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 and commitment to increasing student achievement through implementation of accredited Multisensory Structured Language Education" by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC). Rawson Saunders was also selected by the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) as a NASET School of Excellence. This honor is presented to private special education schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated truly exceptional dedication, commitment, and achievement in the field of special education.
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.
- 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.
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
Laura Steinbach, Head of School, ex officio
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.
Rawson Saunders is committed to making this website accessible to visitors with disabilities and is continually working to increase its accessibility and usability.
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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
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
- Flag football
- 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.
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
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.
- Writers' Workshop
- English, Literature
- History, World Geography
- Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science
- Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Pre-Cal
- American Sign Language
- Study Lab
- 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!