Greenville, SC, August 05, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School’s EMBRACE Program olrschool.net
, the first inclusive education program in the Charleston Diocese’s Greenville Deanery, will welcome two students during its inaugural 2016-2017 school year. This academic endeavor will provide an inclusive educational experience for students with mild to moderate intellectual abilities that have traditionally been separated into a segregated classroom and denied equal opportunities in education.
“At Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School, we follow the example of Christ and want to offer all God’s children the opportunity to achieve their full potential,” explained Principal Marianne Tully. “To that end, we have established EMBRACE, an inclusive education program that assists students with their academic, spiritual and social development. Our goal is to provide all students with an individualized learning plan that meets their specific needs, while ensuring these students remain with their social peers and in their regular classroom as much as possible.”
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School joins four other schools in the Diocese of Charleston who successfully offer inclusive educational opportunities to students with intellectual disabilities: Nativity School in Charleston; Summerville Catholic School in Summerville; Bishop England High School in Charleston; and Cardinal Newman High School in Columbia. There are currently 75 Catholic schools in the United States who include students with intellectual disabilities.
By welcoming students with intellectual disabilities, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School’s inclusive classrooms will offer all children access to the curriculum, support students who need support, have high expectations and presume competence for all students. Teachers in inclusive classes will use differentiated instruction strategies, a variety of hands-on activities, cooperative learning, and interactive technologies to meet each student’s needs. “Inclusive education brings all students together in one classroom and community, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, and seeks to maximize the potential of all students,” National Catholic Board on Full Inclusion’s Beth Foraker commented.
Educational research proves that there is no slowdown in the learning of children without special needs in inclusive classrooms; rather, there is improvement in learning outcomes across the entire group of learners. Additionally, surveys conducted with parents and teachers involved in inclusive settings show that they have positive opinions about inclusion. Furthermore, this growing body of research suggests that students without special needs can gain a number of important benefits from relationships with their classmates who have special needs. Some of these benefits include: Friendships; Social skills; Personal principle; Comfort level with people who have special needs; and Caring classroom environments.
“The EMBRACE program is one way Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School endeavors to ensure our teachers and students live the teachings of Catholic social doctrine, the belief that all humans have dignity and worth as we are all created in the image of God,” Tully added.
“EMBRACE is an answer to many years of prayer,” stated Anne Moore, mother to Archie, who has Down syndrome. “Our family has always wanted Archie to go to school alongside his siblings, Kit and Jack, who have attended Catholic school since preschool. Kit and Jack enrolled in Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School this past school year, and our family was delighted when Father Longenecker approached my husband John one Sunday after mass and asked him, rather matter-of-factly, ‘Why isn’t Archie attending school with his siblings?’ That question initiated a conversation among school administrators and teachers that became EMBRACE’s starting point.”
“The most amazing part of this story is that Father approached our family,” Moore elaborated. “Typically it’s parents who seek inclusion for their child who is disabled, and often times those parents are told schools don’t have the resources to include their child. This is truly a groundbreaking endeavor initiated by a priest who desires to live and teach his faith. EMBRACE will not only benefit Archie and his typical classmates, but also many future students. We may never know where the ripples end.”
Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School was founded in 1955. Today, the school enrolls 147 students, K-4 through 8th grade. The school is accredited by the Diocese of Charleston Catholic Schools. Although Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School is a ministry of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, students do not need to be Catholic to attend.
For more information, please contact Marianne Tully, Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School Principal, at (864) 277-5350, or firstname.lastname@example.org.