Standing Together Around Learning Differences
During the 2002-03 school year, United Stand conducted a year-long environmental scan study in 272 Chicago Elementary and Secondary Catholic Schools to gather concrete data regarding the learning abilities and needs of the children of the system. The study clearly confirmed that the Catholic Schools had become the home to significant numbers of children with diverse learning styles and needs, including giftedness. Principals and parents were interviewed to determine services they hoped for to support them in working more effectively with children. Three of the most frequently cited were:
- Learning experts to provide a combination of consultation and direct services.
- Diagnosticians to conduct assessments that would include students' strengths, challenges, and recommendations.
- Counselors to work directly with students around social, emotional, and learning issues that impact their school functioning, as well as to consult with their teachers.
In the Spring of 2004, United Stand and the Office of Catholic Schools collaboratively opened the first Archdiocesan Center for Inclusive Education at Maria High School. The mission of the Centers today is to provide services to support students' success in the Catholic Schools. Services now include diagnostic testing; individual, group, and family counseling; workshops, training, and consultation for teachers and families; and computer-based cognitive/neurofeedback training to support the development of attention, visual-motor, and memory skills.
Currently there are three Centers for Inclusive Education locations:
- St. Nicholas of Tolentine, 3731 W. 62nd Street
- St. Christina, 3333 W. 110th Street
- Felician Sisters Convent, 3800 W. Peterson Avenue