or more areas such as academic need, career and work readiness skills, and recreation/leisure activities.

How do I communicate with school staff about my child’s progress and any questions that may arise as the school year progresses?

At Meeting Street we believe one of the biggest factors in a child’s achievements is the support and involvement of their family. We encourage all parents/guardians to communicate with their child’s teachers and therapists on a regular basis.  We utilize a variety of daily communication tools such as a daily log for each student where school staff and families can communicate and share information, apps such as Remind and Brightwheel and a listserv.  Parents/Guardians are also encouraged to email their child’s teachers and therapists as well.

Family members are encouraged to participate in our Family Advisory Council, Parent Meetings and conferences.  In addition, all of our educational programs offer a variety family events such as a science fair, Harvestfest, field day, movie nights and a prom.

How do you help families advocate for their child’s needs?

Our teachers and staff believe that the best advocates for our students are their parent/guardian.  To that end we collaborate with them and their school districts to identify their child’s needs and strengths. Through our work with the parent committees and groups, we are able to help families outreach and support each other as they work with their home school districts and treatment providers to  develop the most comprehensive and beneficial plans of care possible.

Do you have Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Services?

At Meeting Street we have a behavior specialist on staff that works closely with our staff and families to develop behavior support plans that are based on Applied Behavioral Analysis concepts. However, our program is not appropriate for students with significant behavioral needs.

My child requires specialized equipment to complete many talks. Do you have any equipment here at school or will I be expected to supply it?

At Meeting Street we have a wide range of adaptive equipment for our students to use and trial. This includes motorized lifts, gait trainers, braces, adaptive bicycles, walkers, and feeding utensils. We will also work with families and their school districts to review and identify additional equipment needs that an individual student may need.

What type of assistive technology do you have?

Under the direction of our Speech and Language Therapists (SLP), our staff utilize augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to assist our students use and expand their communication skills throughout the day. Types of ACC include but are not limited to picture symbols, Voice Output Communicators, switches, modular hose mounting systems, iPads and tablet devices loaded with various communication based applications.

Do you provide vision and/or orientation and mobility services to students enrolled in a school program?
To address the vision needs of students attending The Schwartz School, we are able to host consultants and specialists sent by school districts to consult and work with our educators and therapists.

At our Providence Campus, we have a vision and O+M specialist that works on site as a consultant each week with our educators and therapists in our Early Learning Center, The Grace School and The Carter School.

My child is not toilet trained. Will this stop them from being enrolled and if not how is this supported in the school?

We can accommodate children at all levels of developmental needs. Under the direction and guidance of our school therapists, individual toileting plans are developed for our students and staff is then trained prior to implementing those plans.

Our Campus

Students flourish at The Carter School's state-of-the-art facilities, which are situated on Meeting Street's beautiful campus conveniently located right off Interstate 95 in Providence.

  • Nine-acre campus featuring 40% green space
  • Innovative, award-winning 76,000 square-foot facility
  • "Green" building design fills space with natural light
  • Robust student library, technology center and family resource collection
  • Full-sized high school gymnasium
  • Meeting Street salt water therapeutic pool
  • Dedicated art and music rooms
  • Spacious, comfortable commons areas and cafeteria


How to Enroll

To enroll in The Carter School, a student must be referred by their School District. If your child’s IEP indicates that The Carter School is an appropriate educational placement, we encourage parents to contact us for a tour of the Meeting Street campus and our Life Skills classrooms. We can also provide an overview of our educational curriculum, our vocational programs, and therapy services provided to students.

If you and your school district determine that The Carter School is an appropriate placement for your child, the school district will send Meeting Street a referral packet that includes the student’s current IEP and their most recent evaluations. We are happy to provide tours of Meeting Street and The Carter School.


Tuition costs are covered by your school district.


Transportation is provided by your local school district as specified in your child’s IEP.


Request More Information

  • Please use this form to request more information about The Carter School and other Meeting Street Programs

  • Please indicated if you are also interested in other Meeting Street Programs/Schools

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