Inclusion Through Expanded Services


“No child should be denied his or her right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.” -Pope Benedict XVI

Many Catholic high schools in our region and across the nation are successfully incorporating students with disabilities into their schools, including schools like Bishop O’Connell that strive to maintain a rigorous college prep curriculum.

Bishop O’Connell offers expanded services so that students with cognitive and intellectual disabilities can have access to a Catholic education in an inclusive high school environment. This environment allows the student with disability to grow academically, socially and spiritually with their peers.

Students receive support in the general education classroom, and individual or small group instruction when appropriate.

What does an inclusive Catholic education at O'Connell mean?

  • Students receiving expanded services benefit from the expertise of three teachers with their master's degree in special education.
  • The collaboration between general education teachers and the expanded services team is foundational to our successful inclusive approach.
  • Individualized Catholic Education Plans serve as a guide for each student’s education.
  • Trained peer mentors support individualized learning while growing personally through their experiences.
Expanded services

The Fruits of Inclusive Education

“The atmosphere at O’Connell has become kinder. Students are more understanding and welcoming, and see beyond differences.”
- Jack M. '19, Peer Mentor

“The relationships and ability of the heart that I have seen drawn out of students, both with and without intellectual disabilities, is a privilege that will forever impact my life and will continue to impact many others.”
- M. Madden, Teacher

“The amount of confidence, independence and growth we've seen in our son in the last few years has been nothing short of amazing. The doors swung open and wide for him when he entered O’Connell.”
- Meg Grattan, Parent '20


Become a Peer Mentor

Peer mentor applications are accepted each spring. Find out more...

Thank You to Our Foundational Supporters

Porto Charities
Tribute 21

In the News

From Inclusion to Belonging - Embracing Disability as Part of the Church
Feb. 5, 2022 

"Don't We Already Do Inclusion?"
Virtual Workshop featuring Dr. Paula Kluth
Oct. 8, 2020 at 7 PM

"Business is Booming"
Arlington Catholic Herald
Dec. 18, 2019

"Peer Mentors at Marymount Inclusion Event"
Oct. 30, 2019

"Intelligent Lives" is Catalyst for Change
Arlington Catholic Herald
March 4, 2019

Panel Discussion from "Intelligent Lives" Viewing
at Bishop O'Connell - Feb. 27, 2019

The Joy of Being a Peer Mentor
Arlington Catholic Herald
Feb. 14, 2019

O'Connell's Soccer Club Takes Off
Arlington Catholic Herald
Nov. 15, 2018

O'Connell Basketball Player Assists Peers
Arlington Catholic Herald
May 23, 2018

Answering the Call to Inclusive Catholic Education
Mar. 6, 2017


Mrs. Susan Rinaldi


InstagramFollow us on Instagram at @Expanded_Services