History of The Vanguard School

  • Founded in 1959 by child psychologist Dr. Milton Brutten as a resource for children with learning disabilities, The Vanguard School has evolved to serve children and young adults, ages 4-21, with autism spectrum disorder, neurological impairments and/or other health impairments. 
    Time Line of Events

    The Vanguard School was incorporated by founder Dr. Milton Brutten.


    The Vanguard School moved to Paoli, Pennsylvania.


    A Middle School was established in Haverford, and the Elementary School transferred to a newly purchased 4.1-acre campus on North Valley Road in Paoli. This campus grew to more than 50 acres over the next four years through the generous donations of land by Graeme Lorimer. The name was officially changed to “The Vanguard School” and the institution became the first private school in the Commonwealth approved under Pennsylvania Act 318 to receive partial tuition assistance for children whose needs could not be served in their local public schools.


    The Vanguard School was licensed by the Pennsylvania State Board of Private Academic Schools and designed to offer highly specialized teaching techniques in a small classroom setting for students who could not develop their potential in the typical public-school setting. 


    The establishment of The Vanguard High School introduced one of the few secondary programs for students with learning disabilities in the nation. Accreditation by the Pennsylvania Association of Private Academic Schools followed in March, and the Prevocational Testing and Evaluation Center was instituted in September. 


    All of the Pennsylvania programs were consolidated onto the Paoli campus, providing the opportunity to restructure programs to meet the changing needs of a diversified student population.


    The Vanguard School built a new playground for its students to enjoy physical activity and develop gross-motor skills. 


    Vanguard opened its pre-school program for young children on the autism spectrum. 

    Construction of a shared on-campus Activities Center was completed and its amenities were opened for student and faculty use. The building included the John D. Wilson Children’s Center, a state-of-the-art occupational and physical therapy area, as well as the Thomas Murphy Lobby and Peter Musser Gymnasium.
    The Vanguard School Edward L. Reed, II Library & Media Center opened as an addition to the Mierley Building. 

    The Vanguard School celebrated its 50th anniversary. 


    Vanguard’s governing corporation became known as Valley Forge Educational Services.


    The Cafeteria/Education Center building construction was completed. A new playground was built for the Elementary School under the direction of Vanguard Physical Therapists and Physical Education Teachers.


    The Vanguard School opened a regional one-of-a-kind classroom for children who have been diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.


    We expanded our therapeutic programs to include Pre-K/K and K/1 to support children in need of extra instruction and therapy. 


    The Vanguard School begins two Intensive Therapeutic Classrooms for students who need additional support due to the frequency and intensity of their behavioral difficulties. Each classroom has an interdisciplinary team comprised of a board certified behavior analyst, clinical social worker, certified special education and classroom aide.


    The Vanguard School celebrated its 60th anniversary.



  • "Calm Country Atmosphere Conducive to Learning" in 1969
    "Calm Country Atmosphere Conducive to Learning" in the 1960s
    A Faculty Meeting in 1969  
    A Faculty Meeting in 1969
    School Bus Transportation in the 1960s
    School Bus Transportation in the 1960s
    Construction of the Greenhouse in 1978  
    Construction of the Greenhouse in 1978
    Wood Shop in the 1970s  
    Wood Shop in the 1970s
    June 1984  
    June 1984