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Arlington, VA: Catholic schools to take SPED students

Nov 7, 2019, Arlington (VA) Catholic Herald: All four Arlington diocesan high schools now offer programs for special needs students A mission has been accomplished — all four diocesan high schools have a program allowing students with intellectual and developmental disabilities the opportunity to receive a Catholic education. … Rinaldi said the commitment to providing inclusive education to students with disabilities is unifying. “At the high school level, our peer mentors make our inclusive services possible,” Rinaldi said. “Peer mentor programs are implemented differently at each school, but they have a common role in each school, working one-on-one with a student for the school year, assisting and supporting the student in a given class, and forming friendships.” … “This is a natural development of a program we are already doing. We are already serving students with special needs and learning differences. That’s an important piece to this puzzle,” said J-Lynn Van Pelt, director of special services at Ireton. “They make up almost 19 percent of our overall population but now we are working toward making sure we improve that programming for current students. We can now open our doors to a wider variety of students with needs.” Ireton is adding a De Sales Program for students with specific diagnosed learning disabilities, as well as furthering development of their academic support program and developing an Options Program. … Bishop Michael F. Burbidge spoke in an interview with Relevant Radio Oct. 21 about the diocese’s priority on welcoming students with disabilities. … … “They are part of who we are and of everything that we do. A goal that I have set before our Catholic educators is in a timely way, I want all our schools to be able to do that. We know that when we do, we are the ones blessed when we welcome these students with special gifts and challenges into our community. They bring out the best in the other students and the best in us.”


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