Thirty-six years ago, as newcomers to Long Island, Eric and Evangelina Jacobson had a vision for a new kind of school–born of a belief in a Neo-Humanist education. A donation of $30,000 and a 5-year old were all that was needed to open the doors at The Progressive School of Long Island.

They did their research. And they had the trust of friends and strangers who handed over not only money, but their children. The rest, as they say, is history.

Since 1985, the school’s staff has been perfecting the art of teaching. The school has had its graduates consistently ranked at the top of their high schools. Over 300 students have graduated into local public and private middle and high schools. Many communities have benefited from the school through their volunteer programs.

Today, Eric remains as the Education Principal, and Evangelina runs a local Acupuncture clinic. While the school has grown from 5 to 125 students, it retains the warm and loving family atmosphere of its earliest days.

On September 1, 2006, the school opened a middle school next door at 1439 Merrick Ave., thereby allowing it to offer classes up to the 8th grade.  This “school house,” acquired entirely through donations and fundraising, added 7 new classrooms and a campus atmosphere to the Progressive experience.  The middle school achieved solar electric power in September of 2008!

We began in the 80’s with a mission no one thought would succeed on Long Island: teach the whole child–physical, mental and spiritual, teach so they could put learning into practice, use all the intelligences, and value product, not just scores. Now, we have learned from interviews with our graduates what we have really accomplished: a character-based values education that lasts a lifetime. To see what these values are, why they are our priorities, and why we won’t sacrifice them for any short term goals, please read the series that addresses each value, how we nurture it, and how it affects one’s life: Intangible Gains.