TAUNTON – Research estimates that 14%i of students attending public schools in the United States have some sort of learning difference.  Many families desire a Catholic education for their children, and traditionally Catholic schools were not properly equipped with supports for students with learning differences.  Two years ago, Coyle and Cassidy High School introduced a special education program in order to serve a growing need in the overall student population.  This program has helped many students achieve a faith-based college-preparatory high school education which has lead them to attend the college of their choice.

Coyle and Cassidy is pleased to announce that this program has been enhanced to include a director of Special Education as well as a full time special education teacher. William Hakeem has been appointed the director of Special Education, tasked to overseeing the special education programs at Coyle and Cassidy High and Middle School as well as Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River.  Most recently, Kathryn MacLellan was hired to provide full time special education teaching services for Coyle and Cassidy High School and Middle School students.

“We have been receiving a growing number of inquiries from families whose children have learning differences, and they are thrilled when they tour our school and realize they can have a Catholic education,” said Kathy St. Laurent, principal of both Coyle and Cassidy and Bishop Connolly.  “Our class sizes are a more suitable learning environment and with the guidance of our special education professionals, these students thrive and get accepted into their preferred colleges.  It is such a blessing to see struggling students make a complete change and truly love school and learning!”

Kerry Peroni, who is president of the S.E.A.L. Foundation, feels blessed that Coyle and Cassidy saw the benefit of a partnership to provide special education supports and the expertise of William and Kathryn.

“For families of children who learn differently, there exists a complicated navigation process that includes searching for a school and team of educators who can provide the proper instructional and emotional supports their child needs to be successful,” she explained. “The S.E.A.L. Foundation was created to help families with that journey and give them a choice of where their child could be educated and thrive.  We are thrilled to see the growth of this program and the positive impact it is having for families and students who simply learn differently.”

The S.E.A.L. Foundation provides funding for special education services and staff development, as well as advocacy support and technical assistance to a broad community of non-public schools through its Pathways Approach Program.

Special Education teacher MacLellan is thrilled to be a part of this growing program.  She shared, “There is such an overwhelming need for children with learning differences to find the right fit, and Coyle and Cassidy offers such an open and welcoming community.  I have already seen progress with many of my students.  The teachers, administration and staff have been wonderful and supportive of this program.”

Hakeem believes that the addition of Kathryn MacLellan to the program “is such a blessing for these students and their families.”

For more information about Coyle and Cassidy’s special education program, please call (508) 823-6164 or visit www.coylecassidy.com/specialeducation

About the Catholic Schools Alliance
The Catholic Schools Alliance comprises administrators, teachers, staff, parents and clergy joined in partnership to educate the children of the Diocese of Fall River in Catholic faith and values. Our schools have a demanding educational culture that helps students from across the academic spectrum reach their God-given potential. With an emphasis on service and respect for the dignity of every person, we prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s diverse world and become meaningful contributors to society.


[1] https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cgg.asp

O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
O Reverendíssimo Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River