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Dear Prospective Family, Welcome to Stephen Gaynor School! As you search for the “just right” school for your child, I invite you to explore all that Gaynor has to offer. A pioneer in special education, Stephen Gaynor School provides a highly individualized educational program for bright children with learning differences in which students gain the skills and confidence necessary to learn, grow, and reach their full potential. Our state-of-the-art facilities, expert faculty, and in-house specialists, coupled with small class size and an individualized, multidisciplinary approach for each student, provide a unique educational environment from Early Childhood through Middle School. At Gaynor, we believe in fostering the development of the whole child, which is why we offer a robust curriculum beyond the academics of the classroom. Students are encouraged to follow their passions, try new things, and take risks within a safe and nurturing environment. We support our students’ passions in art, music, drama, digital photography, and technology and through engaging, diversified after school and interscholastic athletic programs. As you flip through the pages of this book, you will gain insight into what it means to be a Gaynor Gator. We are thrilled you are exploring Gaynor, and I trust you will see a school community committed to unlocking each student’s potential. Sincerely,

D R . S C O T T G AY N O R

Head of School


The guiding principle of Stephen Gaynor


School is to provide a nurturing environment

A pioneer in special education, Stephen Gaynor School is an independent Pre-K, Lower, and Middle School

in which children with mild to moderate

for bright students with learning differences. Founded in 1962, Stephen Gaynor School provides a highly

language-based learning disabilities can

individualized educational program in a rich, rigorous,

grow academically, socially, and emotionally.

and nurturing environment in which students gain the

Stephen Gaynor School students have a

skills and confidence necessary to learn, grow, and reach

strong cognitive profile but often have

their full potential.

difficulty with the acquisition of reading and


writing skills. Our highly trained and dedicated

Stephen Gaynor School grew out of a friendship between two visionaries — Dr. Miriam Michael, a psychologist, and

teachers, specialists, and administrators

Yvette Siegel-Herzog, an educator — who met as students

create a climate of caring where students

at New York University. Though the field of special education was in its infancy in the early 1960s, the friends saw

feel comfortable taking academic risks,

the need to establish a school for bright students with

secure in the knowledge that their educational

learning challenges. Incorrectly labeled as “slow learners,”

journey is accompanied by success.

these students were often caught in a cycle of academic failure and low self-esteem. Thus, the pair created a school where the students could thrive, pioneering the individualized, multi-sensory teaching approach used today. In 1962, they enrolled their first class with five students, housed in a two-room Upper East Side apartment, and the school has flourished ever since. Today, the school enrolls approximately 375 students and operates across a two-building campus totaling nearly 80,000 square feet.


CURRICULUM Stephen Gaynor School realizes that every child is unique, and each child learns in a different way. For this reason, we develop an individualized, intellectually rich curriculum with multi-sensory techniques that fits the learning style of each and every child and is paced at his/her level. Our dedicated faculty and in-house specialists help children master the strategies, communication skills, and study habits necessary to be successful. We believe it is important to provide this high level of support within a traditional school atmosphere during school hours so our students are prepared as they move ahead in their academic careers. Gaynor has a team of in-house specialists who provide valuable support for our students. When needed, Gaynor specialists join a child in class or work with him/her one-on-one or in small-group instruction. Our team-based approach allows specialists and expert faculty to collaborate, ensuring each child’s needs are met. Gaynor specialists include professionals in Speech-Language Pathology, Reading, Math, and Occupational Therapy. In addition, Gaynor has an in-house psychology team. Across all levels, Stephen Gaynor School has implemented specific programs in various curricular areas:


The Gaynor Writing Program was developed in conjunction with Dr. Judith Hochman, former school superintendent and principal and renowned author of Teaching Basic Writing Skills. Our reading curriculum is based on the Orton–Gillingham approach and is individualized to meet each student’s needs; all teachers are trained in the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory method of instruction. The math curriculum draws from many sources, including Singapore Math® and Stern Structural Arithmetic programs. Our social studies curriculum begins in our Lower School with the study of self, building outward to family, school community, surrounding community, and New York City as a whole. The curriculum progresses through the exploration of global cultures and ancient civilizations, culminating in the study of American History. The science curriculum is centered around hands-on activities. Younger students learn about the scientific method and participate in age-appropriate projects; older students focus on the study of biology, chemistry, earth science, astronomy, and physics. Technology is woven into every aspect of education at Gaynor, with two Technology instructors specifically devoted to integrating technology into each classroom. Whether it’s improving basic keyboarding, developing research skills, exploring Google Apps, or learning 3D design techniques, we realize the importance of embracing the latest technology. Our new SMART (Science, Math, Art, Research, and Technology) Lab encourages the multidisciplinary study of a variety of subjects.


Stephen Gaynor School’s Early Childhood (EC) Program


is a unique and innovative model of early intervention for students with learning differences, ages three to six. We combine traditional early childhood experiences with the most effective methods in special education to help children mitigate learning challenges and make great strides in their educational, social, physical, and emotional development, putting them on the path to sustained academic success. Everything children see, hear, and do in the EC — from manipulating blocks and drawing pictures to listening

quietly during story time — helps them become confident, independent learners. In a comfortable and enriching environment, children learn to follow directions,

When we first started in this process,

work together with their peers, and participate in exciting

I remember thinking, as a physician

hands-on activities.

and as a surgeon, I fix things. I was so

As with the Lower and Middle Schools, the EC offers an individualized curriculum that allows students to work at

helpless with Ethan because I couldn’t

their own pace while still providing academic challenges.

fix his challenges. But Gaynor taught

Students have a full team of professionals — Occupational

me that I wasn’t here to fix my son,

classroom teachers — who work daily to help develop

Therapists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and

I was here to help him focus not on

distinct programs to address individual student needs.

the things that he couldn’t do but on

Designed in consultation with Stephen Gaynor School’s

the things that he could do.

innovations ideally suited to engage our young learners

Angela, mother of Ethan

expert faculty and outside consultants, the EC includes

and enrich their educational experience, including:


• An outdoor garden, designed in consultation with a gardening expert, where students learn about the needs of living things, our environmental responsibilities, and sustainability. • A child-friendly full kitchen in which students have fun planning and preparing healthy snacks, learning the basics of good nutrition and reinforcing basic math facts while developing fine motor, social, and collaboration skills. • A cozy book nook designed for the exclusive use of the EC, where students can page through books, participate in reading circles, and practice reading. The nook is also an EC lending library, where students can practice sharing books responsibly as they prepare to use the school-wide library in their future years at Gaynor. • An on-site sensory gym designed in consultation with an expert in occupational therapy, where students can participate in activities that will help refine their gross and fine motor skills. • Classrooms designed for center-based work, enriched with the latest technology, lighting, and acoustical materials to create the optimal environment for young learners.

Because we strive to give students the ideal balance of


support and challenge at every stage, Lower School students, who range in age from five to 11, advance through school in a manner in which our curriculum is adapted to a child’s needs at any given time. We group students according to age, emotional development, academic abilities, and social compatibility. Reading and Math groups are based on academic strengths, learning styles, and instructional needs. Lower School faculty members draw from their knowledge of traditional and special education methods


as well as their own experience to create individualized, effective academic programs. With art, music, drama, and technology projects integrated across the curriculum,

The nurturing environment in the

students are able to express themselves through multiple

Lower School builds confidence,

means and take pride in their special talents. As our Lower School students become more independent,

encouraging students to take risks in

self-aware, and self-assured, they prepare for the growing

their learning and build relationships

expectations of Middle School.

with their peers. It sets them on the


path to becoming lifelong learners.

Our methods of reading and spelling instruction vary

Donna Logue, Co-Director of Lower School


according to the needs of each child, as not all children will benefit from a single method. Many children benefit from the Orton-Gillingham approach, allowing them to work toward the goals of decoding, fluency, and comprehension.


Math Our faculty is trained in multiple approaches to math instruction, including Singapore MathŽ and Stern Structural Arithmetic programs. Lower School students move sequentially from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract as they learn increasingly complex material. Previously learned skills and concepts are continuously reinforced before a new skill is introduced. Writing Our Stephen Gaynor School Writing Program enables students to build skills sequentially as they learn about sentence structure, grammar, and paragraph development. A key component of the program focuses on the use of strategies such as graphic organizers to visually represent students’ writing. Taking students through every stage of the writing process, the program helps prepare them for complex writing assignments, including research papers, lab reports, and creative stories. Social Studies Our social studies curriculum focuses on central themes, such as how natural resources and the environment impact the way people live. The curriculum is profoundly integrated with our reading and writing curriculums to further enhance literacy skills. Art and multimedia projects enable students to engage with the concepts and express their understanding in various ways. Science Lower School students participate in a fun, informative, and hands-on science curriculum. They learn to apply the scientific method and participate in age-appropriate projects such as constructing pulley systems, making (and flying) kites, and creating waterwheels to learn about simple machines.

In the Middle School, students take even greater responsibility


for their education. They collaborate closely with teachers to set personal goals and expectations. Our individualized instruction continues, with a focus on helping students build self-awareness and advocate more articulately for themselves. While the specific books they read, math problems they solve, and historical events they study will vary based on the individual student, all Gaynor Middle School students build the fundamental skills needed to succeed in their next school. Unique to the Middle School, Gaynor offers “Real World Wednesdays” in which students participate in writing

electives, clubs, project-based learning, student advocacy, and transition preparation classes. This coursework offers students dynamic, experiential learning opportunities that

[My teachers] partnered with me to

capitalize on personal interest and choice.

develop a research system tailored to

Gaynor has a comprehensive Placement program and a

my majestically, wildly creative mind.

dedicated Placement Office to best support the Gaynor community as students move forward in their academic

We discovered that we needed to utilize

careers. During the Placement process, we work together

my strengths: my long-term memory.

with parents to identify appropriate school options,

With the help of my teachers I embarked

system that will follow the family and student through

establish and maintain expectations, and create a support

on a visual and auditory adventure on

each step. It is our goal to have each individual student

the life of Nelson Mandela.

graduation or early transition from Gaynor.

Armen, Class of 2016

placed in the school that is the best fit for him/her upon

Reading We form reading groups based on students’ demonstrated ability to decode and comprehend sentences, passages, and stories. While the texts students read may vary, all students build on their structural base of language through ongoing Orton-Gillingham training, age-appropriate materials selected for their individual reading level, and vocabulary expansion through morphology. All will increase their fluency and comprehension. 12

Math In small groups and during individual instruction as needed, students build the basic skills to solve simple equations and eventually more complex problems. All of our students are introduced to pre-algebra concepts in the Middle School and are well prepared for all types of math content in high school. By teaching each math skill to mastery, we help students develop the fundamental understanding needed to achieve at their highest level. Writing Continuing to build on the foundation of our Stephen Gaynor School Writing Program, Middle School students embrace progressively more independent and complex research papers, summaries, and persuasive assignments. Throughout Middle School, students are encouraged to find the research and writing system that works best for them — a skill they will use throughout their educational careers. Social Studies Middle School students begin studying Social Studies by exploring both global cultures and ancient civilizations such as Rome, Greece, China, and Egypt. In their final two years, they explore American History, first focusing on the exploration of the Americas up to the Reconstruction and then on understanding the progression from Industrialization through the Civil Rights Era. Science Middle School students continue engaging their curiosity while building a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science, learning how to write lab reports and participating in science experiments and presentations. The science curriculum is enhanced through project-based learning, integrating the use of our dedicated WeatherBug weather station and scientific writing, culminating in a final, individual presentation.


We are a very special, dedicated school, and our mission is fulfilled daily. When we look at a child, we don’t only see the part that needs us educationally — we look at the entire child, we address


each component of that child equally,

One of Stephen Gaynor School’s unique strengths is

and the child who leaves our school

providing an individualized educational experience within

is ready to go into society, functioning

range of experts in a variety of specialties who can work

with great ability to self-advocate.

Yvette Siegel-Herzog,

a traditional school atmosphere. Our faculty includes a with children individually or in small groups during the

school day as part of a holistic educational experience. Students have access to a range of specialists including Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Reading Specialists, and Math Specialists. When needed,

Co-Founder and Director of Education

Gaynor specialists join children in class or work with them one-on-one or in a small-group setting. Our team-based approach allows specialists and expert faculty to collaborate, ensuring each child achieves individual goals. Gaynor’s Orton-Gillingham Instructional Program has been officially accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. As such, we are an Organizational Member of the Academy and a member of the Academy’s Council of Accredited Programs, one of only two schools in the New York metropolitan area to be so certified. Our Director of Psychological Services and school psychologists work with students, as needed, to facilitate positive social skills. Our psychologists also offer consultation to parents and opportunities for parent education through lectures and workshops. 15

COMMUNITY At Gaynor, we understand that a student’s experience outside the classroom is as important as academic pursuits; something especially true for students with learning differences. In addition to our academic program, we encourage students to follow their passions, building self-confidence and helping them realize success outside the classroom. This translates to increased confidence in academic pursuits, as well. Students participate in art, digital photography, music, drama, and athletics. Gaynor also offers a robust After School Program that

enriches students’ lives with a broad variety of activities — from sports and scientific exploration to community service and cooking — that keep them motivated and

On my first day at Gaynor six

engaged after the regular school day ends. The After

years ago, I remember feeling a sense

School Program offers exciting classes every year and enables students to learn, have fun, and importantly,

of relief, freedom, and comfort. My

build self-esteem, self-control, and responsibility.

teachers saw the real me and searched

The Gaynor Parents’ Association is a vital part of our

for ways to connect to my learning

community. A host of activities and volunteer opportunities allow parents to contribute to the life of the school. Some

needs. Gaynor gave me possibilities

of the events and initiatives the PA supports include

and taught me to see my learning

Skate Night, Sports Night, the Parent Lecture Series, the

difference in a positive light.

may also volunteer as class representatives.

Sirena, Class of 2015

Diversity Committee, and the annual Book Fair. Parents

To allow students to enjoy a variety of summer activities while maintaining important reading skills, Gaynor offers Summer Camp for Early Childhood and Lower School.




The SMART Lab gives students an opportunity to address real-life problems, come up with solutions, and build something to solve them. It is a place that allows for trial and error and for mistakes to be made — but we know that this is where inspiration and learning happens.

Brian Russ, Technology Teacher

CO-CURRICULARS Gaynor students benefit greatly from school activities that enhance our academic program. Co-curricular programs are an important element of any well-rounded education, but they are especially critical for students at Gaynor. In addition to academics, we encourage students’ passions to help them realize success outside the classroom.

Arts Whether memorizing a celebrated soliloquy, portraying

our students become respectful leaders, teammates, and

community in mixed media sculptures, sharing a unique

competitors. Gaynor’s athletic facilities include a full-size

perspective through a camera lens, or belting out a solo

gym and rooftop field house of over 3,600 square feet —

at our school musical, Stephen Gaynor School students

a structure unlike any other in New York City schools.

are passionate about the arts. Technology

Through the arts, students improve their reading fluency

Stephen Gaynor School’s approach to the integration

and refine their motor skills. In addition, our arts teachers

of technology is unique and prepares students with the

work in collaboration with head teachers to reinforce what

critical-thinking skills needed for success at Gaynor and

is being taught in the classroom, enhancing students’

beyond. At the center of this strategy is the SMART

comprehension in subjects from history to math.

Lab — a Maker-Tinker-DIY project space that marries the

Our arts facilities include two art rooms, one of which has

hands-on exploration of Science, Math, Art, Research, and

a kiln, and a digital photography studio. Our future plans

Technology with more traditional curricular investigations.

include the development of a performing arts center so

In addition to problem-solving, students have a greater

that our aspiring thespians can partake in a true theatrical

opportunity to explore their interests, from video production

experience beyond drama class.

with a green screen to 3D printing. In the SMART Lab, teachers are no longer bound by two-dimensional


teaching techniques, as students problem-solve with the

The Physical Education program at Stephen Gaynor

help of materials like cardboard, modeling clay, circuitry

School exposes our students to a wide range of various

components, and twine. A critical aspect of the SMART

team and recreational sports during the school day.

Lab is its ability to be a safe haven for our students where

Coaches strive to foster the development of fundamental

they are encouraged to problem-solve, fail, learn from

movement skills and spatial awareness while improving

their mistakes, try again, and succeed.

overall coordination, strength, agility, flexibility, and body control. Throughout the curriculum, students develop

While project-based learning in the SMART Lab is a

strong cooperative skills, a respect for rules and

major component of the curriculum, it is also important

procedures, game concepts, the value of goal setting,

for our students to gain an understanding of how to be

and an appreciation for healthy habits.

productive and responsible users of technology, both here at school and at home. Our digital citizenship,

Gaynor is a member of the American International

keyboarding, and literacy programs help students build

Private School League (AIPSL), and our student athletes

a solid conceptual foundation for the more advanced

represent our school well at a variety of interscholastic

work that we engage in throughout the school year.

events in basketball, soccer, softball, track and field, and volleyball. Participating in interscholastic athletics helps


In my years since Gaynor, I’ve learned how lucky I am to learn differently, while also seeing the importance of self-advocacy. I see the advantages of my unique learning style every day and utilize it as a tool to let me see the world in different ways. I’ve been learning these lessons since I was at Stephen Gaynor School, and there is honestly not a day that goes by that I don’t take advantage of what I’ve learned.

Lex, Class of 2008, currently attends

Syracuse University’s School of Design


Five-Year High School Matriculation List Classes of 2012 – 2016 with two or more Gaynor graduates attending Bay Ridge Preparatory School Birch Wathen Lenox School The Churchill School Dwight School Eagle Hill School Forman School The Hewitt School Little Red Elisabeth Irwin Mary McDowell Friends School ALUMNI OUTCOMES

The Summit School

Stephen Gaynor School’s combination of a curriculum

Vermont Academy

uniquely tailored to each student’s needs, an emphasis

Winston Preparatory School

on student self-advocacy, and a dedication to providing

York Preparatory School

a rich co-curricular experience for our students prepares them well for success at their next school and in the

Five-Year College Matriculation List

wider world.

Classes of 2007 – 2012 with two or more Gaynor graduates attending American University

Class of 2016 High School Matriculation List

Binghamton University

(number attending)

Emerson College

Birch Wathen Lenox School (3)

Franklin & Marshall College

The Churchill School (2)

The George Washington University

Dwight School (4)

Goucher College

Forman School

Hobart William & Smith Colleges

Little Red Elisabeth Irwin (3)

Kenyon College

Mary McDowell Friends School

Landmark College

The Summit School

Lynn University

United Nations International School (UNIS)

Manhattanville College

Vermont Academy

Pace University

Winston Preparatory School (2)

Skidmore College

York Preparatory School (5)

Syracuse University




Stephen Gaynor School is located in the heart of the

Gaynor strives to ensure tuition is not a deterrent for

Upper West Side, close to Central Park. Our facility

any student wishing to attend our school. With this in

spans two buildings connected by a sky bridge,

mind, we provide scholarships and financial assistance

encompassing more than 80,000 square feet. In addition

to qualified families. We work with School and Student

to traditional classroom spaces, the buildings include:

Services for Financial Aid, an agency that works with many of New York City’s independent schools.

• Full-size gymnasium • Enclosed rooftop field house


• Three kitchens (one specifically designed for our

Gaynor operates on a rolling admissions calendar.

Early Childhood students) • Two cafeterias


• Two dedicated occupational therapy gyms

New York State Association of Independent


Schools. Organizational Member of the Academy of

• Two science labs

Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators and Member

• Two art studios

of the Academy’s Council of Accredited Programs.

• Music studio • Photography studio


• Library

• Early Childhood: 175 West 89th Street

We take full advantage of our location as part of our

• Lower School: 148 West 90th Street

curriculum. Central Park is used for school activities,

• Middle School: 175 West 89th Street

picnics, and nature walks. Our students also take local field trips to science centers, animal rescue facilities, historic sites, and other destinations. Students in the Middle School will take trips farther afield, including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.



148 WE ST 9 0 TH STREET I N EW YOR K, N Y 10024 I 212.787.7070 WWW.STEPHEN GAYN OR .OR G


Profile for Stephen Gaynor School

Stephen Gaynor School Viewbook  

A pioneer in special education, Stephen Gaynor School, located on the Upper West Side in New York City, is an independent Pre-K, Lower, and...

Stephen Gaynor School Viewbook  

A pioneer in special education, Stephen Gaynor School, located on the Upper West Side in New York City, is an independent Pre-K, Lower, and...


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