About Special Education Schools

Founded in 1950 by Monsignor Elmer Behrmann, the Department of Special Education of the Archdiocese of St. Louis offers a variety of high-quality programs to meet the special needs of students who do not experience success in a general education setting.

The Department of Special Education offers elementary special education schools, early intervention centers, learning centers located partner Catholic elementary schools, pre-vocational services for students with disabilities in partner Catholic high schools, and a center for autism and/or other severe learning disorders.

Each location offers individualized instruction and activities designed to help every child reach his/her God-given potential in a nurturing, accepting, family-like environment. Special education instructional programs include religious education, sacramental preparation and Gospel values. Each school and center is accredited and licensed and seeks to exceed minimum standards, striving for excellence.

Special education schools and centers focus on a child's strengths, abilities, and current successes and potential for the future, rather than on his/her disability. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child's social, personal and academic growth in partnership with faculty members specially trained in learning disorders and child development. In a setting with a low student-to-teacher ratio, teachers can give special attention to improvement of a student's organizational skills, homework completion and school conduct, as well as to providing an appropriately challenging curriculum that provides opportunity for success.

Mission Statement
The mission of the Department of Special Education is to provide quality education, success in life, and a living faith for children with special learning needs.

Types of Special Education Programs Offered
Catholic special education programs are categorized as Archdiocesan schools/centers and private schools.


  • Early Intervention Centers that provide day care and pre-school for all children ages six weeks to six years and developmental, occupational, speech and physical therapies and classroom-based intervention services for children with developmental disabilities and delays.
  • Elementary Special Education Schools for students in grades K-8 who have one or more diagnosed learning disabilities, attention deficits, speech-language disorders or cognitive processing deficits that require special education.
  • A Center for Autism for students with autism-spectrum disorders that require a customized program, intensive speech-language therapy and sensory integration therapy.
  • Learning Centers located in partner Catholic elementary and secondary schools for students who have one or more diagnosed learning disabilities, attention deficits, speech-language disorders or cognitive processing deficits that require part of their curriculum to be taught in a special education classroom.
  • Pre-vocational services for students with disabilities in partner Catholic high schools.


Private special education schools are owned and operated by other Catholic agencies and the Archdiocese of St. Louis maintains a collaborative relationship with them.

  • St. Joseph's Institute for the Deaf provides auditory-oral education and a wide range of programs and services for hearing-impaired children and young adults.

Admission to Archdiocesan Department of Special Education Schools and Programs:

Records required for admission include:

  • diagnostic and prescriptive reports from all professionals who have diagnosed and/or who are currently providing services to address students' disabilities or special needs.
  • records from all elementary school grades attended to date.

These records are utilized to gain the fullest possible understanding of students’ needs to determine appropriate placements, learning profiles, and educational services offered.

For additional information contact:

Department of Special Education
Catholic Education Center
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis, MO  63119