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About the School Program

St.Coletta of Greater Washington's building on Independence Ave in Washington DC.In September 2006 St. Coletta opened the St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School at 19th Street and Independence Avenue SE in the District of Columbia. The new school is a 99,000 square foot, state of the art facility designed by world-renowned architect, Michael Graves. The school serves students with intellectual disabilities, autism and secondary disabilities, making it one of only a handful of charter schools in the nation serving this population.

Who can attend?

Student pointing to a station on a metro mapSt. Coletta serves students from Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Students served are three to twenty-two years of age and must be diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, autism or multiple disabilities and have minimum of 24.5 hours of special education services on their IEP. They may also have the following secondary disabling conditions: speech language disorders, vision or hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, health impairments and behavior disorders.


The program is an extension of the school's philosophy that stresses the importance of building on and celebrating individual strengths. The program at St. Coletta includes: functional academics, skills of daily living, community based instruction, adaptive physical education, arts education, computer skills and vocational training. Upon graduation students earn a high school certificate in lieu of a high school diploma.

The therapies offered are:

  • speech/language therapy (including augmentative communication)
  • occupational therapy
  • physical therapy
  • music and art therapy
  • hydrotherapy
  • assistive technology
  • counseling
  • social work services
  • behavior management
  • vision therapy
  • autism resource services
  • nursing services
  • parent training

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Progress is noted on the IEP (Individualized Educational Programs) goals four times per year. These progress reports are sent home to parents. Parents are also invited to come to the school for progress reports in January and are encouraged to make appointments at any time of the year to review progress with the staff. Progress is also noted in the daily communication book.

St. Coletta does not use a traditional grading system; rather portfolios are kept on each student to evaluate progress and plan for the future.

A student is deemed ready to graduate from St. Coletta when he or she has successfully transitioned into the world of employment, or at the end of the semester in which he or she turns 22. Graduating students receive a certificate of IEP completion at a special ceremony. Please note a student cannot earn a high school diploma at St. Coletta.

All data in a child's educational records is available for parents' inspection and review.

Building Features

Sensory RoomThe school has many unique features that enhance the educational experience for the students. There is a full size gymnasium, a hydrotherapy room, a sensory room and art and music studios. The building is divided into "houses" which are small schools within a larger school and are connected along an enclosed "village green". Each "house" features a teaching kitchen to practice daily living skills. Students are grouped according to age and stay in each house for several years. All therapists and teachers serving that group of students are also assigned to the house and the group becomes like a small family.

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Students with Autism

We are often asked about our approach to teaching children with autism. The approach is essentially the same as that for teaching any child. We do not subscribe to the theory that there is a typical autistic child nor do we engage in the search for a "magic bullet," some new innovation that will "unlock" the autistic child. Our approach to each child is a very individual one. With one child Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) may work but not with another. Most of all, we try to be humanistic and inclusive. We accept each student for who he/she is and work with him/her using various approaches, focusing on strengths rather than weaknesses. These approaches include using picture communication, sensory diets, positive behavior intervention and management of environments based on the TEACCH program. It is through accommodations and intensive, often one on one, support that children become successful members of the group.

We try each day to practice the values of friendship, kindness, and self-worth and to think of ourselves as a true community.

Enrollment for DC Residents

If you live in the District of Columbia you can apply for admission by sending an application for your child to the admissions office during the open enrollment period. The office is located at:

St. Coletta of Greater Washington
1901 Independence Avenue SE,
Washington, DC 20003

After we receive the information someone will contact you for a tour.

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St. Coletta Public Charter School Lottery Procedure

Open Enrollment Information

Open Enrollment for school year 2017-2018 is now closed.

The lottery for school year 2017-2018 will be held at the school on May 18, 2017 at 6pm.

As per DC Public Charter School Law, selection for admission to the St. Coletta Special Education Public Charter School will be via a random public lottery system.

St. Coletta Special Education PCS held a lottery for school year 2017-2018 on May 18, 2017.
The following lottery numbers were drawn:

  1. 171818
  2. 171822
  3. 171814
  4. 171843
  5. 171809
  6. 171803
  7. 171808
  8. 171826
  9. 171836
  10. 171834
  11. 171835
  12. 171839
  13. 171849
  14. 171838

If a child's name is selected, the family/guardian will be contacted regarding their intent to enroll their child within the school program. An applicant offered a seat will be required to affirmatively respond to an offer for acceptance in writing within 48 hours. Those applicants not responding within this designated period of time will be removed from the waiting list and be required to reapply should they wish consideration for any future openings.

If there are more names in the lottery pool than spaces available in a house/age level, those students' names not selected will form a waiting list based on the date in which they completed the application process and went on the lottery pool list. A wait list will be maintained for each of the five house/age levels. All other applications will be placed after them in order of their submission to the waiting list. If a space becomes available during the school year, admissions will be offered to the next student on the waiting list.

No offer shall be made to any student not properly entitled to the available space.

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Enrollment for Virginia and Maryland Residents

St. Coletta of Greater Washington continues to operate a private school in the same building with the DC public charter school. To the children, this is seamless and feels like one school. If you are a Virginia or Maryland resident the IEP process serves as the vehicle for admission through your local school jurisdiction. St. Coletta does not accept private pay students.


Transportation is provided by the student's home school jurisdiction. In addition, the handicapped-accessible Stadium-Armory Metro stop is located next to the school grounds.

For more information about enrollment please contact Catherine Decker at 202-350-8680 or

Lunch Program

St. Coletta of Greater Washington has applied to participate in the National School Lunch Program. Rules for acceptance and participation in the Child Nutrition Programs and all activities are the same regardless of race, color, sex, age, disability, national origin, religion, or marital status. In the operation of the child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, color, sex, national origin, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital and family status.

If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the Government of the District of Columbia's Office of Human Rights at (202) 727-3545, or the United States Department of Agriculture's Office of Civil Rights at (866) 632-9992 (Voice) or (800)877-8339 (TDD)

For inquiries or to file a complaint regarding compliance with Title IX as it relates to employees or third parties, please contact Natalie Gibson

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