Pathfinder School - A Distinctive Alternative - Educational opportunity for students with developmental disabilities

There is a school.

Pathfinder School. A distinctive educational alternative.

Our mission and approach to special education are the hallmarks of our program. We are a compassionate community of dedicated staff supporting the academic, social, communication, and adaptive needs of our students in a positive and structured educational environment. We believe that given individualized instruction and a collaborative approach to learning, each student can be successful. Our small and supportive educational environment enables this to happen. At Pathfinder School, it is our priority that each student find his own pathway in life, that each life has a purpose, “…that each life may find meaning.”®


About Us

Our roots are rich dating to 1922 and the establishment of the Otsego School, a renowned residential program for children with Down syndrome. Over thirty years ago, our existing school was created to continue the legacy of our predecessor and to respond to a presenting need for an alternative school that would lead students to a life of meaning…of independence, friendships, and opportunities.

Over the years, our experience as educators taught us that the philosophy, environment and progressive intervention strategies of Pathfinder School would benefit children with varying disabilities and since the late 1980’s our student population has included children with a wide range of developmental disabilities.


Part of a Remarkable Planned Community

Sprawling over 300 acres, Pathfinder Village is a beautiful colonial style community dedicated to children and adults with developmental disabilities.  The planned community setting of Pathfinder Village envelops Pathfinder School and offers outstanding experiential opportunities for students to build skills, make friends, and develop confidence. Anchored by Pathfinder School, our village empowers students to become active members of the community and to find purpose in life.


A Commitment to Learning

Pathfinder School has earned a reputation for providing high quality, individualized and effective education for students with disabilities. Program features include an integrated community setting, low student-to-staff ratio, small class size, and flexible learning environment. Our setting provides an emotional and physical environment that is conducive to student learning and the development of meaningful peer relationships. Through individualized instruction, the use of technology, and innovative teaching methods, Pathfinder School leads students on the path to success.


Specially Designed Facilities

Within the community of Pathfinder Village sits Pathfinder School, a New York State approved educational program for children ages 5 to 21 years. As a year-round, private, non-profit residential community, our programs are licensed or certified by the New York State Education Department, the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the NYS Health Department. On our spacious 300-acre campus, we offer a variety of vocational experiences that allow students to explore, develop, and refine their skills and talents. The results are powerful. Students gain autonomy, work ethic, and social competence. In addition to the school itself, state-of-the-art facilities include a gymnasium and outdoor sport court, a playground, vocational center, arts center, green house, and agricultural center. Our Village Inn, Café, and residential homes provide a naturally integrated setting for students to develop transferable life skills, meaningful relationships, and community connections. On a typical day, a student might be found learning to play basketball with other students in an adaptive physical education class, creating a piece of unique art in art class, connecting with mom or dad via Skype™ technology or harvesting produce from a Village garden. The carefully planned elements of space, facilities, and experienced staff together create an enriched life for students at Pathfinder School. This is the Pathfinder experience.