The Rectory School

An Independent, Coed, Junior Boarding (5-9) and Day School (Early Childhood-9)

Learning Differences

Individualized attention to a student's learning needs has been a keystone of Rectory School's program since its inception. When the School was started in 1920 by the Reverend Frank H. Bigelow and his wife, Mabel, the emphasis was on providing individualized attention and a customized curriculum to students in small classes set in a caring atmosphere. 

The origins of Rectory's Individualized Instruction Program (IIP) reach back in the School’s history to the 1930s when the Bigelows’ eldest child, Elizabeth, worked with the Durrell-Sullivan Clinic in Boston and to the 1940s when John Bigelow, her brother, began an association with Dr. Samuel T. Orton, a neurologist who pioneered research on specific language disability. Indeed, when the Orton Society (named for Dr. Orton and eventually renamed the International Dyslexia Association) was founded in 1949, many of Rectory’s faculty were charter members. In the 1960s, the Society was headquartered at Rectory, and the School’s headmaster, John Bigelow, was treasurer of the Society for fifteen years.

The first director of Rectory’s Language Retraining Program received her early training in Dyslexia at the New York Neurological Institute where Dr. Orton designed his Language Research Project and collaborated with Anna Gillingham. Through its Language Retraining Program, the School helped to pioneer the use of Orton-Gillingham principles: a highly structured, sequential, multi-sensory approach to remediating students with specific disability in reading, spelling, and penmanship.

Over the years, the program evolved into the School’s Individualized Instruction Program and today serves children with a variety of learning differences (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, Visual Perception/Visual Motor Deficit), interests, study habits, and academic needs. IIP continues as a vital component in the School’s overall capability to fulfill its mission, nurturing the whole child within a caring, individualized learning environment.

Our Approach:

  • Tutors work closely with information shared through educational and/or neuropsychological evaluations to create a learning environment rich in academic support and accommodations.
  • Tutors regularly communicate with teachers and dorm parents to ensure continuity of strategies that aid in a student's learning in the classroom and on dorm.
  • Accommodations on classroom and/or standardized tests (SSAT, ERB, etc.) are provided.
  • Tutors take an active interest in all areas of the student's life at Rectory, becoming his/her biggest advocate, strongest supporter, and most trusted and valued "person" on campus.
  • Tutors often also serve as the student's advisor, providing strong channels of home-school communications.
  • Each student's progress is closely monitored through formal and informal assessments.
  • Students develop their personalized goals with the support of his/her tutor.

Ask Becca About IIP

Learn more about Rectory's IIP Program. Please click on the button below to start a conversation with Rebecca Pagitt-Mungai, Rectory's Director of Learning Services.

Rectory's second Headmaster, "Mr. John" Bigelow, was the treasurer of the International Dyslexia Association for 15 years and, along with Che Kan Leong, was the 1986 recipient of the Association's highest honor, the Samuel Torrey Orton Award.

I believe I can help people by sharing my story. I don’t want other students to go through not knowing how to read, as I did up until 5th grade, as it was very difficult for me.
– Jack Quirion '18