In 1974, four students from different backgrounds and with different disabilities entered the
front door of their new school, the Almansor Education Center, located in Alhambra, California. From this humble beginning and with the unwavering conviction of its founder, Nancy J. Lavelle, Ph.D., that all students were capable and able of being competent, caring and contributing
members of society, Almansor would become the Institute for the Redesign of Learning (IRL).
IRL now serves over 3,700 children and adults annually.
Setting aside traditional approaches that focused on “changing the behavior” of individuals with disabilities,
Dr. Lavelle and her team emphasized “working in partnership” with learners, families, other professionals, and
the community to create a learning ecology of mutual learning, mutual trust, and mutual respect. In 1988, after outgrowing their first site, IRL moved to a former elementary school in South Pasadena. With the expanded space, Almansor Academy, school for students with developmental and emotional challenges and the Early Childhood Education program continued to thrive and flourish. Shortly thereafter, two additional sites in South Pasadena were added for the Transition and Adult Services and Community Outreach programs. IRL’s Clinical Services program soon provided mental health services not only at its two clinics in South Pasadena and the city of Commerce, but also at over 100 public schools. In 2012, IRL established the Westmoreland Academy in Pasadena, a specialty school for students on the Autism Spectrum.
As a team of a committed students/clients, parents and caregivers, professional and support staff, board members and community supporters, we work together in a profound endeavor that has supported the success of thousands of individuals of all abilities throughout the course of over four decades—a mission we look forward to continuing for decades to come.