Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are you located?
    Our address is 1777 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA 19355. We are located in Chester County, home to many communities that comprise the Main Line area and western suburbs of Philadelphia. We are approximately three miles north of Septa’s Paoli train station and two miles west of Valley Forge National Park.

    What is the profile of a Vanguard School student?
    The school serves students, 4–21 years of age, who require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention including those with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, speech-language deficits and students who experience social-emotional, executive functioning and behavioral difficulties.

    What student age range does The Vanguard School accept into its programs?
    We are a licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to serve students ages 4–21. The Vanguard School accepts students ages 4–18 into its Elementary, Middle and High School programs and young adults ages 18–21 into The Vanguard Transition Center which offers opportunities for college support and other post-secondary training, community-based vocational training and career education.

    What is the student-to-staff ratio?
    The Vanguard School maintains a low student-to-staff ratio ranging from 1:1 to 3:1. All staffing and support ratios are individualized to the specific needs of an individual child. Staffing levels vary across campus depending upon the needs of the children served.

    What are your class sizes?
    We take pride in our small class size and student-to-staff ratio.

    •  Elementary School: 4 –9 Students
    •  Middle School: 5–10 Students
    •  High School: 7–10 Students
    •  Vanguard Transition Center: 8–11 Students

    What related services does The Vanguard School provide?
    A team of therapists support students in the classroom, individually and in small groups as well as through consultative efforts. Related services include physical and speech-language therapy. Additionally, we offer on-site nursing, OT, school counseling, school psychology and behavior support services. 

    Can I take a tour of The Vanguard School? 
    Yes. Please call our Admissions Office to make arrangements: 610.296.6700 x128. During the tour, you will be able to see some classrooms, learn about our teaching methodologies, discover our clinical services offerings and ask any questions you may have.

    How is The Vanguard School different from a student’s local school?
    Our students have the same academic expectations, activities and experiences provided to students in their local schools as well as all of the additional technology, clinical support and accommodations they need to succeed. Our students participate in and enjoy field days, community events, assemblies, talent shows, music and art programs, dances, transition programs, graduation ceremonies and much more. At The Vanguard School, we help our students discover and develop their unique strengths and talents. We afford opportunities for integration into community activities and positive interaction with typical peers. We promote self-determination in each student so he or she can become independent, productive and contributing members of his or her community.

    Will my child form friendships?
    We strive to have all of our students experience a sense of belonging in our Vanguard School community as well as in local communities. Many of our support systems including school counseling and behavior support services focus on building friendships and fostering the pursuit of individual special interests.

    What do your students do when they leave The Vanguard School?
    Some of our students may return to their home districts while others may attend an alternative educational program or pursue employment opportunities within the community. Many will continue at our Vanguard Transition Center to receive college support and other post-secondary training, community-based vocational training and career education.

    How can I get my child into The Vanguard School?
    Please click here to review our Admissions Process.

    Do you have immediate openings?
    Children are admitted throughout the course of the academic year. If necessary, the admissions department maintains a waiting list and fills openings depending upon the availability of space within each program and classroom.

    If my child is school age and I do not have a referral from the school system, can I still begin the admission process?
    Yes. The Vanguard School welcomes all inquiries. If necessary, The Vanguard School’s Admissions staff will guide you through the referral process. Please contact our Admissions Office to discuss this process and/or schedule your campus visit: 610.296.6700 x128. You may also fill out our online inquiry form.

    Can my child/family member be considered for admission if I live outside Pennsylvania?
    Yes. The Vanguard School accepts referrals from out-of-state families. Please contact our Admissions Office for more information: 610.296.6700 x128.

    Do you provide transportation to and from your day programs at The Vanguard School?
    Children enrolled in one of our programs obtain transportation services from their school districts. In some cases, students are transported by their families.

    Who pays for students to attend The Vanguard School?
    In most cases, a student is placed here by the school district and parent, with the school district of residence funding the full tuition costs for new placements. The district continues to pay the full tuition costs until such time when state funding becomes available. There is limited funding through the PA Department of Education (PDE), Bureau of Special Education. When state funding does become available for a district placement, The Vanguard School contacts the school district which then submits the appropriate paperwork to PDE. If PDE approves the funding, costs for school-age students placed at The Vanguard School are shared between the school district of residence and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A small percentage of parents have chosen to pay privately to place their child at The Vanguard School, in cases where state and district funding are unavailable.

    We realize that navigating funding and services for your child can be overwhelming. We are here to help!