Skip to main content

Our Mission: To empower individuals of all abilities to take charge of their own learning and lives, making it possible for them to be competent, caring, and contributing members of society; and to provide learning opportunities for families, professionals, and communities to support those efforts.

The Institute for the Redesign of Learning (IRL) began in 1974 when its founder, Nancy J. Lavelle, Ph.D., created the Almansor Education Center with four students in classroom space located in a church on Almansor Street in Alhambra, California. With a belief that every student has the ability to “take charge” of their own learning process, Dr. Lavelle established a unique environment, individualized curriculum, and created appropriate support and enrichment services designed to turn student and client learning failures into learning successes.

Now over forty years later, IRL offers six programs designed to provide a continuum of care for individuals with special needs, ages infants through adults, and annually serves over 3,700 children, students, and clients throughout the greater Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley communities.

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 120 public schools. In 2012, IRL established the Westmoreland Academy in Pasadena, a specialty school for students on the Autism Spectrum.

Almansor Academy, a California Department of Education certified non-public special education day school, serves individuals with disabilities that struggle with learning and/or emotional challenges including; Severe Learning Disabilities (SLD), Emotional Disturbance (ED), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), and Other Health Impairments (OHI). Almansor partners with local districts, SELPAs, and charter schools to provide customized education and services. All students receive pre-vocational and vocational opportunities embedded throughout the program, and curriculum and instruction are available for students pursuing either the functional-skills-based Certificate of Completion or their High School Diploma.

Clinical Services focuses on the importance of meeting client needs, and empowering youth and their families to take charge of their own success. Our program provides a full array of mental health services for children, youth, and adults (ages 2-21). A therapist will engage and complete an intake with the child/youth and parent/caregiver to complete a full assessment and develop a treatment plan. Services may include: Individual Therapy, Family Therapy, Case Management, Psychiatric Evaluation, and Medication Support Services if needed.

We are a contract provider within the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Funding sources include: Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), Medi-Cal, and County General Funds.

Community Outreach participates in research grants that impact special education, primarily in early identification and intervention. We assist in the development of evidence-based practices that are more effective than those employed in the past. Community Outreach offers training, professional development and research grant participation as part of a comprehensive strategy towards agency improvement and individual needs.

The Early Childhood Education Programs are designed to encourage the social, physical, emotional, and intellectual growth and development of each child. In each specialized program, our staff members strive to cultivate a nurturing atmosphere that allows each child’s natural and intellectual curiosity to flourish. In our supportive and safe environment, we ensure that our students are recognized as unique and dynamic. We believe in the innate worth of each child and honor their cultural diversity, allowing us all to learn from one another.

Transition & Adult Services (TAS) offers personal and vocational skills training to youth and adult with developmental disabilities, emotional health or mental health issues, and/or dual diagnoses. TAS participants are empowered to overcome social and adaptive skills deficits that may prevent them from living and working independently or interfere with their desired quality of life.

TAS is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). TAS contracts with the California Department of Rehabilitation, is vendored through the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, and serves clients from surrounding Regional Centers.

The Institute for the Redesign of Learning established a unique non-public school (NPS), Westmoreland Academy, for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) next to the historic Gamble House in Pasadena. Westmoreland Academy was founded on the belief that extraordinary students deserve an extraordinary program. We offer specialized curriculum that meets the individual needs of students who learn in a multitude of ways and well-trained, empathic, passionate staff who support our students in recognizing that they are “Whole, Able and Complete.” Our goal is to provide our students with an effective education that meets the referring school district and California State Board of Education Curriculum standards. Westmoreland Academy is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

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.

Please visit our website at or more information about IRL and it’s programs.