Difference between revisions of "Catholic Coalition for Special Education"

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Catholic Coalition for Special Education
NicknameCCSE
Formation2004; 16 years ago (2004)
FounderFrancesca Pellegrino
TypeNon-profit organization
PurposeServes students with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Maryland and Washington D.C.
Location
  • 10400 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 603
  • Kensington, MD 20895
  • Joseph B. Fitzgerald (Director)
  • Andrew Fois (Director)
  • Fernand Lavallee (Director)
  • Christine A. Nawrot (Director, CFP)
  • Anna McDermott-Vitak, Director
Key people
  • Mary Brogan (Vice President)
  • Patrick Murphy (Treasurer)
  • Frank Pellegrino (Secretary)
Websitewww.ccse-maryland.org

Catholic Coalition for Special Education, Inc. (CCSE) is a non-profit organization that serves students with developmental and intellectual disabilities in Maryland and Washington D.C. The organization partners with Catholic schools in these areas to provide them with the resources that they need to include students with disabilities in their classes.[1]

Mission

CCSE has published the following mission statement: “Catholic Coalition for Special Education (CCSE)'s mission is to advocate for and facilitate an appropriate, inclusive, high quality education for students with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore region Catholic schools to enrich their lives, schools, and the broader community.”[2]

History

Francesca Pellegrino, the president and founder of CCSE, was inspired to establish the organization because of her son Alex's experience.[3] [4] Alex was born with mild cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability. As he grew up, Francesca came to realize that not all Catholic schools had the resources to offer an education to students with disabilities. Alex was one of the many students left out of the Catholic school setting. In response, Francesca began to advocate for the inclusion of students with disabilities in Catholic education. Her group of advocates expanded in 2003 when she was joined by other parents of students with disabilities and Msgr. John Enzer. Ultimately, Msgr. John Enzer convinced the group to put their aspirations into action. Finally, in 2004, Francesca founded CCSE. A number of benefactors pledged substantial donations to CCSE early on to make this possible. Their contributions range from up $99 to up to $15,000. With this support, the organization established its Board of Directors and its Professional Advisory Board, which met for the first time of October 2004. CCSE unveiled its website in May of the following year. The organization quickly began partnering with Catholic schools in the local area to develop their capacity to serve students with disabilities. They awarded their first grants to these schools in 2006.[5] In July 2007, CCSE relocated to office facilities that were donated by E.J. Krause and Associates.[6]

Services

CCSE puts its mission statement into action through its service offerings. These services take four forms: “Believe in Me! Program,” the “Technical Assistance” Program, the “Tuition Assistance Grants for Studies in Special Education” Program, and the “Family Advocacy and Support” Program.

Believe in Me! Program

The Believe in Me! Program provides financial assistance to Catholic schools in Washington D.C. and Maryland that are in the process of establishing programs for students with disabilities. Through this program, CCSE funds equipment and assistive technologies for these schools. Local schools can apply for a grant through CCSE if they intend to establish a program for two or more students with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The recipients are announced each fall at the Fall Family Festival & Grant Ceremony.[7] The Partner Schools listed below have received grants through this program.[8]

The Technical Assistance Program

Through the Technical Assistance program, CCSE provides specialized support to their partner schools that have established programs for students with disabilities. This may include educating faculty on working with students with disabilities, helping design an admissions program, assisting in the process of hiring special education teachers, or founding a peer mentorship program.[9] Additionally, the organization offers generalized professional development opportunities for the educators that they partner with. These oftentimes take the form of workshops. In June 2014, for example, CCSE held a workshop for educators led by Cynthia May, Ph.D. and Martine Bourdeaux. The Inclusion Workshop taught attendees about the benefits of inclusive Catholic education and identified several best practices such as the implementation of the Universal Design for Learning.[8][7]

Tuition Assistance Grants for Studies in Special Education Program

CCSE attempts to address the shortage of special education teachers in Maryland and Washington D.C. through its tuition grant program, which was established in December 2008.[6] To do so, CCSE funds the tuition of graduate degrees in special education for current or aspiring educators. The recipients of these grants are announced each year at the Fall Family Festival & Grant Ceremony after they have been selected by the CCSE Board of Directors and the Professional Advisory Board.[8] [10]

The Family Advocacy and Support Program

This program serves as the bridge between CCSE and the families with whom they work. The organization builds personal relationships with students and their families to familiarize them with their programs and ensure a smooth transition into their partner schools. CCSE supports families throughout their students’ educational journey, even after this initial transition into a partner school via their Parent's Group and supplemental programming. In the Fall of 2014, for example, CCSE hosted a Social Security Workshop led by benefits counselor Amy Wallish. While open to the public, the workshop was directed towards the families of CCSE's student beneficiaries. Amy Wallish helped attendees understand the benefits that students with disabilities are entitled to through Social Security if they intend to transition from high school into the workforce.[8] [7]

Events

Each year, CCSE hosts a variety of events to build community and support its fundraising efforts.

Annual Spring Benefit

The Annual Spring Benefit banquet is a gala which was first held in March 2006. Since then, the event has been held each year at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C. to raise money for the organization. Attendees include benefactors, student and family beneficiaries, educators, as well as the members of CCSE's Board of Directors and Professional Advisory Board. Dr. Timothy Shriver and Linda Potter attended the Annual Spring Benefit Banquet 2007, where they were named Honorary Chairs.[6] At the event, guests are invited to participate in a raffle and a silent auction in addition to enjoying videos and speeches commemorating the organization's progress.[6] CCSE raised a record of $240,000 at the event in 2016. [11] These funds come from gala tickets, the raffle, the silent auction, and gala sponsors.[12]

Annual Believe in Me! Golf Classic

Frank Pellegrino is the secretary of CCSE and the husband of Francesca Pellegrino. He was named the Golf Committee Chair in 2017 when he organized the inaugural Believe in Me! Classic Golf Tournament. Almost 120 golfers participated in the inaugural tournament and the organization raised $55,000.[13] The event continues to be held each fall at the Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana, MD.[14]

Fall Family Festival & Grant Ceremony

The annual Fall Family Festival & Grant Ceremony was first held in 2005. The community-building event has been open to all of CCSE's benefactors and beneficiaries each year since then and is hosted at the home of Stephen and Mary Brogan.[15] The Fall Family Festival portion of the event includes a picnic meal and activities for families such as a bounce house and arts and crafts. Later, during the Grant Ceremony portion of the event, CCSE invites beneficiaries to share their testimony with the community before Francesca Pellegrino announces the newest grant recipients.[14]

Partner Schools

As of 2016, CCSE had donated almost $900,000 to its partner schools.[11] The following schools are recipients of these grants:

  • Bishop McNamara High School (Forestville, MD)[16]
  • Brookewood School (Kensington, MD)[17]
  • Holy Cross Elementary School (Garrett Park, MD)[17]
  • Holy Cross School (Garrett Park, MD)[18]
  • Holy Redeemer School (College Park, MD)[7]
  • Holy Redeemer School (Kensington, MD)[16]
  • Mother Seton School (Emittsburg, MD)[19]
  • Mount St. Joseph High School (Baltimore, MD)[6]
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel High School (Olney, MD)[19]
  • Our Lady of Lourdes School (Bethesda, MD)[16]
  • Our Lady of Mercy School (Potomac, MD)[16]
  • Sacred Heart of Mary School (Baltimore, MD)[18]
  • St. Andrew Apostle School (Silver Spring, MD)[19]
  • St. Bartholomew School (Bethesda, MD)[16]
  • St. Camillus School (Silver Spring, MD)[18]
  • St. Clement Mary Hofbauer School (Baltimore, MD)[17]
  • St. Francis International School (Silver Spring, MD)[17]
  • St. Jermome Academy (Hyattsville, MD)[19]
  • St. Joan of Arc School (Aberdeen, MD)[15]
  • St. John the Evangelist School (Silver Spring, MD)[15]
  • St. John's Regional Catholic School (Frederick, MD)[7]
  • St. Louis School (Clarksville, MD)[16]
  • St. Margaret School (MD)[19]
  • St. Mary's School (Landover Hills, MD)[20]
  • St. Michael's School (Ridge, MD)[19]
  • St. Philip the Apostle School (Camp Springs, MD)[16]
  • The Academy of St. Matthias the Apostle (Lanham, MD)[15]
  • The Heights School (Potomac, MD)[19]

The Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, MD established a program for students with disabilities in conjunction with CCSE in 2014 called the Moreau Options program[21]. Its director is Emily Montgomery.[22] The program offers an adapted form of the school's curriculum to qualifying students. This curriculum allows students to take several courses in a general education setting such as Glee Choir, Modern World History, and Sacraments. The students take several courses in a special education setting as well. These courses, which include Academic Reading and Pre-Algebra, are offered only to students in the Moreau Options program. As of 2016, the program served 10 students.[11] These students are active participants in various aspects of campus life, including athletics and campus ministry. Students in the Moreau Options program have the opportunity to graduate with either a certificate of attendance or a certificate of completion from The Academy of the Holy Cross.[23]

Leadership

Last updated April 2020

Board of Directors

  • Francesca Pellegrino- President and Founder
  • Mary Brogan- Vice President
  • Patrick Murphy, Esq.- Treasurer
  • Frank Pellegrino- Secretary
  • Joseph B. Fitzgerald
  • Andrew Fois, Esq.
  • Christine A. Nawrot, CFP
  • Fernand Lavallee, Esq.
  • Anna McDermott-Vitak

Honorary Board

  • Carin Collins

Professional Advisory Board

  • Martine Boudreaux
  • Maggie Hubbard, Ed.D. (Notre Dame of Maryland University)
  • Alison Hughes (Speech-Language Pathologist)
  • Shawn Lattanzio
  • Sharon M. Malley, Ed.D. (Arts and Special Education Consultant)
  • Cynthia May
  • Bridget Shute (Teacher)
  • Madeleine Will (Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination)

Ex Officio...

  • Jenny Kraska (Maryland Catholic Conference)
  • Anne Dillon (Director of Special Education, Archdiocese of Washington)
  • Denise M. Garman, LCSW-C

CCSE Staff

  • Kate Droege (Program and Development Assistant)[24]

Recognition

Several organizations have recognized CCSE and Francesca's Pellegrino's successes over the years.

National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Seton Award

CCSE was awarded the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Seton Award in 2019 after being nominated by the Archdiocese of Washington.[25] [26] The NCEA Seton Award is awarded annually to an individual or an organization that makes a substantial contribution to Catholic education. As a part of the award, Francesca Pellegrino was able to choose a Catholic school student to receive a scholarship funded by NCEA. She accepted the award on behalf of CCSE on October 7, 2019 at a ceremony that took place in National Harbor, Maryland.[25] There, CCSE displayed its video Opening Hearts ~ Opening Minds ~ Opening Doors for the first time.[27] [25] [25]

Joint Base Andrews Honorary Commander

Military personnel at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland awarded Francesca Pellegrino as an Honorary Commander on May 29, 2015 at The Club. There, she received a certificate from Capt. Anthony Gilbert, Col. Bradley Hoagland, and Jim Estepp. This award is part of the Joint Base Andrews Honorary Commanders Program, which recognizes successful leaders in the local area.[28]

Publications

CCSE has released many publications in order to inform its benefactors and beneficiaries of the organization's progress as well as to inform the general public of its mission. These publications take many forms including newsletters and videos.

We All Have a Treasure Inside! Video:

CCSE published the video We All Have a Treasure Inside! in 2015 in anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. It highlights a handful of students with intellectual disabilities that have benefitted from CCSE’s programs. Nick Stone of Nick Stone Photography filmed the video in Washington, D.C. Since Pope Francis was visiting the United States for the first time, the students took the opportunity to introduce him to Washington D.C.’s landmarks. Along the way, the students expressed their hope that Pope Francis will continue to advocate for inclusive Catholic education. The video was played before the Papal Mass in Washington D.C. in September of 2015. The same week, Frank Pellegrino attended the White House welcoming ceremony and CCSE students Eddie Sloan, Gina Baldini, and Theresa Brogan met Pope Francis in person.[29] [30] [31]

Guiding Principles Document

In 2017, CCSE published its Guiding Principles document as a resource for its partner schools. Sharon M. Malley, Ed.D. is the author of this publication. The Guiding Principles document begins with a message from Francesca Pellegrino before addressing the historical underrepresentation of students with disabilities in Catholic schools. It goes on to explain the ways in which Catholic Social Teaching has informed CCSE’s recommendations and the ways in which U.S. laws have affected special education in the Catholic school context. Next, the publication identifies the types of students who are considered to have developmental disabilities. Then, it introduces a model for inclusion called the learning consultant model. Central to this model is the idea “that all students, regardless of identification, are integral members of the student body.”[32] The publication goes on to outline how Catholic schools can put this model into practice. It identifies the responsibilities that are specific to teachers and administrators.[32] The Guiding Principles document offers the following Guiding Principles to teachers:

  • Maintain High Expectations
  • Promote Communicative Competence
  • Use the Principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Know How to Select and Use Appropriate Accommodations for Individual Students
  • Make Use of Evidence-based Practices
  • Target Instruction and Use Formative Indicators of Student Performance[32]

Spirit Newsletter

CCSE has published its Spirit Newsletter annually since 2009. The publication provides benefactors and beneficiaries with updates on the organization's progress. It includes a message from the founder, a list of new partners and members of its leadership team, as well as feature news articles. The feature news articles typically include a Volunteer Spotlight, a family's testimony, and a review of its annual events.[33]

References

  1. “About Us.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education. Accessed February 28, 2020. http://www.ccse-maryland.org/about.html.
  2. “About Us.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education. Accessed April 26, 2020. http://www.ccse-maryland.org/about.html.
  3. Aratani, Lori. “Promoting Special Education in Catholic School.” Washington Post, 17 May 2006, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/16/AR2006051601800.html.
  4. Dearie, James. “Programs Give Kids with Special Needs a Chance at Catholic Education.” National Catholic Reporter, www.ncronline.org/news/people/programs-give-special-needs-kids-chance-catholic-education.
  5. “Including Students With Developmental Disabilities in Catholic Schools: Guiding Principles for Administrators and Teachers.” Including Students With Developmental Disabilities in Catholic Schools: Guiding Principles for Administrators and Teachers, 2017. app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/CatholicCoalitionforSpecial/GuidingPrinciples.html.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2009, www.ccse-maryland.org/newsletter-InauguralIssue.pdf.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2014, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Autumn2014_web.pdf.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 “About Us.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education. Accessed February 28, 2020. http://www.ccse-maryland.org/about.html.
  9. “For Schools.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education, www.ccse-maryland.org/schools.html.
  10. “Tuition Grants for Special Education Teachers.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education, www.ccse-maryland.org/programsGrants.html.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 “Catholic Coalition for Special Education Awards Believe in Me! Program Grants.” Our Parish Times, Oct. 2016, pp. 3 and 11, www.ccse-maryland.org/news-grants-awarded-1016.pdf.
  12. “Spring Benefit Cancellation.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education, www.ccse-maryland.org/benefitNotice.html.
  13. Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “2019 Golf Tournament.” 2019 Golf Tournament, Greatergiving, 2019, ccse.ejoinme.org/MyEvents/2019GolfTournament/tabid/1061350/Default.aspx.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2017, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Fall2017_web.pdf.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2015, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Fall2015_web.pdf.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 CCSE Honors Our Trailblazing Schools. YouTube. CCSE-Maryland, 2019. www.youtube.com/watch?v=vijItQIsMyI.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2011, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Spring2011_web.pdf.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2010, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Winter_2010_Newsletter.pdf.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 CCSE, director. CCSE 2005-2015. Catholic Coalition for Special Education, 2015, www.ccse-maryland.org/video.html.
  20. Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2014, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Autumn2014_web.pdf.
  21. “Catholic Coalition for Special Education Awards Believe in Me! Program Grants.” Our Parish Times, Oct. 2016, pp. 3 and 11, www.ccse-maryland.org/news-grants-awarded-1016.pdf.
  22. Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2018, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Fall2018_web.pdf.
  23. “Moreau Options Program.” The Academy of the Holy Cross, www.academyoftheholycross.org/intellect/moreau-options-program.
  24. Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spring Benefit Invitation.” Catholic Coalition for Special Education, 2020.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Catholic Coalition for Special Education. “Spirit Newsletter.” Spirit Newsletter, 2019, http://www.ccse-maryland.org/CCSE_Spirit_Fall2019_web.pdf.
  26. Von Dohlen, Josephine. “National Catholic Educational Association Celebrates Two Honorees in the Archdiocese of Washington with Seton Awards.” Catholic Standard, 10 Oct. 2019, cathstan.org/news/local/national-catholic-educational-association-celebrates-two-honorees-in-archdiocese-of-washington-with-seton-awards.
  27. “CCSE Honored with the NCEA Seton Award.” CCSE Honored with the NCEA Seton Award, March 16, 2019. http://ccse-maryland.org/aboutSetonAward.html.
  28. “JBA Recognizes New Honorary Commanders.” Joint Base Andrews, www.jba.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2001053751/.
  29. Stone, Nick, director. We All Have a Treasure Inside! YouTube, CCSE, 8 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-XjaBCsj-I&feature=emb_logo.
  30. EWTN. Kids with Special Needs Welcome Pope Francis. YouTube, 10 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1-39AgnVFc&index=3&list=PL91ekKmuo8HIqJEeVXfWqo6oRdr59uwXy.
  31. “Hugging Pope Francis Was ‘Dream Come True’ for Catholic Student.” Catholic Standard, 23 Jan. 2016, cathstan.org/news/local/hugging-pope-francis-was-dream-come-true-for-catholic-student.“Hugging Pope Francis Was ‘Dream Come True’ for Catholic Student.” Catholic Standard, 23 Jan. 2016, cathstan.org/news/local/hugging-pope-francis-was-dream-come-true-for-catholic-student.
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 “Including Students With Developmental Disabilities in Catholic Schools: Guiding Principles for Administrators and Teachers.” Including Students With Developmental Disabilities in Catholic Schools: Guiding Principles for Administrators and Teachers, 2017. app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/CatholicCoalitionforSpecial/GuidingPrinciples.html.
  33. “Spirit Newsletter.” Accessed February 27, 2020. www.ccse-maryland.org/spirit.html.

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