Catholic schools are called to serve justly and inclusively ensuring success for all learners. We believe all are welcome, creating a vibrant, Christian community that celebrates the God-given potential of every student.
Pope Francis calls us to “build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of their limitations and potential”. Therefore, Catholic schools must do more to embrace their calling to serve all learners, including those who struggle with physical, learning, or behavioral challenges.
The Need for Inclusion
It is estimated that over 185,000 students with physical, cognitive, or behavioral differences attend Catholic schools. Of those students, only 7% have a formal diagnosis that would qualify them for additional services. Although these numbers are smaller than the national average enrolled in public schools (13%) it can be projected that the same needs exist albeit without the qualification. Aside from these students with identifiable differences, many more students have need (e.g., those traditionally limited because of race, poverty, religion, ability) and require support to be successful in a classroom setting. Furthermore, 87% of dioceses surveyed report that schools do not have the capacity to meet the needs of students with learning differences.
The Program for Inclusive Education is here to change that reality.
- All students are made in the image and likeness of God. Inclusive teachers are animated by the principle of human dignity and celebrate the diverse and exceptional characteristics of each student.
- We are called to educate all students inclusively regardless of need. Inclusive teachers imitate Christ the teacher and reach out to the margins of the classroom cultivating Christ’s love, acceptance, and knowledge everyday.
- Inclusion is intentional. Inclusive teachers are fully invested—building a culture of inclusion encompassing attitudes, skills, and dispositions while responding justly to ensure success for all students.