North Bennet Street School was incorporated in 1881 in Boston's North End as North Bennet Street Industrial School.
The school's founding mission was to enable immigrants to adjust to their new country by learning the skills needed for gainful employment. Pauline Agassiz Shaw, the school's founder, was committed to teaching the wide variety of skills needed for immigrants to succeed. Through various social services, such as educating children in the kindergarten, recreational activities and prevocational and trade training, the school helped generations of Boston's immigrants make productive lives in their new homeland. Over the years, vocational training classes were offered in pottery, printing, sewing, sheet metal work and watch repair as well as the carpentry, cabinet making and jewelry making classes that remain today.
North Bennet Street School has evolved over its more than one hundred year history while retaining its core commitment to train individuals for employment using time-honored methods and skills.