St. Joseph Program & Center

The St. Joseph Program and Center was named to honor St. Joseph, a patron of the Congregation of Holy Cross which sponsors Bishop McNamara High School. Known as compassionate, caring and mindful to the Holy Spirit, St. Joseph was the foster father to whom Jesus was entrusted, along with Mary his mother. His concern for the protection of the child Jesus provides a model for the nurturance of young people everywhere. St. Joseph is also the patron saint for fathers, workers and social justice; his feast days are March 19th and May 1st.

Program Description

Our St. Joseph program is designed to provide a positive educational and social experience for a select group of students with learning differences. The St. Joseph Center is staffed by highly qualified special education professionals who are dedicated to fostering maximum achievement in the demanding Bishop McNamara High School college preparatory program by promoting the skills and knowledge necessary to form intellectual autonomy. Students will benefit from individually designed interventions and accommodation plans, and they will receive specific study skill instruction in order to fortify each student's' areas of strength. Along with the support of the resource teacher, faculty and parents to provide the skills necessary for success in the regular classroom, high expectations will be maintained for students.

Research-based strategies comprise the foundation of the St. Joseph Program. The St. Joseph Program begins with summer school prior to the 9th grade year, when St. Joseph Program students take a study skills seminar and a review of math or English concepts. At the completion of summer school, the St. Joseph Center staff further evaluates each student and refines his or her individual accommodation plan. All St. Joseph Program students have a 9th grade study hall where they meet with the Program Director in the Learning Center. Students continue individual work on study skills, test taking skills, note taking skills, memorization skills, writing skills and managing time and assignments. At the conclusion of the 9th grade year, the St. Joseph Program Director will evaluate student participants to determine if continued support is recommended. Students may or may not continue to receive support through the St. Joseph Center based upon their individual needs.

Individual accommodation plans created for each student by the St. Joseph staff will be based on current psycho-educational testing and may include:

  • Consultation with St. Joseph Center staff
  • Extended time for testing
  • An extra set of textbooks for home use
  • Copies of lecture notes
  • Preferential seating
  • Foreign language assistance
  • Adaptive technology usage
  • Other specific accommodations as needed

The individual accommodation plans require ongoing collaborative work utilizing technology, parental involvement, staff support and faculty engagement. In high school, assistive technology becomes increasingly important to students. This technology has the potential to allow students to become independent learners and to be successful in higher education and in the work force. The parent partnership is an essential component in the pursuit of academic and social development as the students learn about learning and form their own intellectual autonomy. The staff of the St. Joseph Center and the Counseling Department will provide individual counseling within the St. Joseph program and/or referrals for outside support as needed for any issues impacting academic success.

Additionally, the Director of the St. Joseph Center, Mrs. Elaine Greene, will work closely with the students' teachers to provide support and to disseminate information about specific learning differences and ideas for effective instruction. Self-advocacy and meta-cognitive awareness are goals for every student as he or she focuses on independence and transitional success.

Bishop McNamara does not modify the curriculum requirements for students in the St. Joseph Program. Faculty members maintain high performance standards and achievement expectations for all Bishop McNamara High School students, in keeping with our focus as a college preparatory institution. St. Joseph program students will complete the same demanding college preparatory program as their peers, in an encouraging community that honors the individual, values learning diversity and fosters academic, personal and social growth. Our St. Joseph students will grow together, learn together, pray together, and gather strength from an inclusive school community that is richer and stronger for its diversity of talent and potential. For a printable version of this information, go to St. Joseph Program Brochure. For questions about the program, contact Mrs. Greene at

Applying to the St. Joseph Program

The application process for the St. Joseph Program is:

  1. Applicants must first complete an application for admission to Bishop McNamara High School by December 15th along with the required fee and all admission documentation including grades for the last two years, standardized test scores and two teacher recommendation. See Application Process.
  2. A St. Joseph Program Application AND all supporting documentation must be received with the application by December 15th. For the St. Joseph Program Application, go to SJP Application.
  3. Psycho-educational testing completed within the last three years must be submitted by December 15th. No exceptions are made to this policy.


St. Joseph Program fee (inclusive of required summer school fees) for the 9th grade year is set at $2000 for the 2015-16 school year. The fee for support through the St. Joseph Center in subsequent years is $500. For more information on the program, go to the St. Joseph Program website.

Bishop McNamara High School
6800 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747
Phone: 301.735.8401
Fax: 301.735.0934
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