GOLD2024

VALLEY FORGE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

aka The Vanguard School   |   Malvern, PA   |  www.vfes.net

Mission

VFES prepares children and adults with special needs to realize their potential as contributing members of the community.

Ruling year info

1963

Executive Director

Grace A. Fornicola Ph.D.

Main address

1777 North Valley Rd.

Malvern, PA 19355 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-6050757

NTEE code info

Specialized Education Institutions/Schools for Visually or Hearing Impaired, Learning Disabled (B28)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2023, 2022 and 2021.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In Pennsylvania, there’s a growing number of special education enrollments. In the 2018-2019 school year, there were 297,644 special education enrollments, and this number is increasing at an average rate of 2.5% each year. The Vanguard School is meeting the needs of the special needs community by providing individualized educational, clinical and career exploration services that prepare our students and participants to realize their potential as contributing members of the community. In addition, families often share the analogy they feel like they are driving off the proverbial cliff when their young adult with a disability turns 21 and graduates from high school or transition services. The progression into adulthood is a time of vulnerability for these young adults. Students with disabilities exit high school and leave behind the comprehensive and continuous support services provided through their educational experience.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Valley Forge Educational Services (VFES)

Valley Forge Educational Services (VFES) offers a continuum of educational, summer and employment-related programs for people with disabilities. The hallmark of our programs is our collaborative and holistic approach to each child, adolescent and adult, recognizing his or her unique abilities and needs through team efforts. Individuals of all ages come to learn, share, appreciate and respect one another while developing skills necessary for success. We are committed to helping students and participants develop a strong sense of self-worth to realize their value as contributing members of their communities.

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Older adults
Young adults
Children and youth

About The Vanguard School¬
The Vanguard School provides comprehensive student-focused special education and related clinical services using evidence-based curriculum and procedures. Students receive individualized behavioral, academic and vocational programming with a focus on functional, emotional and social skills development, daily living skills, community awareness and vocational education. As students transition to adolescence and adulthood, the programs emphasize the development of daily living, social, and vocational skills needed to allow students to function with the greatest possible independence as contributing members of their communities.

The Vanguard School is a Pennsylvania licensed, Approved Private School serving students, 4–21 years of age, who require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention including those with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, speech-language deficits and students who experience social-emotional, executive functioning, and behavioral difficulties.
vanguardschool-pa.org

Intensive Therapeutic Classrooms
The Vanguard School’s Intensive Therapeutic Classrooms are an alternative educational placement for students whose emotional, social or behavioral needs interfere with their ability to be successful in school. Students in this program are working at or slightly below grade level and have strong communication skills. The goal of the program is to increase the student’s self-regulation, social and academic skills while providing behavior supports to teach emotional control, model appropriate social behaviors and address challenging behaviors.
Our interdisciplinary team, comprised of a board-certified behavior analyst, clinical social worker, certified special education teacher and classroom aide focus on teaching students evidence-based behavioral and emotional regulation skills, problem-solving skills and ways to manage frustration and anger.

About The Vanguard Transition Center
As part of The Vanguard School, students, 18–21 years of age, receive continuing education, counseling, self-advocacy training as well as career exploration and community-based employment experiences.
vfes.net/vtc

Population(s) Served
People with disabilities
Children and youth

About Adult and Recreation Services
From the development of social and daily living skills to experiencing opportunities to have fun and make new friends, Adult and Recreation Services programs are designed to maximize each individual’s potential. Participants find themselves in an inviting learning environment that is inclusive, encouraging, enriching and supportive. vfes.net/ars
• VFES @ Camp Kweebec (Formerly Summer L.I.F.E.) Traditional Day and Overnight Camps offer traditional camp activities such as fishing, canoeing, zip-lining, crafts and nature study during weeklong sessions on a 200-acre wooded camp property in Schwenksville, PA.
• School-Year Retreats and Programs (Formerly Summer Matters) - We offer affordable, engaging opportunities for young people to develop independence, strengthen healthy relationships and broaden their recreational experiences in the real world while giving their families much-needed respite.
• Extended School Year (ESY) at The Vanguard School – ESY is a five-week, full-day extended school year program (ESY) that supports academic, social and emotional skills maintenance based on IEP goals and objectives. The program also includes enrichment activities and community trips to enhance learning and social opportunities.
• ESY Career Prep Academy - A part-time ESY program for eligible students, entering grades 10–13, who may not have specific academic goals or related service needs, but would benefit from social, behavioral and work-skill development over the summer months. The Academy combines small-group career preparation, financial literacy, customer service, peer interaction, career education and executive function skill building to give students the tools they need to succeed in future careers and post-secondary education.
• The Vanguard Transition Center Summer Experience is an ESY program for young adults, 18–21 years of age. This unique program offers the transition-aged population their own ESY program with an emphasis on maintaining vocational and daily living skills.
• The Vocational Immersion Program (VIP) equips young adults with developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder and related social challenges, 18–24 years of age, with key social and employment-readiness skills through a four-week intensive program that includes classroom-based instruction, online learning, workplace internships with job coaches and a week-long supported living experience.

Customized Workforce Solutions (CWS) - Customized Workforce Solutions (CWS) provides employment-related services to adults with disabilities. Our process helps adults define their goals, understand their skills and discover their vocational interests and work preferences. Additionally, CWS develops and maintains mutually beneficial employment relationships between employees and employers.
Services Include:
• Career assessment
• Career discovery
• Skills development and training
• Customized employment
• Supported employment
• Job coaching and job retention services


The Vocational Immersion Program - The Vocational Immersion Program (VIP) is a four-week intensive pre-employment transition program with a strong focus on work readiness, community-based vocational experiences, career exploration and discovery.
Partnering with local businesses, VIP evaluates each participant’s personal interests and strengths to place the young adult within a valuable work environment.
VIP requires participants to be willing and able to self-reflect on work progress and self-advocate in an appropriate manner with staff, peers and employers. Participation decisions are made on an individual basis based on the suitability of the referral. vfes.net/cws

Population(s) Served
Older adults
Young adults
People with intellectual disabilities
People with learning disabilities
Children and youth

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Valley Forge Educational Services (VFES) offers a continuum of educational, summer and employment-related programs for people with disabilities. The hallmark of our programs is our collaborative and holistic approach to each child, adolescent and adult, recognizing their unique abilities and needs through team efforts. Individuals of all ages come to learn, share, appreciate and respect one another while developing skills necessary for success. We are committed to helping students and participants develop a strong sense of self-worth to realize their value as contributing members of the community.

Mission Statement
VFES prepares children and adults with special needs to realize their potential as contributing members of the community.

Vision Statement
VFES, in partnership with the community, will develop and implement comprehensive clinical, educational and social programs for people with special needs, so each is offered an equal opportunity for an independent and meaningful life.

The Vanguard School provides comprehensive student-focused special education and related clinical services using evidence-based curriculum and procedures. Students receive individualized behavioral, academic and vocational programming with a focus on functional, emotional and social skills development, daily living skills, community awareness and vocational education. As students transition to adolescence and adulthood, the programs emphasize the development of daily living, social, and vocational skills needed to allow students to function with the greatest possible independence as contributing members of their communities.

The Vanguard School’s Intensive Therapeutic Classrooms are an alternative educational placement for students whose emotional, social or behavioral needs interfere with their ability to be successful in school. Students in this program are working at or slightly below grade level and have strong communication skills. The goal of the program is to increase the student’s self-regulation, social and academic skills while providing behavior supports to teach emotional control, model appropriate social behaviors and address challenging behaviors.
Our interdisciplinary team, comprised of a board-certified behavior analyst, clinical social worker, certified special education teacher and classroom aide focus on teaching students evidence-based behavioral and emotional regulation skills, problem-solving skills and ways to manage frustration and anger.

As part of The Vanguard School, students, 18–21 years of age, receive continuing education, counseling, self-advocacy training as well as career exploration and community-based employment experiences.

About Adult and Recreation Services
From the development of social and daily living skills to experiencing opportunities to have fun and make new friends, Adult and Recreation Services programs are designed to maximize each individual’s potential. Participants find themselves in an inviting learning environment that is inclusive, encouraging, enriching and supportive. This includes traditional day and overnight camps offer traditional camp activities, school-year retreats and programs, extended school year, and Vocational Immersion Program.

Finally, Customized Workforce Solutions (CWS) provides employment-related services to adults with disabilities. Our process helps adults define their goals, understand their skills and discover their vocational interests and work preferences. Additionally, CWS develops and maintains mutually beneficial employment relationships between employees and employers.

Services Include:
• Career assessment
• Career discovery
• Skills development and training
• Customized employment
• Supported employment
• Job coaching and job retention services

VFES is a registered 501(c)3 offering a continuum of programs and services for children, youth and adults with special needs. Located on a scenic 28-acre campus in Malvern, Pennsylvania, VFES is a regional leader in special education programs and clinical services. In 1963, The Vanguard School, an educational program of Valley Forge Educational Services (VFES), became the first school in the State to be approved under Enactment of Act 318, which provided partial tuition assistance for children whose educational needs could not be served in their local public schools. Since opening its first program over 60 years ago, VFES has grown to include three complementary programs that now serve more than 300 children and young adults from more than 56 school districts, 8 counties, and the state of Delaware.

In addition, VFES, in partnership with the community, now offers recreational and employment programs for adults with special needs, so they may lead an independent and meaningful life. As a regional leader in special education programs and clinical services with complementary employment and recreational programs, VFES currently serves close to 400 children and 100 adults with special needs from Southeastern PA and DE.

For over 60 years VFES has served thousands of students with special needs providing them highly individualized academic supports, as well as a full offering of social and emotional developmental opportunities. As a result students are prepared to conquer the next stages in their lives.

Our Customized Workforce Solutions program has helped bridge the gap to adulthood and employment for hundreds of individuals with special needs. CWS has helped hundreds by providing career exploration, job finding and job coaching in the communities where individuals with special needs reside. Valley Forge Educational Services has and will continue to prepare children and adults with special needs to realize their potential as contributing members of the community.

VFES has worked hard to operate from a standpoint of real strength. Indeed, the pristine campus, sound financial standing, and talented staff are key to remaining competitive and ensuring VFES is on a path to long-term sustainability.




O

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time

Financials

VALLEY FORGE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

VALLEY FORGE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES

Board of directors
as of 01/22/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Bill Hennessey

Corporate Consultant

Term: 2023 - 2026


Board co-chair

Victoria Mosechella

Associate General Counsel, TE Connectivity

Term: 2023 - 2026

William Hennessey

Stream TV Networks

Victoria Moschella

TE Connectivity

Connie Bompadre

Educator, Retired

Jack Birnbaum

Technology and Business Consultant

Mark Heller

Director of Sales, Novolex

Matt Hildenbrand

Technology Executive

Gerry Jones

CEO, Union Core America

Patrick Noonan

Senior Manager, PECO

Dawn Pataki

VP, Zelis

Devang Patel

Asst. VP, Manulife

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/22/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/18/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.