Located in Cincinnati, Springer School empowers students with learning disabilities to lead successful lives. Springer’s specialized curriculum and personalized learning strategies help students with learning disabilities build the educational, emotional, and social skills to succeed in the classroom—and everywhere else. The Springer Experience. Success Changes Everything.


The Springer Mission is to empower students with learning disabilities to lead successful lives.

To fulfill our Mission we are committed to fostering an educational setting that includes and respects the differing perspectives of all members of our community. Therefore, we welcome students, families, faculty, staff and trustees from diverse backgrounds.

We believe that all students with learning disabilities have the ability to succeed educationally, socially, and personally, and to ultimately become responsible for their own learning.


A Message from our President

Dear Friends,

Whether Springer is new to you or you have a longstanding history of being involved in our community, I thank you for your interest in, and commitment to, fulfilling our mission. If you are visiting our web site, it is highly likely that your life has been impacted by a learning disability. Rest assured, you are in the right place.

With roots dating back to 1887, our service to children has grown and developed. Since 1971 Springer has been supporting and educating students with learning disabilities throughout our region, with an approach that is holistic in nature. We fully believe in the need to understand the whole child and have comprehensive systems designed to support the growth and development of each individual child so that they can find success. Whether we are educating students in our School or members of the community through Center programs we offer help and guidance that can help family members, professionals and members of our community through complex and often challenging times. We have done so for the past 50 years and are thrilled about doing so for another 50!

Our dedicated faculty and staff, along with thousands of alumni and their families and many supporters around the country know what you are going through. Springer will help support you on your journey, so please do not hesitate to reach out. We are all invested in the same mission: To empower students with learning disabilities to lead successful lives. We believe that success starts at Springer!

All my best,

Our Values

Our Mission intent is very clear: Empower students with learning disabilities to lead successful lives. The key resources critical for this development are leadership with vision, a highly professional, knowledgeable staff with caring hearts, and a robust, research-based comprehensive program that is developmentally appropriate for each child. Both objective testing and demonstrated capacity to self-manage are used to track the students’ progress.

Springer is as strong as its staff. Their expertise, commitment to the mission, resourcefulness in dealing with multiple challenges, and loyalty to the organization are the pillars on which the performances and reputation of Springer stands. The field of learning disabilities is continually evolving more effective strategies and technologies. Opportunity for staff to continue training and development is key to sustaining this most important asset.

Students demonstrate partnership through active participation in their education. The partnership among the key stake holders in Springer’s success - parents, staff, administration, board and donors - requires all members to know, understand and strongly support Springer’s mission, strategic initiatives and values (marching to the same beat) and to have clear expectations of each other through role clarity and activity tied to agreed-upon strategic initiatives.

All work is done through relationships and communications. Relationships should have the characteristics of openness, integrity, flexibility, respectfulness, professional behavior, value-adding, and collegial in celebrating successes/learning from failures. Communication should be constructive, focused, thorough, and timely.

The programs, facilities and general operations are sustained through Executive and Board leadership, planning, staff retention, sound financial management, and fund development. These are maintained through organizational processes via plans, policies, procedures, well-defined roles and accountabilities.

School History

Springer was established in 1887 as the Cathedral School for the Archdiocese. Reuben Runyan Springer, a noted Cincinnati philanthropist, donated the funds to create the school. From the beginning, it served children with special needs as the original school had a program for the deaf and hard of hearing children. In 1968, based upon a community needs assessment conducted by the University of Cincinnati, Springer became a school for children with learning disabilities. Springer continued as an archdiocesan school until 1971 at which time it became an independent elementary school for children with learning disabilities.

Having relocated several times, Springer moved to its present 6 acre campus at 2121 Madison Road in 1981. Since 1992, Springer has been accredited through the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. The Center, opened in January 1999, provides information, referral services, and programs for students, teachers, and parents.

  • 1884

    Cincinnati philanthropist Reuben Runyon Springer bequeaths $40,000 to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the "use and support" of the St-Peter-in-Chains Cathedral schools. The Archdiocese uses the gift to construct The Springer Institute at Plum and Eighth Streets.
  • 1887

    The Springer Institute opens with 600 students in grades 1 through 12, including a class for hearing impaired children.
  • 1944

    Springer Institute becomes a school for children in need of special education.
  • 1952

    Plum Street building razed and school moved to the St. Paul school building at 12th Street and Pendleton in Over-the-Rhine.
  • 1963

    Springer moves to former Immaculata School building on the corner of Guido and Pavilion Streets in Mt. Adams.
  • 1968

    Consultants from University of Cincinnati recommend a focus on students with learning disabilities.
  • 1969

    Admission narrowed to children with average or above average intelligence who have special learning disabilities.
  • 1971

    Springer Educational Foundation established as an independent, unaffiliated nonprofit corporation for children with learning disabilities. Sr. Mary Jean Fields (Sr. Elizabeth Mary Fields during her tenure at Springer) is school’s first Executive Director.
  • 1973

    Springer moves to new location on Summit Road in Roselawn.
  • 1974

    First annual Bike Hike sponsored by Springer Parent Association.
  • 1978

    Sr. Marianne Van Vurst is appointed Executive Director.
  • 1981

    School moves to former Marian Girls High School on our current campus at 2121 Madison Road.
  • 1985

    Dr. Norita Aplin is appointed Executive Director.
  • 1987

    Name is formally changed to The Springer School, and renovations increase building capacity to 198 students.
  • 1988

    Bolan Scholarship established in memory of Peter Bolan, a Springer parent and supporter.
  • 1992

    School earns accreditation from ISACS (Independent Schools Association of the Central States).
  • 1993

    Maureen Wenker Artist in Residence program is established in memory of a Springer parent, volunteer and supporter.
  • 1997

    Norita Aplin Musician in Residence program is established to recognize Dr. Aplin’s 14 years of leadership at Springer.
  • 1997

    Library reopens after remodeling as the Barbara Cassady Frey Library, named in memory of a Springer parent and volunteer.
  • 1997

    Shelly Weisbacher is appointed Executive Director.
  • 1999

    The Springer School unveils The Springer Center for Learning Disabilities, with outreach programs to students, teachers and parents affected by learning disabilities.
  • 2000

    School changes name to Springer School and Center and unveils new logo.
  • 2000

    Adventures in Summer Learning, Springer's month-long summer program, enrolls 64 students.
  • 2000

    Springer's Board of Trustees purchases the Holy Angels church and convent, which enlarges the current property to six acres.
  • 2002

    Playground renovated with a grant from the Dater Foundation.
  • 2005

    Springer hosts first Be Our Guest Day, inviting relatives and special friends to visit students at school.
  • 2005

    Center receives C4C (Collaborating for Collaboration) grant, establishing a working relationship with the University of Cincinnati to train area pre-service teachers in learning disabilities.
  • 2007

    A successful $5.2 million capital campaign makes possible renovations to the gym, cafeteria, lobby and front office, along with classroom upgrades, and greatly expands Springer financial aid program.
  • 2008

    Oliver Gale Washington Academy is launched, giving Springer students an opportunity to visit our nation’s capital.
  • 2011

    Springer celebrates its 40th anniversary.
  • 2012

    One-to-One Laptop program launches in Middle School.
  • 2012

    Dr. Russell Barkley is brought to Cincinnati through partnership with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
  • 2015

    Springer's ACTION Team is established to be the lead learners for the Springer community in multicultural work. ACTION stands for Advancing Community Through Inclusive Opportunities & iNformation.
  • 2017

    Major renovation project brings library/media center into prominent space which once held student lunchroom, and brings reception area to front of the building. New lunchroom for students is created in lower level. Project includes addition of awning over lower piazza, with tables and chairs beneath creating new outdoor classroom space.
  • 2018

    Brett Marcoux is appointed Executive Director.
  • 2020

    Springer develops both a livestreamed remote learning option for day school students and a subscription box program for summer students in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.