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Diocesan Office of Catholic Education, Julie Billiart Schools expand partnership

News of the Diocese

August 31, 2023

Diocesan Office of Catholic Education, Julie Billiart Schools expand partnership

The partnership between the Diocese of Cleveland’s Office of Catholic Education and Julie Billiart Schools is expanding to include the services of a full-time intervention specialist consultant.

Gina Castelli is the new intervention specialist consultant who will provide teacher-to-teacher collaboration to assist general education classroom teachers and intervention specialists in meeting the needs of the students they serve. These new services are in addition to the ongoing direction and support that has been led for the last year by Jodi Johnston, Julie Billiart Schools’ director of academics and teacher development.

“Both the diocesan leadership and Julie Billiart Schools are united in the vision for a Catholic education to be as widely available as possible, and broadening our schools’ capacity for inclusive practices is essential to their identity as Catholic institutions,” said Frank O’Linn, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Cleveland.

“The mission of Julie Billiart Schools is to nurture and empower students with special learning needs, and not just the ones who are on our campuses,” said Lannie Davis-Frecker, president and CEO of Julie Billiart Schools. “We believe that every student will be able to find success when we find ways to celebrate their potential, nurture their curiosity, and customize our teaching to their unique learning needs.”

The existing partnership provides professional development, support and leadership consultation to all Catholic schools in the diocese for greater inclusion of students with special learning needs.

The 2022-23 school year was the first year of formal partnership between Julie Billiart Schools and the diocese. “Last year showed that there is clearly demand for growth in this area, and with the help of Julie Billiart Schools, our trusted partner, we have identified some of the challenges we must overcome, said O’Linn. “With JB now providing this level of training and support, we will accelerate the learning curve, enabling our schools to continue to grow and improve in meeting students’ diverse educational needs.”

In addition to the funds already raised in support of the Better Together initiative, this collaboration is made possible by a generous donor who believes in our Catholic schools and all students having a life giving experience in them, O’Linn added..

“Jesus said ‘Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’,” said Davis-Frecker. “He did not say just some of the children, or only certain types of children. Since 1954, Julie Billiart Schools have been witnessing to this Gospel call. We are excited to be partners in this movement for all Catholic school children to learn better together.”

Click here to learn more about Julie Billiart Schools, Catholic K-9 schools that serve students with a variety of learning differences including mild to moderate autism, anxiety, ADHD and dyslexia.

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