Our School

Head of School with third grade students

The mission of Rawson Saunders School is to develop the full potential of children with dyslexia through an extraordinary education experience.


Rawson Saunders School is one of the first schools in the nation to be recognized for excellence by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC).

Rawson Saunders is accredited by AdvancED. Rawson Saunders Institute, a Neuhaus partner, is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Rawson Saunders is a member of the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA), the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Texas Private Schools Association, and the Austin Private School Association.


Our Core Beliefs

  • Written language is a code of abstract symbols and students with dyslexia have varying degrees of difficulty deciphering that code. Dyslexia exists wherever there is written language, regardless of race, gender, culture, or socioeconomic status.
  • Children with dyslexia are intelligent, highly creative, outside-the-box thinkers with a wide range of natural aptitudes and gifts.
  • Students with dyslexia can master the essential skills of reading and written expression and excel academically.
  • Research-driven, multisensory, individualized instruction is the way all students, and especially students with dyslexia, learn best.
  • Small class sizes ensure optimal teacher engagement, individualized instruction, and student participation.
  • Every student deserves to feel confident and secure enough to take the risks and make the effort that learning requires.
  • High academic standards and an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) prepare students to embrace the challenges of our complex and increasingly technology-dependent world.
  • Passionate, expert instructors teaching what they know and love best ensures that students receive the highest quality education possible.


Rawson Saunders was established in 1997 by a consortium of educators and parents determined to fill the need for a new, innovative school in which dyslexic students could thrive. Margaret Byrd Rawson (1899-2001) and Roger E. Saunders (1924-2006), preeminent pioneers in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of dyslexia, graciously lent their names and support to the new school. Both were instrumental in the founding of what now is known as the International Dyslexia Association, formerly the Orton Society. Margaret was the Orton Society's national president through the 1960s. She worked closely with Dr. Samuel T. Orton, who identified dyslexia as a medical diagnosis in 1925 and who co-founded the Orton-Gillingham research-proven teaching methods for dyslexic students that Rawson Saunders uses to this day. Margaret wrote nine books and countless articles on dyslexia. She remained an authority on dyslexia and tireless advocate of dyslexia awareness until her death in 2001 at the age of 102. Roger Saunders was a psychologist, dyslexia expert, and dyslexia awareness advocate who sought to educate teachers, parents, and students that dyslexia was neurological and not an emotional or intelligence issue as was previously believed. Roger had studied under June Orton, widow of Samuel T. Orton, and served as the president of the International Dyslexia Association for six years in the 1970s. He made several visits to the Rawson Saunders school in its early development to help shape its mission, and also worked to further dyslexia awareness in the Austin area.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees generously volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of this and future generations of Rawson Saunders students.

Hal Jagger, Chair
Keith Buchanan, Treasurer
Karen Rabon, Secretary
Shelly Bain
Ana Hunt
Tala Matchett
Lisa Michaux
Lucy Nazro
Jason Pitts
Catherine Scott
Susan Seale
Travis West
Lisle Whitworth

Al York
Laura Steinbach
, Head of School, ex officio

Diversity Statement

Rawson Saunders School values the beautiful diversity of our community and of our world, and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin. In addition, Rawson Saunders seeks to provide a superior education to students of all socio-economic backgrounds. Rawson Saunders is strongly committed to an inclusive environment which honors the uniqueness of each individual's background, values, and point of view.

Website Accessibility

Rawson Saunders is committed to making this website accessible to visitors with disabilities and is continually working to increase its accessibility and usability.

https://www.rawsonsaunders.org strives to conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA. These recommendations outline how to make website content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities. We are on a regular basis seeking opportunities to bring all areas of the site up to the same level of overall web accessibility.

Most popular browsers and plugins contain built-in accessibility tools and features. For more information, please visit the accessibility information pages for these tools:

In addition, we support assistive screen reader technology from JAWSNVDA, and Apple VoiceOver.

If for any reason you cannot access any of the material on our website, please email communications@rawsonsaunders.org and we will work to resolve the problem as soon as possible.



Rawson Saunders truly changed her life. The faculty and staff equipped her to succeed academically and equipped her with the skills she needs to advocate for herself. You showed her that she is smart and talented. You imbued her with confidence and helped her find happiness in school, something that had not been possible before Rawson Saunders.

My son is bright, cheerful, and kindhearted. I watched him not only fall behind in public school but lose some of that bright, kind spirit as he struggled to read and write. The second day of school at Rawson Saunders my son said his favorite subject was now Language Arts. "Because I'm learning and they are really patient," he said. Think about it, this was the second day of school... The third day he came home and read me a book. I cried. My son read a book. Without any push. It wasn't easy for him but he did it. For us Rawson Saunders has been a life changer not just for today but for the future.

Rawson Saunders is truly a lifeline for my son— academically, athletically and socially. He is growing into a confident outstanding young man thanks in no small part to the exceptional environment that Rawson Saunders has created for dyslexic learners like him. 

Rawson Saunders has changed the trajectory for our family and for our son. I am confident that he now possesses the skills to develop into his full potential. It has by far been the best investment we have ever made.

In this magic place you unlock the secret of words. But more than that, you help them touch their own humanity. They go from children who are wounded and need help to the ones who bend and stoop and stop to help. You have cultivated a culture of kindness.

The benefits to having skilled educators combined with a classroom of only dyslexic students cannot be overstated—it is like a magic potion for kids. My kiddo is above grade level for math, and working toward grade level in reading (a miracle). She is genuinely happy in a way I just have to appreciate and admire.

Rawson Saunders will always have a special place in our hearts as the school that taught us that our son's disadvantages are actually advantages.  He is proud of who he is and knows he is capable of so much. Thank you to the administrators, the talented and caring teachers, and the close friends that make up our Rawson Saunders family.

As with her older brother, Rawson Saunders has had a life-changing positive impact on our daughter's self-esteem, confidence, and growth. We will always be thankful.

It's been a true gift and we'll always be grateful that Rawson Saunders got our son to this point where he's a confident, enthusiastic learner.

We are so grateful for our time at Rawson Saunders. It's a beautiful school, filled with lovely teachers, staff and students… Thank you for all you did for our family.

Rawson Saunders was an amazing experience for my son. It gave him the tools and the confidence to engage in his education.

Rawson Saunders has been a blessing to both our boy and us, his parents. We will always be grateful for the love and personal attention he has received.

So grateful for all the academic growth and loving teachers. Will always treasure our years at Rawson Saunders.

Rawson Saunders has made a world of difference on our lives.

Rawson Saunders has been a blessing beyond words.


Grades 1-5

Primary Grades 1 & 2

  • Language Arts
  • Hands-on STEM
  • Individualized Math
  • Reading
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
  • Social Studies
  • Specials (Art, Drama, Music, PE)
  • 1:1 iPad program


primary student smiling
primary students working on a math problem together
primary students holding hands in a circle
primary students holding letters
primary students at the Botanic Gardens
primary student showing artwork
primary girls present their James and the Giant Peach diorama
primary students riding the Zilker Zephyr
primary students dressed up for Halloween
primary student on iPad
Primary Natural Bridge field trip
primary students STEM experiment
primary student writing
Primary student smiling

Lower School Grades 3-5

  • Hands-on STEM
  • Individualized Math
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Specials (Art, Drama, Music, PE)
  • 4th & 5th grade students are introduced to Woodworking
  • 5th grade students have the opportunity to participate in our after school sports programs—cross country, flag football, volleyball, basketball, and soccer—competing with other local private schools
  • After school clubs and camps (Robotics, Art, Chess)
  • 1:1 iPad program


girls in pink jackets
girl performing a STEM experiment
two boys smiling
three girls drawing on the blacktop
ALT students with jello brain
lower school STEM students
boy smiling
students playing recorders
three girls reading together
lower school stem students
pajama party girls
primary student with laptop
volleyball team cheer


Grades 6-8

Middle School students in STEM class
Middle School student writing
Middle School students planting bonsai
middle school student smiling
middle school students examining test tube
middle school students laughing while working together
middle school student smiling
Middle School students studying
Middle School student with sunflower


  • Writers' Workshop
  • Hands-on STEM
  • Individualized Math
  • Language Arts
  • World Cultures & American History



Students in grades 5-8 have the opportunity to participate in our after-school sports teams which compete against other local private schools.

  • Cross Country & Track
  • Flag football
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • More sports to be added soon!

The choice of in-school PE or Yoga is offered to middle school students.



Middle school students have the option to audition for roles in the school play, which is performed in a public venue each year, alternating between large all-school productions and smaller "black box" shows, as well as PSIA one-act competitions. Students also make up the crew.


Hush Little Celia scene


Middle School students are offered a dynamic choice of electives each semester, which are based on students' interests and teacher expertise. Offerings include:

  • Acting: On with the Show 
  • American Sign Language (intro & immersion)
  • Austin: The Weird and the Wonderful
  • Chess Techniques
  • Coding: Python (beginner & advanced)
  • Designing & Building
  • Escape Room
  • Launch Pad Entrepreneurialism
  • Mosaic 101
  • Puzzle Mania
  • Rock Band
  • Sewing & Costuming
  • Speech & Debate
  • Survival 101
  • Unsolved Mysteries
  • Urban Gardening
  • Wire Drawing & Sculpture


Grades 9-12

Upper School Cross Country runners at meet
Upper School girls on swings
Upper School teacher and student
Upper School students making STEM project
Upper School student DJ dressed as the Riddler
three upper school students sitting on the boardwalk laughing


Upper School students in class discussion

The Upper School provides a well-rounded curriculum designed to prepare students for the rigors and requirements of college, including essential study skills and self-advocacy.

Rawson Saunders teachers are mentors who work with each student to provide support and foster strengths.

The Humanities:

  • Writers' Workshop
  • English, Literature
  • History, World Geography


  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science
  • Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Pre-Cal

Foreign Language:

  • American Sign Language

Additional courses:

  • Study Lab
  • Health
  • Financial Literacy

Electives offerings vary from year to year.

A continuation of daily ALT, if needed—LEARN MORE ABOUT ALT!



Upper School students have the opportunity to join Cross Country and compete against other local private high schools.

The Upper School athletics program is in development with more options available soon!