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The Catherine Learning Program

Learning specialists providing individualized strategies for academic success.

THE CATHERINE LEARNING PROGRAM of GWYNEDD MERCY ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL is an academic support
service for a unique group of college-bound students with documented learning differences in reading, writing and math, and/or attention issues, organizational difficulties, or memory processing problems. This specialized program to address a range of student needs, and named for Mercy foundress, Catherine McAuley, the program incorporates key ingredients to assist a student in reaching her full potential. The students have a scheduled period each day where they develop individualized strategies for academic success.

The goal of the program is to help each student understand her own learning difference and style.  In addition, the learning specialists, in collaboration with all teachers, provide remediation and compensatory strategies to help the student become an independent learner.

The Catherine Learning Program provides a challenging and nurturing environment for learning. In this tradition, and in conjunction with the greater Gwynedd community, the staff empowers each student to accept responsibility for her own learning and to achieve her fullest potential. An important component in each student’s success is collaboration of program staff with other Gwynedd faculty, parents, and the school administration.

The Catherine Learning Program offers a personalized instructional approach to learning by aligning individual student needs
with researched-based strategies. For example, students with language processing differences may use assistive technology such as text-to-speech, audio books, or other options to help with reading. Increasingly, the use of specialized technology is contributing to providing adaptive methods for improving student learning and assessing academic achievement. Classroom accommodations and compensatory
strategies promote student empowerment that allows for self-determination toward academic success.

The Catherine Learning Program at Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School provides additional college preparatory academic support service for students with specific learning needs. Students who are part of the Catherine’s Place program will meet the same academic requirements of Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School.

The Catherine Learning Program, although not a mandatory four-year program, is seen as a four-year process of growth. Students develop compensatory strategies:

  • identify their learning styles
  • master academic tasks,
  • and employ learned strategies in the academic setting.

Assisted by the Learning Specialist, the students will focus on metacognition (awareness of how one thinks,) academic achievement, self-advocacy, and personal reflection in the context of their curriculum. The Catherine Learning Program is available for an additional fee with limited openings each year.