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Academic Support

Bishop Ireton is proud to offer a variety of programs designed to provide a supportive and inclusive education. Mindful of the belief that all human beings are made in the image of Christ, we seek to foster spirituality and inclusion among all members of our student body. Students learn together, worship together, serve together, and celebrate one another. Bishop Ireton’s Special Services Team collaborates with parents, content teachers, school counselors, and the school nurse, to provide students with the necessary differentiated supports to achieve success in all components of their school career. The BI Special Services Team approaches programming as Christ-centered and student-centered work, with the belief that all children have the right to access a high-quality Catholic education and reach their full potential. We offer several year-long special service programs to support students academically.

Paid Support (cost listed below is for the 2020-2021 school year)
  • Academic Support Program: $2,000/year (in addition to tuition)
  • De Sales Program: 3,000/year (in addition to tuition)
  • Options Program: $3,500/year (in addition to tuition)
Free Support
  • Medical Accomodations
  • English Learner Supports
  • Writing Center
  • Math Help Center
  • Testing Center
  • Summer Support Offerings

List of 5 members.

  • Photo of J-Lynn Van Pelt

    J-Lynn Van Pelt 

    Director of Special Services
    Marymount University - Bachelor of Arts
    University of Virginia - Master of Education
    University of Nevada, Reno - Advanced Studies in Literacy & Education Administration
  • Photo of Meaghan Leslie

    Mrs. Meaghan Leslie 

    Academic Support - Freshman Connections Program
    George Mason University - Masters of Special Education
    Catholic University of America - BA
  • Photo of Jason Smith

    Mr. Jason Smith 

    Academic Support
    Moorehouse College - BA
    University of the District of Columbia - Master of Arts
  • Photo of Ian MacDougall

    Ian MacDougall 

    Academic Support
    Lynchburg College - Bachelor of Science
    Qualified Mental Health Professional - Children (QMHP-C)
  • Photo of Rick Wilson

    Brother Rick Wilson 

    Writing Consultant for Academic Enrichment
    George Mason University - M.A. in Writing
    The Catholic University of America - Ph.D.

Academic Support Program

The Academic Support Program (ASP) is designed for students with a history of learning difficulties or deficits in organization and planning, who, with support, can succeed with the competitive college-prep curriculum at Bishop Ireton.  The primary purpose of the Academic Support Program is to teach students the study skills necessary for student success in a challenging high school curriculum. Students attend ASP during their scheduled study hall period, receiving individual and small group instruction as well as help completing assignments. ASP purposefully provides a more structured environment than study hall where teachers can model effective approaches to workload management. ASP teachers also work to develop organizational skills, time management, and student application of effective study methods for assignments. The freshman student, in particular, also receives support with social/emotional needs. Self-advocacy skills are an early focus so that students can work with teachers to ask for appropriate help when needed. These classes are purposefully kept small so that personalized support can be developed, resulting in limited accepted enrollment.

The fee for the Academic Support Program for the 2020-2021 school year is $2,000 in addition to tuition.

De Sales Program

The De Sales Program (DSP) is designed to serve students with a diagnosed mild to moderate specific learning disability or developmental disability. Students take all core subjects in regularly scheduled classes and attend the DSP in a resource classroom during their study hall period. Ninth grade students in the DSP enroll in six classes, spend two class periods in the DSP, and delay taking a foreign language. All other grades attend the DSP during one class period. The main focus of the DSP is to assist students with academic and organizational needs by providing them with specialized tutorial support to help them meet the demands of their academic course requirements.

Teachers provide individual and small group instruction and closely monitor student academic progress, providing skill reinforcement in most subject areas. Emphasis is placed on improving executive functioning skills and the development of effective study techniques. Communication with parents is a key component of the De Sales program. Parent-Student-Teacher conferences are scheduled to establish and review individual education goals. DSP teachers work with students and their content area teachers to design appropriate adaptations and accommodations to help students be successful in an academic setting.

Through modeling and facilitating conversations, DSP teachers also help students develop self-advocacy skills so they ask for help from teachers when needed.

Students in the De Sales Program will have a Student Assistance Plan (SAP) that is provided to teachers outlining the student’s specific disability as well as reasonable accommodations and minor modifications that can be made to help the student access Bishop Ireton’s college-prep course work. This DSP addresses the needs of the students according to the resources available within Bishop Ireton High School. Not all recommendations and accommodations in a student’s psychoeducational evaluation are binding or feasible in the DSP resource setting, but every effort will be made to meet the individual needs of each student.

The fee for the De Sales Program for the 2020-21 school year is $3,000 in addition to tuition.

The Options Program

The Options Program is a special education program for students diagnosed with moderate intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, providing students with an individualized inclusive, student-centered Catholic education. Students in the Options Program are included in college prep courses with their peers with coursework and assessments modified to align with the student’s goals and strengths. They also have targeted small group (1:6 teacher to student ratio) classes scheduled in the resource room to work on their goals and develop skills needed to successfully transition into adulthood.

Options places a strong commitment on academics with significant emphasis towards students' vocation/transitional exploration, and it is founded on the belief that all individuals can learn. Each student’s course of study is individualized and developed through collaboration between the student, parents and faculty. An Individualized Catholic Education Plan (ICEP) helps us to determine each student’s level of inclusion. What a student will learn is clearly identified in the annual goals statement, and individual progress is reported quarterly based on demonstrated achievements. Each student's needs are accommodated through a variety of instructional strategies and assessment tools in order to realize his or her potential. A primary goal for each student is to be as fully integrated as possible into the total life of the school community.

Options students do not earn a high school diploma but rather, on graduation day, receive a special Options Program certificate of completion. This allows students in the BI Options Program to continue their education with their zoned school district beyond the age of 18.

Under the supervision of school staff, neurotypical peer mentors assist students in the Options program in both special and general education classes. Peer Mentor volunteers are trained in strategies to best support students with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as in what resources are available at the school to help. They assist with academic work, provide positive behavior supports, facilitate inclusion in both academic and non-academic settings, serve as advocates and build friendships with the student they peer mentor.

The fee for the Options Program for the 2020-21 school year is $3,500 in addition to tuition.

Medical Accommodations

The School Nurse and Director of Special Services work together to provide students with medical diagnoses that impact academics and accommodations needed to be successful in school. They also advocate for accessibility for school events and academic programming. Student services can be consultative or formal with Medical Plans and/or Student Assistance Plans developed to ensure the student is safe and can participate throughout the school day. When a student sustains a concussion, the Bishop Ireton Athletic Trainers collaborate to develop a Concussion Plan to assist with academics during recovery.

English Learner Supports

Bishop Ireton does not have a formalized English Learner (EL) program, but does strive to support international students so they can be successful in the school’s fast-paced academics while continuing to develop their English language skills. Students are screened previous to enrollment for English language proficiency through standardized testing and an interview with school staff. If accepted for enrollment, the Director of Special Services meets with the student and parents/guardians to develop a Student Assistance Plan. Language-based learning accommodations can be provided to make sure the student has support for the unique task of learning core content in their non-native language.

Contact for Accommodations

If you think your child may qualify for academic accommodations, please contact our Director of Special Services J-Lynn Van Pelt.

Writing Center

The Bishop Ireton Writing Center, The Word Write Shop (WWS), is available as a standard support for all students. The WWS is designed to assist students in sharpening and reinforcing the writing instruction that they receive across the curriculum by providing help at every stage of the writing process. The goal is to improve students’ written communication skills by providing them with tutorial help in planning, drafting, and revising essays, research papers, reports, oral presentations, and college/scholarship applications. The WWS is staffed daily by Bishop Ireton English teachers on a rotating basis. Brother Rick Wilson, our longest tenured faculty member who has his doctorate from The Catholic University of America, also provides intensive writing support by appointment.

What we can do for you and your student:
  • Help students improve no matter what his or her writing abilities are to begin with.
  • Help at any stage of the writing process.
  • Help foster an understanding of the discipline that is required to produce a well-written document/project/assignment.
  • Read students’ work in a responsive, non-judgmental manner.
  • Help students locate rough spots in his or her writings.
  • Refer students to appropriate sources for help on matters we cannot solve in the conference.
  • Show students critical thinking and analytical strategies for better self-editing.
  • Send a brief report to each student’s instructor about the conference.

Math Help Center

All students have the opportunity to receive support with their math coursework at Bishop Ireton. The Math Help Center is open during all study halls and students may request to visit for any extra support.

What we can do for you and your student:
  • Help students in all areas of math or refer them to which teacher can help with their specific topic
  • Provide instruction on missed lessons after an absence
  • Additional instruction on concepts not yet mastered
  • Help with homework or with specific areas of confusion so students can then complete the homework
  • Review returned assessments with the student to make sure they understand mistakes and know the content going forward
  • Help with studying for upcoming assessments

Testing Center

The Testing Center is a monitored classroom environment available for making up assessments when absent or completing additional testing as assigned by the teacher. The Testing Center is available for all students, but students who have Student Assistance Plans with specific testing accommodations can use the Testing Center as part of their SAP.

Current Hours for the Testing Center:

Before School: 7 am-7:45 am on M, T, TH, F
After School: 3:10 pm-4 pm on M, T, W

Summer Support Offerings

During the summer, Bishop Ireton offers a variety of support classes in June and August for incoming freshmen as well as rising juniors and seniors. These classes are not offered for credit. Information specific to the course offerings to the summer of 2019 will be available on our website Spring 2019.

Rising 10th, 11th and 12th grade students desiring to take a class (or classes) for credit over the summer may do so with prior approval from the Bishop Ireton administration.

Each course is for two weeks and meets in the morning. There are no Friday classes. Cost and courses are subject to change Summer 2019

Courses for Rising Juniors/Seniors
Algebra Support
Designed to review concepts learned in Algebra I in preparation for students involved in Algebra II as well as review concepts in preparation for the SAT.
College Reading, Research, and Writing
Designed to reinforce the key requirements for success in reading comprehension and writing expectations.

Courses for Incoming Freshman
Introduction to Freshman English
Designed to prepare incoming freshmen for Bishop Ireton’s 9th grade English college-prep curriculum
Introduction to Algebra I
Reinforce mathematical concepts learned in middle school and introduce newer algebraic concepts that will become prevalent in the upcoming academic year.
201 Cambridge Road
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 751-7606
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