Started by Pope John Paul II High School in the Diocese of Nashville, Hand In Hand Options has been highly successful since 2004. Hand In Hand Options offers academic opportunities to families with students of all abilities to attend school together. The Hand in Hand Options program was later extended to St. Ann School for elementary and middle grades during the 2017-2018 school year, followed by St. Matthew School in 2018-2019. With the Hand-In-Hand Options program, families who desire Catholic education can keep their children together throughout their school careers.
“As a Catholic community, we are called to provide a supportive and inclusive faith-based community where all students can learn and grow in their faith while receiving the necessary educational foundation for success,” says Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Nashville. “We are so pleased three schools in our diocese chose to offer this program allowing parents to send all of their children to school together for academic preparation and the opportunity to grow in their faith.”
Hand In Hand Options has enjoyed over 15 years of success at Pope John Paul II High School, with its students graduating and continuing to post-secondary programs and entering gainful employment.
The success at the high school level, and the need in the community, prompted Hand In Hand Options at St. Ann School in 2017-2018, the first Catholic elementary school to offer this program. Through the collaboration of experts from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Vanderbilt University Peabody College Center for Special Education, and parochial school professionals, Hand In Hand Options had a highly successful first year, and that success continues. Vanderbilt continues to support all Catholic School educators through professional development opportunities.
Hand In Hand Options offers children with various learning needs, curriculum accommodations or modifications, as determined necessary by professional evaluations, teacher recommendations, and observations. Hand in Hand Options allows students to engage in coursework at the high school level, resulting in a certificate of completion or high school diploma, determined by individual needs of each student in the program.
The money will be used to start a resource library available to all schools.
The pageant, started by a JPII 2018 grad, depends on volunteers for success.
Our Catholic schools have a long-standing tradition of educating the whole child, knowing each is made in the image and likeness of God. Our Catholic schools in the Nashville Diocese have held this philosophy for over one hundred years when the first Catholic school opened here. For this reason, we are thrilled to have Hand In Hand Options, and are working to further its reach. Stay tuned for more information, we are just getting started.
Carolyn joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and is currently on the Advancement Committee. Carolyn is a retired educator, as well as an author. She and Clark, her husband, attend Christ the King Catholic Church and have two daughters who attended Overbrook and St. Cecilia Academy. Carolyn is a current and founding Board member for Pope John Paul II High School.
Tanya joined the HIHO Board in 2021 and serves on the Advancement Committee. She is the Program Director for the Down Syndrome Association Middle Tennessee (DSAMT). Tanya has served on several task forces and partnerships including the Member of TennesseeWorks Partnership and the Governor’s Employment First Task Force, Informed Decision Making Task Force for Down Syndrome Medical Outreach, Inclusion Network of Nashville, and the Access Policy Advisory Committee (APAC). Both children attend St. Joseph’s School.
Dolly joined the HIHO Board in 2021 and serves on the Finance and Budget Committee and the Advancement Committee. She is currently an auditor for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Church, her son attends St. Edward School.
Kay joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and is currently the Chair of the Advancement Committee. Kay is Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor at Pinnacle Financial Partners. Kay and her husband, John, have 4 children. Their three oldest children attended St. Henry School and Pope John Paul II High School. Their youngest child attended 7th and 8th grades at St. Ann School and was a pilot student in the Hand in Hand program. Kay is a parishioner at St. Henry Church. Kay is currently Board President for The ARC of Davidson County and Greater Nashville and past Board Vice President of the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee
Helen joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and is currently the Chair of the Program Oversite Committee. A Speech Language Pathologist, Helen was a private practice business owner. Helen and her husband, Dwayne, are parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church. Two of their three children have attended Catholic schools, including Holy Rosary Academy, Saint Ann School, and Father Ryan High School. Helen has served on the Executive Board of Tennessee Association of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (Vice President and President) and the Currey Ingram Academy Board of Trust.
Bill Gavigan joined the HIHO Board in 2021 and serves on the Advancement Committee and the Finance & Budget Committee. Bill is currently the President of Outpatient Services for Health Care Facilities Partners. Bill and his wife, Erin, are parishioners at Christ the King Catholic Church. Bill attended Overbrook School and Father Ryan High School and is the father of four children who have attended St. Bernard Academy, Christ the King School, and Father Ryan High School.
Chad joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and is currently serving his second year as Treasurer of the HIHO board; as well as Finance and Budget Committee Chair. Chad is also a member of the HIHO Advancement Committee. Chad is employed by Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee as the Assistant Head of School for Finance & Advancement. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four children, two of whom attended Father Ryan High School. They are parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Paul joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and serves on the Program Oversite Committee. He is currently a pediatrician with Old Harding Pediatric Associates. In the past, Paul has served on the Mission Point Health Partners board. He and his wife, Joyce, attend Belmont Church and are the parents of three children.
Elise has served as President of the HIHO Board since 2020. Employed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Elise is currently the Vanderbilt University Center on Disabilities Co-Director. Elise has also served on the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities board, The Arc Tennessee board, and Our Place Nashville board. Elise and her husband, Tom, attend St. David’s Episcopal Church and are the parents of three children. One of their sons attended Pope John Paul II High School.
Father Baker joined the HIHO Board in 2020 and serves on the Finance & Budget Committee. Currently the priest of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Fr. Baker is an Alumnus of Saint Pius X School. He has served on the boards of Pope John Paul II High School, Dismas House, and FrassatiUSA.
Joe has served as Vice-President of the HIHO Board since 2020 and serves on the Advancement Committee. Joe is currently the Portfolio Manager for INSBANK. Joe and his wife, Linda, are parishioners of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville. Both Joe and Linda attended Father Ryan High School. The parents of six children, one of their sons will attend St. Ann School in the fall.
Ed has served as Secretary of the HIHO Board since 2020 and serves on the Advancement Committee. Ed is a General Partner with Warner Partners, LP. He and his wife, Jamie, are parishioners of St. Edward Church. Ed attended St. Edward School and Father Ryan High School. Both of their children attended St. Bernard Academy.
Tim serves on the Program Oversite Committee. Tim is the Principal at St. Matthew School and is the chair of the Camp Marymount Board. He and his wife, Ann, are parishioners of the St. Matthew parish. Tim attended St. Henry School and Father Ryan School. They have three children who have all attended St. Henry School. Two of his children are currently enrolled at Father Ryan High School.
Jena serves on the Program Oversite Committee. Jena is an Educational Consultant at Vanderbilt University. Jena attended Holy Rosary Academy and Father Ryan High School.
Emily serves on the Program Oversite Committee. Emily is currently a Research Coordinator within the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Emily is a parishioner at St. Joseph Church.
Lorie serves on the Advancement Committee. Lorie is a licensed realtor with Fridrich & Clark Realty. She has served on the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Leadership Council and the board of the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives. The parents of three children, Lorie and her husband, John, attend Brentwood United Methodist Church. One child attended St. Bernard Academy.
Jenni serves on the Advancement Committee. Jenni is the Women’s Fund Coordinator for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and is a past Susan Gray board member. Jenni is a parishioner at Christ the King Catholic Church. Both of her two children attended Father Ryan High School.
Jennifer Pearson serves on the Program Oversite Committee. Jennifer is Manager Pediatric Rehabilitation/ Pediatric Occupational Therapist at Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She previously served on the Vanderbilt Home Care Advisory Board. Jennifer and her husband, Andrew, are parishioners at St. Henry parish. Jennifer attended Overbrook School and both her children attended St. Henry School.
Anna serves on the Program Oversite Committee. Anna is the Principal at Saint Ann School. She and her husband, Bryan, are parishioners at St. Ann Church. Anna and Bryan are parents of two children who attend St. Ann PK and St. Mary’s Villa.
Kathy serves on the Advancement Committee. Kathy has experience with fundraising and advancement. She and her husband, Jim, are parishioners at Holy Family Catholic Church. They are the parents of three children.
On behalf of our Catholic school students and families yet to be served in our schools, we ask that you prayerfully consider a contribution to Hand In Hand Options. The benefits to the entire school community are life-giving. The presence of Hand In Hand Options has enhanced the inherent goodness, value, and wholeness of all students. One of the most significant testimonies to this claim is a statement from a parent of a Saint Ann’s student whose child shares a classroom with a student in Hand In Hand Options, “I do not think our school was completely whole before Hand In Hand Options was started.”
Please join us in our efforts to serve more children in our Catholic schools. Your generous gifts of prayer and contribution are greatly appreciated and will go a very long way in making a difference in many lives.
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