History of St. Coletta of Wisconsin

The original St. Coletta building

The original St. Coletta building

Classroom photo taken in the late 1920’s

Classroom photo taken in the late 1920’s

group homes

In the late 1990’s people transitioned in to a community integrated setting moving from the school campus to group homes.

Corporate Headquarters

Recently renovated, St. Coletta of Wisconsin’s New Corporate Headquarters resides in the old Alverno buildings.

1904 - A family approached Father George Meyer about accepting their developmentally disabled daughter as a student. In September, four pupils arrived at St. Coletta. By December, the enrollment grew to ten pupils, including boys.

1931 - The St. Coletta Institute for Backward Youth was incorporated under a new title. "St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children". This title was chosen out of consideration for parents and family members; also for the residents, one of whom remarked, "We don't walk backward".

1948 - Serra Home was built and named in honor of a Franciscan missionary to the early California territory, Father J. Serra.

1963 - The First International Awards for Achievement in the field of Mental Retardation, sponsored by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, was attended by Sr. M. Anastasia and Sr. Mary Theodore.

1965 - The St. Coletta Habilitation Program was initiated to encourage young adults with mental retardation to become successful community members.

1976 - The passing of Public Law 94-142 guaranteed a free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment; non-discriminatory assessment prior to placement; the formulation of an individualized education plan for all persons placed in special education, and the right of parents to due process with respect to placement.

1983 - The Kennedy Family announced a gift in honor of Mrs. Rose Kennedy's 93rd birthday, to facilitate a program that would serve as a national model for aging persons with mental retardation.

1991 - Illinois Friends for St. Coletta-Wisconsin is established.

1995 - Individuals served by Coletta move out of a group home and into their own apartments, beginning a new chapter in the history of St. Coletta's programs in Madison.

1998 - The first home is opened in Waukesha. A few years later, the program grows to five homes.

2001 - St. Coletta expands into northern Illinois with the purchase of homes in Arlington Heights and Palatine.

2002 - Development of Clare Country Estates begins. This is a fully integrated neighborhood utilizing existing land resources.

2008 - Illinois homes grow to ten.

2009 - The Alverno program closes. The final clients transition to their new home, the recently completed Dower Home in Clare Country Estates.

2011 - The Alverno building has been newly renovated to become St. Coletta’s new corporate headquarters. In addition to housing our administrator staff, our Excel and Golden Options day programs are held in this buildings as well.