Special Education

“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.”

Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools welcome students with a wide variety of special learning needs, including but not limited to specific learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, emotional disabilities, mild vision and hearing impairment, as well as students who are gifted learners and those for whom English is their second language.

While the actual resources available at each school might differ, all schools in the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools employ an interdisciplinary approach to support students with previously identified special learning needs. Our schools bring together staff members with a variety of talents and perspectives to plan and problem solve to provide a welcoming learning environment for students.

The ability to address different physical and cognitive disabilities varies from school to school and each school makes the determination for admittance based on the resources the school has in place. We encourage you to contact individual schools to start your search, learn what each school can offer and request appropriate referrals.

“All children deserve a nurturing educational environment that promotes faith, family and life-long learning.”

~ Cardinal Wuerl

Elementary Schools

At Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools, we celebrate students for their individual contributions and strengths. As part of this approach, we convene Student Assistance Teams whenever students need additional resources or customized strategies to make their educational experiences successful. This group of teachers, administrators, counselors, and special education teachers come together for practical problem solving and share perspectives to focus on solutions. These teams address immediate needs and suggest long-term strategies as well as provide implementation suggestions to teachers.

A Catholic Accommodation Plan or an Individual Catholic Education Plan will be offered to students who have been identified as having a special learning need to ensure they have full access to the curriculum. These plans, generally developed by the school resource teacher in collaboration with the Student Assistance Team, specify the accommodations and specific individualized academic and/or behavioral goals necessary for the child’s academic success. The plans are then implemented by the student’s teachers with the support of the resource team available at the school.

Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools utilizes a variety of instructional strategies to support both students with special needs as well as students who present as at-risk. Teachers are encouraged to differentiate their instruction to meet and accommodate students’ needs and support their growth toward academic goals.

Universally designed classrooms create learning environments conducive to multiple learning preferences. Resource teachers will provide support to students both in class as co-teachers, and in small group where they will provide intensive instruction focused on specific student needs.

High Schools

Many of the high schools in the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools accept students with special learning needs. Just as each high school has its own personality and culture based on its mission and charism, each school has also developed its own approach to supporting their students with special needs. Parents are encouraged to discover the benefits each school has to offer, and to explore the opportunity each school presents for each unique student.