Introducing the St. Andre Scholars Program
Dear St. Edward High School Community,
I am writing to announce a new program that we are introducing at St. Edward High School next school year - the St. Andre Scholars Program, serving students with developmental disabilities. St. Andre Bessette, C.S.C. has long been a model to the world of the power of acceptance and hospitality. As children of God, each of us is endowed with our own unique gifts. At St. Edward High School, we embrace that spirit of acceptance and hospitality and the St. Andre Scholars Program will serve as another example of our community's tradition of embracing the God-given gifts and talents of students of all types.
When I was President of Eastside Catholic in Seattle, the Options Program that existed to serve students with developmental disabilities had a significant impact on the entire school community. We have also studied closely the Burke Scholars Program at one of our fellow Holy Cross Schools - Notre Dame High School in Niles, IL - and witnessed first-hand the ways that Holy Cross acceptance and hospitality comes to life on their campus through the spirit of their Burke Scholars.
In 1978, the U.S. Catholic Bishops shared a Pastoral Statement on people with disabilities that read: "The same Jesus who heard the cry for recognition from the people with disabilities of Judea and Samaria 2,000 years ago calls us, His followers, to embrace our responsibility to our own disabled brothers and sisters."
St. Edward High School is uniquely positioned to answer the call of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to embrace the responsibility to educate with the acceptance and compassion of Jesus Christ. In alignment with St. Edward High School's Holy Cross Mission, the St. Andre Scholars Program will allow students with developmental disabilities to embrace their faith, strive for personal excellence, develop lifelong relationships, and commit to the virtues of Christ-like servant leadership in a structured environment that meets the specific needs of their learning differences.
The St. Andre Scholars Program is a 4-year language-based course of study available to young men beginning at age 14. St. Andre Scholars will access a special education curriculum that includes math, language, reading, life skills and communication, as well as select "inclusion" classes in theology, the arts and physical education, and other courses where appropriate. Students will earn a Certificate of Completion following the 4-year course of study. Students are eligible to then return to their local school district for vocational training until the age of 21.
Students eligible to enroll in the St. Andre Scholars Program will have a diagnosed developmental delay, typically reading at a 1st to 4th grade level. Each applicant will be subject to a selective admission process, including an IEP review, up-to-date testing, interview, student visit day, and recommendations from former teachers and support services providers. Enrollment for the 2017-18 school year will be limited to a maximum of 4 students.
St. Andre Scholars will have access to the full range of St. Edward faith, co-curricular, leadership and community service programming.
The program is welcoming of students who receive Ohio's Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship. (Note that the deadline for new JPSN applicants is April 15. For more information, click here)
As we launch this program, we are in need of the St. Edward Community's assistance in two ways: