In 1999, Saint Catherine Academy opened on the campus of the Catholic Center in Bridgeport as a school dedicated to students with special needs. In response to a need in the Catholic community for a faith-based alternative for students with developmental disabilities, the school began with a program that offered both academic and life skills in a nurturing setting.
In June 2003, Saint Catherine Academy was granted approval by the State of Connecticut Department of Education as a private special education program. With this approval, the Academy began accepting placements from area public school districts in addition to placements by parents. As enrollment grew, the facility needs as changed and in 2005, the School Advisory Board initiated a Capital Campaign to fund a new facility. This new “Saint Catherine Academy” opened in Fairfield, CT in the fall of 2007.
In June 2007, Saint Catherine Academy celebrated its first graduation with Bishop William E. Lori presenting a diploma to our first graduate. The State of Connecticut Department of Education extended its approval in 2008 and again in 2013. In the 2013 report, Saint Catherine Academy was commended for its small class sizes allowing for the development of student-specific activities; effective integration of technology in the curriculum; well-maintained facility with a Life Skills apartment; highly quality and good variety of vocational opportunities and a high level of collaboration between education staff and therapists.
The School Advisory Board completed a Strategic Plan in 2013 which called for broader definition of disabilities served to included developmental disabilities with autism as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2015, the School Advisory Board transitioned to a Board of Directors as Saint Catherine Academy became part of Saint Catherine Center for Special Needs. The program continues to adjust to the needs of the student population.