History & Philosophy

Dr. Samuel T. Orton and Peter Gow, Jr.History

The Gow School has led the way in educating students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities since 1926. That's when Peter Gow, Jr., founded the school in a visionary effort to rethink the learning process. After 20 years of teaching at Choate Rosemary Hall, Nichols School, and The Park School, he had become concerned that so many intelligent students were encountering academic difficulties, especially with print language. Gow theorized that the key to success lay in small classes and intensive drill. He moved his family to South Wales and converted the farm where he had run a summer camp into a boarding school for boys.

Shortly after the school opened, Gow met Dr. Samuel T. Orton, the pioneering neurologist whose research pointed to a phonetic approach to educating those suffering from "specific language disabilities." Through thousands of hours of teaching and experimentation, Gow developed the Reconstructive Language (RL) program, similar to the Orton-Gillingham method and still used at the school to great effect.

Over time, The Gow School has continued to evolve and innovate. The campus has expanded from one Main Building--a converted horse barn--to more than 30 buildings. In 1990 The Gow School Summer Program began, and in 2012 the school extended its reach to coed day students. Nevertheless, RL remains the foundation of our curriculum, kept current with the latest technology and validated by ongoing research. A growing cadre of loyal and grateful alumni, with a wealth of success stories, speaks to the success of Peter Gow, Jr.’s, dream.

Mission Statement

A leader and innovator in dyslexia education with a commitment to the values of kindness, respect, honesty and hard work, since 1926 The Gow School has been helping students with language-based learning differences develop the skills and confidence to succeed in higher education and beyond as creative, compassionate adults and engaged citizens.

The Four Pillars

The Gow School community is guided and unified by a set of core beliefs, embodied in our Four Pillars of kindness, respect, honesty, and hard work.

© 2013 The Gow School
 | 2491 Emery Road
 | South Wales, NY 14139
P 716 652 3450  |  F 716 652 3457
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