Pope John Paul II High School established the Hand in Hand Options Program, a program for students with intellectual disabilities, in 2004.  The goal of the program is to make education in a Catholic high school community available to students who would not be able to pursue the college preparatory program at JPII without intensive special education support.

Students in the Hand in Hand Options Program benefit from continuing their education in a Catholic community, which provides them with the resources, culture, and environment where they can grow intellectually, spiritually, and morally.  The administration believes that it is a matter of justice and provides all students with an example of a living Catholic community that places the dignity of the individual and the call to human relationship at the center of the educational experience.

Each student’s curriculum is driven by his or her individualized goals, which provide for a mixture of instruction in general education classes, small groups and one-on-one.  Upon finishing the four-year program, students enrolled in the Hand in Hand Options Program receive a certificate of completion. Students often choose to participate in vocational training or post-secondary education programs on college campuses after graduation.

JPII is committed to providing educational opportunities to students with intellectual disabilities along a continuum of services that offer access to and participation in the activities of the school and as appropriate to the educational needs of the students. Through the integration of the Hand in Hand Program, the school continues to become a stronger community.

A candidate should have a current Individualized Education Plan (IEP); history with a school setting; must be able to provide self care; have good communication skills; and no history of conduct or behavioral problems.  Prospective students will participate in the Hand in Hand Program admission procedures, which includes a family interview.

The cost of the program to the school is estimated to be $54,000 in excess of tuition revenue. The program is funded through foundations, grants, and private donations.  Because of the high cost of the program, it is necessary to raise funds for the Hand in Hand Program.  JPII, a non-profit 501c3 organization, has set up an account and gifts may be made payable to the JPII Hand in Hand Fund.

For more detailed information about the program visit HIH.

Kim Shaver, Director of Student Support (615) 822-2375 or