"We as Christians and citizens are called to a more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive society."
Saint Ann School is proud to be the first elementary school within the Diocese of Nashville to offer an inclusive Catholic education program to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). There is no question the need exists. This program is a natural progression of the Pope John Paul II High School Hand-In-Hand Program to the elementary school level which can provide Catholic families the gift of sharing the sacraments together and to be a part of our Catholic family of faith in the Diocese of Nashville.
The Hand-In-Hand Options Program has enjoyed 15 years of continued success at Pope John Paul II High School with students going on to post-secondary programs and entering gainful employment. As a Catholic community, we are called to provide a similar program at the elementary school level. Children with IDD need a supportive and inclusive faith based community to learn and grown in their faith as well as receive the necessary educational foundation for success.
With the guiding hand and aid of many professionals, the Hand-In-Hand Options Program was modified for grade schools. A team of educators, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and the Vanderbilt University Peabody College Center for Special Education, with diocesan and parochial school representatives have been meeting for a year to develop the program. The 2017-18 academic year will be the pilot year at Saint Ann School for this wonderful and much needed program in the elementary level.
The Hand in Hand Options Program provided a quality Catholic education for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, giving them the means to achieve spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical development.
Through the mission of the Catholic Schools Office and as a ministry of the universal Church, the Hand in Hand Options Program of the Diocese of Nashville strives to provide an exceptional Catholic experience open to all in Middle Tennessee, creating an inclusive educational environment for students with IDD, their families, and those who educate them to become lifelong learners and witnesses to the Gospel.
- to develop the whole child in the image of Christ
- to create a voice for children with IDD
- to collaborate toward an identifiable common goal
- to foster a sense of self which is crucial for future success in the community
- to provide a caring and sustaining learning environment emphasizing the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of each of God's children
- to foster sharing of best practices in educating children with IDD
- to provide spiritual opportunities faithful to Catholic beliefs, ethics, and sacraments in an inclusive educational environment for children with IDD and the school community
- to facilitate and model the teachings of Christ
- to respect and advocate a life of service rooted in Christian Doctrine
For more information about the Hand In Hand Options Program, please contact Anna Rumfola, at 615-269-0568 or [email protected] or Maggie Musacchio, HIHOP Director, at 615-269-0568.