We believe in an innovative approach to education that is forward thinking, yet rooted in history. With 40 years of experience, Riverside School has a long tradition of academic excellence. Riverside’s founder, Patricia W. DeOrio, a teacher and mentor, rose above dyslexia and understood what it took to unlock the potential of children with learning differences. Since our founding, we have emphasized a multi-sensory phonics based reading program, personalized instruction, and a nurturing environment. Riverside School has grown to a multi-building campus including a library, gymnasium, state of the art classrooms, a language fundamentals department, and administrative offices.


Riverside School was conceived in Pat DeOrio’s basement where she tutored children from all over Richmond who were “falling through the cracks” academically. The parents of one of her students owned some property and asked if she would be interested in starting a school for children with learning difficulties.

Mrs. DeOrio quickly brought together the first Board of Directors who purchased the property, which included the original two-room Bon Air School. In 1978, Ruth Harris joined the Riverside School faculty, bringing with her the Orton-Gillingham Approach and establishing the school’s Language Fundamental Skill Instruction program.  This one-on-one instruction has become a hallmark of the Riverside experience.


Thanks to the success of the school’s first capital campaign in 1989, the school grew to accommodate 5 classrooms, fourteen tutoring rooms, a kitchen, commons area, central office and other staff offices.

On the eve of the school’s 30th anniversary in 2004, Riverside launched a campaign to fund transforming improvements to the campus. The campaign was completed in 2007, surpassing its goal and raising more than $2 million to provide for significant expansion and facilities upgrades, an expanded Teacher Training Program and funding for financial aid. Today, Riverside’s campus includes a gymnatorium, seven classrooms, 17 tutoring rooms, and an arts studio.