In 2002, Cardinal Hayes High School opened a program to serve the needs of a growing population of Catholic school students with learning disabilities, speech and language deficits, and other health impairments who wished to become Hayesmen. The design and execution of instruction and services have changed and expanded over time, but the principle mission has remained the same - to provide a special needs population with the opportunity to attend a quality Catholic high school, rich in tradition and service, with the necessary academic support and services that would normally not be available in a Catholic school setting.
Each school year, more and more families are applying for acceptance into this program. The admission process involves grade school teacher recommendations, copies of educational information like IEPs, social histories, and psycho-educational reports, student academic records, as well as an interview process with both parent(s) and the student. After a student is accepted, a program is chosen for him which is designed to foster his academic, social and spiritual development. The Academy has smaller class sizes, a double block of English Language Arts each day and incorporates SETSS, speech and language, and counseling services provided by the NYC Board of Education and the coordination of occupational and physical therapy through an approved NYC provider. The Academy has a program director who monitors student progress, coordinates the delivery of student services as per the IEP, is the intermediary with the public school Committee on Special Education, chairs annual reviews, works with the teaching staff and serves as the counselor for all students with IEP’s.