1904: “The Story”
- A Family in Need
- Lack of Facilities who cared for Youth with Disabilities
- Lack of Training for these Children to Reach Full Potential
- On September 10, 1904… St. Coletta of Wisconsin opened with 5 students as a school that incorporated faith.
1910-1919 ``The Franciscan Mission``
- 17 students are prepared for their First Holy Communion.
- First time in United States, people with disabilities are allowed to receive the Sacrament.
1915: “Initial Growth”
- Over 70 children are enrolled, and the community is growing.
- Program remains largely custodial.
1920-29: “Innovative Training”
- Two Sisters attend the Vineland Training School and learn innovative techniques in special education like the Stanford-Binet Scale for testing IQs.
- A school curriculum is developed.
- Children now “go to school”.
- School-only building is constructed in 1927.
1930-39: “Exceptional Children”
- After children were 15, they were sent to home state institutions as space remained an issue.
- Mindset changed with leadership.
- Focuses include: operational/agricultural growth, fundraising, and religious development of students.
- Operational growth = need for long-range care.
1940-49: “Intensifying our Mission”
- Two additional St. Coletta-affiliated schools open, in IL and MA.
- First independent “community” home.
- The Psychological Institute opens, in collaboration with Cardinal Stritch University.
- Six-week summer program, lasting 30 years.
- Rosemary Kennedy joins the St. Coletta community.
1950-59: “Growing in Faith”
- 500 enrolled, with 103 Sisters.
- A newly-expanded chapel is complete.
- Published a curriculum series for children in need of special education.
- Includes: art education, music education, crafts, religion, arithmetic, reading, physical education, science, social studies, language arts, listening skills, oral communication, handwriting, spelling.
- “The Challenge of the Retarded Child” is published as a resource for families with a child with a disability.
1960-69: “40% of Wisconsin’s special education teachers studied here”
- Kennedy Foundation Service Award.
- Sister invited to White House.
- Sister completed doctoral studies and asked to attend the White House Conference on Children & Youth to discuss problems for children nationwide.
- The Habilitation Program is established.
- Services needed for young adults to succeed in their community, like: vocational counseling, work training, and job placement.
- 1970-79: “Community Integration”
- ReCreation Program is established.
- Public Law 94.142 is passed to guarantee a free, appropriate education, non-discriminatory assessment, and individualized special education plan for all students.
- “Mainstreams” special education in public school settings.
1980-89: “Community Integration”
- Licensure received as a Community Based Residential Facility.
- HUD funds 30 units of community housing.
- The Golden Options Adult Day Program is established.
- Focuses on: maintaining independence for aging adults, with our without a disability.
1990: Education Era Ends
- 1990-99: “Chapter Closes, Another Opens”
- St. Coletta School Program graduates its last students, marking success in equal access to education in the public school system.
- Other programs rise.
- “Best Buddies” began with students from UW-Whitewater.
- Transportation Department established.
- First residential home in Waukesha.
2000-09: “Successful Century”
- Residential service expands to Illinois, growing to 10 total homes.
- Wisconsin legislature approves residential funding for people served in Jefferson County.
- For first time!
- Alverno Building becomes repurposed.
2010-19: “Moving Ahead”
- Alverno repurposed into main campus.
- Long-term care with individuals with disabilities continues to thrive.
- Genesis Project is created.
- Achieve Program in Illinois is established.
- Golden Options and Excel Programs specialize.
- Dementia Unit
- Autism Sensory
2010-19: “Looking Ahead”
- 344 Individuals Served
- 90+ Special Olympians
- 5 Day Programs
- 49 Residential Homes
- 3 Chapels
“St. Coletta of Wisconsin will be the premier provider of support services for adults with developmental disabilities and other challenges throughout their lifespan. Through dynamic partnerships, exceptional customer service, a demonstrated commitment to quality and spirituality, we will work with persons receiving services to achieve their best life possible.”