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Academy Program Home Academics & Student Support Special Education Academy Program

The Academy Program is a special education program designed for students who are interested in earning a CA state high school diploma in a smaller, co-taught classroom setting for all core classes. 


  • Structured, specialized learning environment for CA state diploma-bound students who desire a Catholic education
  • Co-taught program: one general education teacher and one special education teacher teach classes jointly in the subjects of math, science, social science and English
  • Classes size is twelve or fewer Academy students in the core subject classes of math, science, social science and English.
  • Academy students integrate into typical religion and elective courses with use of peer mentors to implement academic and social accommodations.
  • All academic and elective courses are labeled with the Academy distinction on the student’s transcript.
  • Students work towards a non-college preparatory CA state diploma (classes are not designated with A-G or UC/CSU approved credits).
  • CA state standards for diplomacy

The Academy Program was life-changing for our daughter Katie and for our entire family. The inclusionary aspect of the program allowed our daughter a typical high school experience in a faith-based setting. She earned a diploma and developed confidence in herself both academically, and, equally as important, socially. Katie is now enrolled in college across the country and is learning to live independently. Her younger sisters saw first-hand the impact the Academy Program has on its students and became peer mentors. They’ve both said it is probably the most rewarding part of their Cathedral Catholic experiences. – Jennifer and Daniel Curran, parents of Katie Curran ‘19

Typical Academy Four Year High School Plan

  • Academy English
  • Academy Math
  • Academy Biology
  • Academy Study Skills
  • Catholic Faith 9 – AC
  • Foundations in Visual Art and Design – AC
  • Physical Education – AC
  • Academy English
  • Academy Math
  • Academy Anatomy & Physiology
  • Academy World History
  • Academy Study Skills
  • Catholic Faith 10 – AC
  • Elective
  • Academy English
  • Academy Math
  • Academy Oceanography
  • Academy US History
  • Academy Study Skills
  • Catholic Faith 11 – AC
  • Elective
  • Academy English
  • Academy Math
  • Academy Government
  • Academy Study Skills
  • Catholic Faith 12 – AC
  • Elective
  • Elective

Post-High School:

  • Students can attend community college in order to obtain an associate’s degree.
  • After an associate’s degree is earned and prerequisites are met, students are able to apply to transfer to four year universities.
  • Students can apply for similar programs at a four year university and earn a certificate, not a bachelor’s degree.

Peer Mentors

Student mentors are a critical component of the Academy Program. These peer mentors are juniors and seniors who are chosen to be role models and academic supports for students, and they must meet certain standards of excellence. They are selected through a rigorous screening process that includes letters of recommendation, interviews and a base GPA level. 

Academy mentors have two primary roles:

  • to help provide accommodations to the Academy students
  • to act as a liaison between the Academy teacher and the general education teacher.

The accommodations include (but are not limited to):

Organizing materialsHelping with note-taking
Conducting planner checksMonitoring frustration levels 
Reading questions/passages aloud Checking for understanding/focus
Encouraging interactions with other peersUpdating a Google Calendar with assignments/tests
Social liaison during lunch, dances and clubs when ableHelping with study guides (Quizlets, Google Docs, etc.)
Working with the subject teacher to reduce (not change) homework assignments if necessaryChecking in with Academy teachers regularly on student’s progress

​As an academy mentor, I’ve had the privilege of working with a great group of hard-working students who bring their best effort to the classroom every day. It’s inspiring to see their success throughout the year, and I enjoy helping them achieve their academic goals. Outside of the classroom, I have done my best to help integrate them into the social community at Cathedral Catholic. At the end of the year, I love to look back and reflect with them on how far they’ve come since the start of the school year because it motivates them to go above and beyond their goals. - Quinn Conway ‘22

If you would like further information, please fill out the inquiry form.


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