High School Programs for Students with Learning Differences

“Each person is created in God’s image, yet there are variations in individual abilities. Positive recognition of these differences discourages discrimination and enhances the unity of the Body of Christ.” -Welcome and Justice for Persons with Disabilities, United States Catholic Bishops

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington invites families to reach out to your high school of choice to learn more about the following programs and resources available for students with learning differences.

Available Programs in Catholic High Schools:

Academy of the Holy Cross (Girl’s High School)

The Saint Mary’s Resource Program (SMRP) at The Academy of the Holy Cross has a long history of developing each student’s unique potential for learning. Consistent with this philosophy, the program was established to meet the individual needs of students with learning differences.  Acknowledging that each student has a unique learning style, the SMRP seeks to identify those students with mild learning differences who will benefit from resource support to allow them the opportunity to reach their academic potential.  The goals of the SMRP are:  to help each student discover and understand her unique learning strengths, to help each student identify and develop strategies that support her academic success, and to encourage each student’s maximum participation in her learning and in reaching her full academic potential.  Over the course of four years, our collaborative approach develops a college-ready student who understands her learning strengths and challenges and can implement strategies necessary for future academic success.

The Moreau Options Program supports the belief that all students deserve opportunities to maximize their academic, social and spiritual potential. Building upon our mission to educate young women in a Christ-centered community which values diversity, and to develop them to become women of courage, compassion and scholarship, it seems only natural for Holy Cross to embrace the great mosaic of all God’s children. Students in the Moreau Options Program participate in all aspects of the Holy Cross community. They take a variety of classes in the general education setting including English, Theology, Science, Social Studies, Technology and the Arts. They join clubs, and athletics teams; serve at Mass; and participate in choir, dance concerts, and school plays.

Archbishop Carroll High School (Coeducation High School)

Archbishop Carroll High School (ACHS) provides a learning support system that gives each student the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. The Academic Intervention and support Program is an important part of that support system serving students with learning differences in the form of a Catholic Accommodation Plan. Since 1951, ACHS has maintained and expanded the spirit of excellence, inclusiveness, service, and camaraderie that have been its legacy from the beginning. Consistent with this philosophy, Archbishop Carroll’s Learning Resource center offers study and organizational skills training and subject tutoring to students with mild learning differences.

Contact:  Dr. Sharon Murphy │ [email protected]

Bishop McNamara High School  (Coeducational High School)

The St. Joseph Program is designed to provide a positive educational and social experience for a select group of students with learning disabilities. The St. Joseph’s Program is staffed with highly qualified special and general education professionals dedicated to empower students to think on their own, take responsibility for their decisions and become life-long learners.

Contact: Alicia Brown  │  [email protected]

The St. Andre Program is designed to support students with intellectual disabilities in an inclusive setting.  The St. Andre program believes that all students deserve opportunities to maximize their academic, social and spiritual potential that supports our mission to educate hearts and minds in a dynamic, inclusive Catholic school community rooted in the Holy Cross tradition.  Students in the St. Andre program attend courses with their peers at least half of the day, along with receiving specialized instruction in our St. Andre classroom in reading, math, study skills and life skills.

Contact:  Dee Butler  │  [email protected] │ 301-735-8401 ext. 128

Elizabeth Seton High School (Girl’s High School)

Students in Seton’s Bayley Program receive academic support to help compensate for organizational issues or minor learning differences. Acceptance to the program is based on the student’s demonstrated ability to succeed in a rigorous academic environment given a modified schedule, additional study time, and the support of a resource teacher. The Bayley Program is provided at no additional cost to its participants.

Contact:   Ms. Rebecca Taylor  │    [email protected]  │   301-864-4532

Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School (Girl’s High School)

The Learning Support Team works with students, parents, and classroom teachers to ensure students receive the support required to successfully transition to high school. Learning Support and Strategies is a freshman-level course designed to teach study strategies, academic planning, organization, and time management skills necessary for academic success at Visitation. Students are provided support in Foreign Language, Mathematics, and Humanities (English, History, and Religion).
Students are informed of their enrollment in the Learning Support and Strategies program when they are admitted to Visitation.
Sophomores who have been in the Learning Support program continue to meet with the Learning Support teachers during their tenth grade year as well, meeting once during the 7-day cycle.

Contact:  Kerry Kaminiski   │  [email protected]

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Coeducational High School)

Ryken Studies is named for the founder of the Xaverian Brothers and is a college preparatory program designed for highly motivated students who have been diagnosed with mild learning differences. We prepare students for success in college and help them become autonomous learners by developing and reinforcing compensation strategies for each student’s learning difference(s). This program assists students in their core courses using varied teaching styles and strategies that focus on skill development in smaller group settings. As they progress through high school, students phase into College Prep, Honors, AP, and IB courses in preparation for college.

Contact:  Loren Bass   │  [email protected]

St. John’s College High School (Coeducational High School)

Our Benilde Program offers a college preparatory program for highly motivated students with average to above-average intelligence and diagnosed mild learning differences. Students in Benilde are completely integrated into the academic, spiritual and cocurricular life of the St. John’s community. Each day, students attend a direct instructional Benilde period focused on developing and strengthening written language, reading comprehension and verbal communication skills within the context of the curriculum. During this instruction, students are taught strategies to improve higher-level reasoning skills and self-management. Students are motivated and engaged in the learning process.

Contact:  Dr. Josephine Galliher   │  [email protected]   │  202-363-2316

St. Mary’s Ryken High School (Coeducational High School)

As part of our mission, St. Mary’s Ryken offers Support Services for Students with Learning Differences. We are equipped with fully qualified staff, and students are admitted into the program through the regular admissions process.  St. Mary’s Ryken provides assistance for students with diagnosed learning disabilities in the areas of reading, writing, math, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and medical conditions that affect their performance in the classroom. Services include classroom and testing accommodations, monthly or quarterly meetings with a resource specialist, and a resource period.


JoAnn Depperschmidt  │ [email protected]   │ 301-475-2814   x462

Jill Tennyson  │  [email protected]  │ 301-475-2814  x461

Sarah Forte    │ [email protected]    │ 301-475-2814  x465

St. Vincent Pallotti High School (Coeducational High School)

The Stephen J. Edmonds Learning Center at St. Vincent Pallotti High School enables students who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate Specific Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder or other related physical and/or emotional disabilities to access a rigorous college prep academic program while receiving appropriate accommodations and support. Students who are enrolled in the direct service program receive explicit instruction in executive function skills and test-taking strategies while receiving support and remediation in literacy and math skills. Additionally, both our direct and indirect service programs provide case management in the form of on-going communication with classroom teachers regarding the implementation of classroom and testing accommodations, progress monitoring and the development of self-advocacy skills.

Contact:  Helen Mahoney, Director of the Learning Center  │   [email protected]