The Vanguard School (Pennsylvania)

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The Vanguard School
1777 N. Valley Road

Mid Atlantic


United States
School typeApproved Private School
MottoA program of Valley Forge Educational Services
Religious affiliation(s)None
FounderDr. Milton Brutten
PresidentDr. Grace Fornicola
Age4 to 21
Enrollment263 students
School color(s)Blue and Orange

The Vanguard School is an approved private school in Malvern, Chester County, Pennsylvania, United States, approximately 22 miles northwest of Philadelphia[1] on the campus of Valley Forge Educational Services.[2]

The Vanguard School is an Approved Private School providing programs for and licensed to accept students, 4–21 years of age, with a Pennsylvania Department of Special Education exceptionality of autism, speech-language disorders, emotional disturbance and/or other health impairment (OHI).

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has authorized The Vanguard School to receive funding from school districts and the state to provide an appropriate education to students with disabilities.[3] The School serves students from more than 56 school districts from 9 counties.

Every Vanguard School student has an individualized education program (IEP) created in concert with the home school district and parents to provide each student with appropriate services and therapies to meet his or her individual needs.

About the School[edit]

The Vanguard School provides comprehensive special education and related clinical services with a unique focus on the individual student and his or her readiness for life. The school offers an integrated academic, social and daily living skills approach within a supportive environment where the goal is for each student to become a contributing member of the community.

A team of therapists supports students in the classroom, individually and in small groups as well as through consultative efforts. Related clinical services include speech-language, occupational and physical therapies, school psychology, school counseling, behavior support and nursing. All therapists and specialists have the advantage of being actively involved in the student’s entire day; our clinicians co-treat across disciplines and consult with teachers and other professionals on a regular basis.

The school is a Pennsylvania Approved Private School serving students, 4–21 years of age, with exceptionalities including autism, emotional disturbance, speech-language impairment, specific learning disability and other health impairment.

The Vanguard School is operated by Valley Forge Educational Services (VFES) a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization offering educational, summer camp and employment-based programming to children and adults with disabilities. [4]

Ancillary Programs[edit]

Speech-Language Intensive Classrooms- The speech-language intensive (SLI) classrooms serve students with complex communication needs that significantly impact their ability to be effective communicators. The classrooms utilize a collaborative model between the classroom teacher and the speech-language pathologist (SLP). SLI classrooms are language-rich environments that offer a combination of 1:1 and small group instruction designed to support the intense language needs of the students. An SLI classroom is self-contained with a certified special-education classroom teacher, a classroom aide, and an assigned SLP. The classroom teacher and SLP collaborate to generalize student skills, provide appropriate visual supports, and develop student independence. The SLP is in the classroom for daily push-in support during various classroom periods (e.g., reading, daily living skills, facilitated play, etc.) to encourage carry-over and generalize of student goals.

Intensive Therapeutic Classrooms- These classrooms are for students who need additional support because of the frequency and intensity of their behavioral difficulties. The school's interdisciplinary team consisted of a board certified behavior analyst, clinical social worker, certified special education teacher and classroom aide focus on teaching students evidence-based behavioral and emotional regulation skills, problem-solving skills, and ways to manage frustration and anger.

The Vanguard Transition Center- As part of The Vanguard School, students, 18–21 years of age, receive continuing education, counseling, self-advocacy training as well as career exploration and community-based vocational experiences.

An Extended School Year (ESY) program is offered through Valley Forge Educational Services’ Summer Matters division. ESY is a program for eligible students from Vanguard School and neighboring school districts and is designed to maintain skills and to reduce academic and behavioral regression during the summer months through incorporating academic, social, behavioral, and vocational needs of students from individual IEP goals.[5]

The Vocational Immersion Program (VIP) equips young adults with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder and related social challenges, 18–24 years of age, with key social and employment-readiness skills through a four-week intensive program that includes classroom-based instruction, online learning, workplace internships with job coaches and a week-long supported living experience.

Customized Workforce Solutions (CWS) provides employment-related services to adults with disabilities. We focus on person-centered support and training to help job seekers attain their employment goals. Our process helps adults define their goals, understand their skills and discover their vocational interests and work preferences.


The Vanguard School was founded in 1959 by child psychologist Dr. Milton Brutten and was originally located in Haverford, Pennsylvania. In 1962, the Lower School transferred to a newly purchased campus on North Valley Road in Malvern. Vanguard became the first private school in the Commonwealth approved under PA Act 318 to receive tuition assistance for children whose needs could not be served in their local public schools.[6] The Vanguard Concept was then set up 1964-1969 in Lake Wales, Florida as a boarding school as the Vanguard School (Florida) and as day schools in Coconut Grove (Vanguard School of Coconut Grove) and Fort Lauderdale, Florida and other locations. These schools are no longer affiliated with Vanguard (PA).[7][8]


  1. ^ "Map". Google Maps. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20.
  2. ^ "Valley Forge Educational Services".
  3. ^ "Approved Private Schools and Charter Schools". Pennsylvania Department of Education. Retrieved 2010-03-07.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "ESY at Vanguard". Summer Matters.
  6. ^ "Vanguard School History". Vanguard School.
  7. ^ "Vanguard School (Florida) History". The Vanguard School.
  8. ^ "Vanguard School of Coconut Grove History". Vanguard School of Coconut Grove.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°03′40″N 75°29′18″W / 40.061059°N 75.488433°W / 40.061059; -75.488433