February 17, 2017
Dear Mount Families,
As you are already aware, after much time and work and effort as a community, The Mount has completed its Strategic Plan, and we now have a 5-year vision in place. This year-long process took determination, commitment, and collaboration on behalf of many people - people who hold The Mount very close to their hearts.
One of the goals in our Strategic Plan is to research and implement a program for high school students with learning disabilities and place an emphasis on inclusion for students accepted into this program. Additionally, fostering such a program that is built upon our Catholic values and the significance of human dignity are also vital to this program. After extensive research, numerous phone conferences, and scheduled visits to several other Catholic high schools, we are extremely proud and honored to announce The Mount will begin its Cornerstone Inclusion Program beginning next school year.
Over the last five years, many families have come to ask if The Mount would consider accepting their child with special needs so they could experience Catholic education and gain an understanding of high school in its typical sense – in other words, being included. Because The Mount was not prepared to take on such a responsibility, our families had to be turned away. This is not the Catholic way. It is not The Mount way. It is our purpose as a Catholic institution to provide an education for all learners because we are called to do so.
For the first year of the program's implementation, so that we as a school family can transition into the Cornerstone Inclusion Program as a community, we will accept only two students. Our goal is to limit our total enrollment to eventually six students into our inclusion program. However, because of our building's infrastructure and how we are constructed, students with severe physical limitations possibly may not be able to manage our multi-level building. Additionally, students who apply for our program will have mild learning disabilities and will earn a Certificate of Completion upon graduation from The Mount.
In 2016, there was a total of 14 Catholic elementary and high schools who hosted inclusive programs for students with special needs. Mount St. Mary will eagerly and willingly become the 15th school in the United States, therefore embracing the responsibility of creating an environment of inclusion.
When our new students join our Mount Family and become engrained with our school's traditions and values, it will become apparent it is we who are the ones who will be blessed and changed because of our new members to our student body. Our newest ROCKETS will be the ones to show us Christ's love and acceptance, and it is they who will enrich our lives.
I offer to you, The Mount Community, an opportunity to hear more specific details of our new Cornerstone Inclusion Program. On Wednesday, February 22nd, at 6:00pm in our school auditorium, I invite you to attend an informational meeting with Administration along with our inclusion program team members. Our student body will also have the opportunity to learn more about our new program and what their role is as they contribute to the spiritual, academic, and social environment for our new students. We will have an all-school assembly on Wednesday the 22nd during Academic Period.
Mount St. Mary is a community formed in the spirit of community and hospitality. It is an honor and privilege to expand our programs and continue to offer an exceptional education in our mission of serving all learners.
Talita DeNegri, Principal
Mount St. Mary Catholic High School
CORNERSTONE INCLUSION PROGRAM
Through intentional inclusion, the Cornerstone Inclusion Program at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School will empower, to the best of our ability, students with mild disabilities to excel in a Catholic, Christ-centered high school environment where we will celebrate the God-given potential of every MSM student. The Mount is a strong Mercy-centered and faith-filled environment where we believe all students are created in the image and likeness of God and can reach their full potential. Through mentorship, academic support, and social interactions, students will grow spiritually, intellectually, and socially. The Cornerstone Inclusion Program inspires students with mild learning disabilities to grow and exhibit their skills and talents through inclusion-based learning in the regular classrooms with modifications, which Mount St. Mary is capable of providing through the Cornerstone Inclusion Program.
We are one body in Christ, called to provide a culture of
compassion, guidance, and mercy.