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Thursday, August 31, 2023

[Cleveland, OH, August 31, 2023] – The Diocese of Cleveland’s Office of Catholic Education and Julie Billiart Schools are pleased to announce the growth of their partnership aimed at fostering inclusivity and enhancing special education needs within all Catholic schools throughout the diocese. This innovative collaboration will add the services of a full-time intervention specialist consultant to the existing partnership that has been providing professional development, support, and leadership consultation to all Catholic schools in the diocese for greater inclusion of students with special learning needs.

Gina Castelli, M.Ed. will serve as the Intervention Specialist Consultant, providing 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, M.Ed., 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, Ed.D., 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 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.

“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.”

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools gave us hope after our daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability. At JB, she thrived in the small classes, received necessary therapies, and developed the self-confidence to ask for help when she needed it. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote They have all the resources necessary, specialized to the individual learning of each child, and the heart that goes with it. I don't think we would have stayed in Ohio if it wasn't for JB! close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote Julie Billiart Schools has helped my child become a better version of himself. The teachers and therapists at JB really know and understand how to reach children who learn differently. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote All of the teachers and staff at JB are patient and willing to take the extra time to make sure we, as parents, understand and are comfortable. close-quote

JB Parent

open-quote I don’t think I will ever be able to put into words how grateful I am that you saw my daughter for all that she is today and all that she is yet to become. close-quote

Tammie Sommer

open-quote My kids love everything about JB and look forward to going to school every day and seeing their friends and teachers. JB is truly a one of a kind school enriching young lives everyday. close-quote

JB Parent

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