From isolation to inclusion: The metamorphosis of the St. Anthony School Programs

Kathryn Ann Meyer, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to examine how various influences could effect the change process of a Catholic school as it moved from a self-contained site toward a more inclusive program in several sites. Currently, educators are faced with the issues and debates regarding the inclusion movement. The researcher looked at the change process through the lenses of restructuring/change, inclusion, leadership, and staff development. A qualitative approach was used for this research which involved all nine sites of the St. Anthony School Programs. The primary methods of data collection were through site observations, interviews, conversations with key people involved in the change process, and the examination of documents. A survey was used to establish sweeping concerns that the parents and staff had regarding the inclusive program. The St. Anthony School Programs is an inclusive special education program operated by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, which offers a range of services within a resource room model for children ages 5-21 with developmental disabilities. The change process was instituted as an organizational top-down decision. The unanimous responses from all participants interviewed was how the inclusive school setting is a benefit to all children. The ongoing staff development was found to be lacking in its effectiveness. In general, collaborative staff development relationships are viewed as paramount for the success of an inclusive program. In the final analysis, the St. Anthony School Programs achieved their goal by evolving very quickly (within 3 years) from the isolated school of the past to a contemporary inclusive setting offering a less restrictive environment for all their students. Thus by documenting the development of this program Catholic schools and dioceses in the United States will be afforded a research-based model.

Subject Area

School administration|Special education|Religious education

Recommended Citation

Meyer, Kathryn Ann, "From isolation to inclusion: The metamorphosis of the St. Anthony School Programs" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9839513.