Our History

Our story begins with Einstein.


A radical vision made real

John and Julie Forman were newlyweds with an ambitious dream: to empower students with learning differences and prepare them for the world. In 1930, the couple founded a small school for boys in Litchfield, Connecticut—adding another school for girls in 1942.


Dr. Albert Einstein gets on board

From the outset, Head of School John Forman—a Princeton alumni—invited intellectual heavyweights to shape the curriculum. Among them was Dr. Albert Einstein, who himself faced reading challenges. Dr. Einstein joined the Academic Board of Directors and consulted on course material.


Orton and Forman transformed how students read

The Formans were never interested in one-size-fits-all education. In 1950, they turned to Dr. Samuel T. Orton—a pioneer in reading methodologies—to advise on best-practice approaches for teaching reading fundamentals. Soon, they established the Remedial English Department and adopted the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching reading phonics. The Rockefeller Foundation also awarded Forman a grant to conduct research in teaching reading.


Better together: 
Forman goes coed

Under the new Head of School, William H. Truitt, Forman’s two single-gender schools were merged, allowing students to be better prepared academically and socially for life after graduation. The Forman School of today was born.


TIME declared Forman “the best in its field”

As the nation began to discuss dyslexia seriously, all eyes were on Forman. TIME magazine ran a feature on shifting attitudes to education around—and for—those with learning differences, and dubbed Forman the best school of its kind in America.


We were the first to embrace assistive technology

Forman developed one of the nation’s first computer-aided writing courses. Around this time, Apple Computer deferred to Forman as an authority on the use of computers for people with learning differences.


A decade of innovative milestones

In 1992, Forman launched its Rainforest Project in Costa Rica: an immersive, ecology-based program. A decade later, Forman was granted a U.S. patent for developing a method of reinforcing a fiber with spider silk. By 2006, another U.S. patent was granted for a farming technique for the Golden Silk-Orb Weaver spider, developed by our students’ field research.

In the 1990s, Forman’s Teaching Symposium saw leading researchers in neuroscience and education descend upon the school, thanks to funds from Time Warner. In 1994, we collaborated with leading institutions on best-practice education: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical Center and the University of Kansas’ Center for Research on Learning.


A state-of-the-art campus

Forman introduced more classroom tech: iPads and other assistive devices. From 2013 to 2017, the campus expanded rapidly: 20+ acres were purchased. In 2013, the Science Center opened; in 2016, we launched our Promethean Lab; and in 2017 a Robotics Lab, the Visual and Performing Arts Center, the Jake Cloobeck ’16 Theater, the Malcolm G. Chace Student Center, and the Lion’s Den Bistro all opened. In 2018, more faculty housing was built—townhouses for five families.