Catholic Schools Closing

My daughter attends a Catholic School in Baltimore, Maryland and her school is one of the 13 schools closing at the end of school year. We are saddened by the news but we look at it as being a new beginning for us.

My daughter has no special needs and I can go to any school and plan my daughter’s future now but other parents do not have this option.

The school my daughter attends has a special department that tends to the needs of children with learning disabilities. The children are only in this class for Language Arts and Math, they attend other subjects with the rest of their home room class.

The Archdiocese has not decided where to put this program they closed both schools where this program is available. The Archdiocese keeps saying how they will make their decision soon; that is not good enough. This decision cannot be taken lightly and should have been in place before the closings were announced.

Teachers at PRIDE all have to be trained to deal with special needs. Several teachers at Sacred Heart of Mary, the school my daughter attends, have stated it has taken them 10 years learn to deal and be productive with the program and the students.

At the meeting last night the panel kept stressing how the PRIDE program is their top priority; well why are these children being left behind in their “plan.”

Why did both schools that had the PRIDE imbedded in their curriculum and daily lives have to close?

Last night at a special meeting was held at Catholic High where parents were supposed to get answers; we got none.

The media is trying to cover this story but they are missing out on the PRIDE program; that is where the story is. The reporter who talked to us last night did not even know about the PRIDE program.

This is where I believe the news industry is lacking today. We follow stories about celebrities and their life but what about everyday people and their struggles. Years ago this story would have been front page!

What do you think about news coverage or the dealing with the PRIDE program?

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2 Comments

Filed under Archdiocese, Catholic Schools, PRIDE

2 responses to “Catholic Schools Closing

  1. Angie

    PRIDE is a special education program within the Archdiocese. PRIDE stands for Pupils Receiving Inclusive Diversified Education. The program was founded on the philosophy that ALL students can learn. I can speak firsthand about the wonders of the program at Sacred Heart of Mary School in Dundalk. The principal of that school has a can-do attitude and is passionate about protecting and helping EVERY student in the school. The PRIDE teachers are wonderful with the children, using their strengths to help them learn as well as to compensate for (and/or reduce) any difficulties the child has, and fostering self-esteem in the children. They care for the children in a way that embodies the very spirit of Catholicism. All the teachers, staff, and families I have come into contact with at SHM are compassionate and willing to go the extra mile for each other in a way that makes our school a second family to us. This is what we are sad to have split up.

    As much as I can accept that schools had to close, things had to change, I cannot accept that the PRIDE students were left for last. Everyone knows which schools are closing, everyone knows which schools are close in proximity to their current school and they can start seeking out another school. However, the PRIDE students have to wait X amount of weeks to hear where PRIDE programs will be placed. These children with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism, etc. who do not respond well with change, who need smooth transitions, and who are going through the most emotional turmoil are being told they have to wait for last.

    We were led to believe the placement for the PRIDE programs would be decided based upon what schools are close to the closing schools who already have the PRIDE programs, resources available, staff training, etc. Yet, at the meeting last night Reps from the Archdiocese stated that, in truth, the placement of the PRIDE programs will depend on finding principals who will accept these programs into their schools. Nevermind, the fact that they already have two principals (Sacred Heart of Mary and Mother Mary Lange) who accept and love our kids and stand by the program.

    My daughter, who has PDD-NOS, attention and sensory processing difficulties, and epilepsy was originally accepted for registration for Pre-K at another Catholic School a few years ago. I had disclosed my daughter’s diagnoses at the time and my concerns to the principal of that school. I also voiced that she is very intelligent and that I was excited to try the half day Pre-K program as a way to transition her into school. The principal and the Pre-K teacher at that Catholic school said we could try it. Upon trying to set up a meeting before school to discuss some of my concerns and better get to know the teacher my daughter would have, I spoke with the principal several times. Days before school was to start- after having bought all the school supplies my daughter needed and she was so excited to start school- I received a call from the principal stating she felt the school could not accommodate my daughter after all. I was glad she was honest, but I was angry she waited months and tuition payments later to realize this so close to the start of school. I had to explain to my daughter why she would not be starting school after all- careful not to allow her to feel badly about herself or her needs.

    In the end, it turned out to be a blessing because we found SHM with the PRIDE program, which is a perfect fit for my daughter. She has done amazingly well there, both academically and behaviorally. Now that SHM is closing and the fate of the PRIDE program remains up in the air, I am worried. If PRIDE is placed somewhere too far away for me to get my daughter (with not owning a vehicle and my mother who drives my daughter to and from school being sick and not able to go too far in distance that is a real possibility), then what happens? Will she be turned away from the school she is able to get to? How can I explain to her again she is being turned away based on her needs, which are beyond her control?

    This is what I am upset about- not for me but for my daughter AND all the other PRIDE students. A decision about PRIDE placement should have been a top priority, not an afterthought.

  2. I totally agree with you Angie. PRIDE should have been top priority and it does not seem like it is.

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