Rebecca School was created to address the needs of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders who were underserved in New York. Tina McCourt was chosen as Program Director, having had extensive experience with DIR®/Floortime™, attending trainings since 1994. She had a strong belief that a relationship-based approach was the best way to serve and help children diagnosed on the spectrum relate and communicate. The program at Rebecca School would fully integrate the DIR® model.
In April 2005, Dr. Stanley Greenspan, the founder of DIR®/Floortime™, signed on as a consultant to the school. The building was found at the end of 2005 and construction started in February 2006. Tina hired Dr. Gil Tippy and the two became very involved in all aspects of construction and many of the design decisions. This resulted in a state of the art facility that includes large sensory gyms, multiple art and music rooms, large sunny classrooms with smart boards and amplification systems and a rooftop playground.
In the spring of 2006, Gil and Tina began to interview and hire staff, perform assessments and place children in classrooms. The school opened in September 2006 with 48 students and 53 staff members. Since then the student population has more than doubled and continues to grow each year.