Bishop McDowell Program

Program Description
The Bishop McDowell Program at Central Catholic High School, a program designed to facilitate student success through the development and reinforcement of necessary skills, encourages students, through a variety of individually designed activities, to become thoroughly familiar with their own learning styles. Once students understand how they learn best, they can then begin applying strategies that work best for them in the classroom and while doing homework. Concurrently, the Director of the Bishop McDowell Program works with the Central Catholic faculty to help understand each student’s learning style and the related implications for classroom practices. 

Students in the Bishop McDowell Program attend regular classes and participate fully in the co-curricular life of the school, but have scheduled time for assistance and skill-building to enable them to progress in the college preparatory curriculum.

Students in the Bishop McDowell Program do not take a foreign language during their freshman year. This allows them to have a scheduled period each day in the Academic Support Center to meet with the Program Director in small groups throughout the year and to work with a tutor and develop skills and strategies for academic success.

Students work on:

  • techniques for approaching faculty with questions and concerns
  • note-taking
  • techniques for test-taking
  • time management
  • organization
  • memorization techniques
  • peer communication
  • appropriate and productive use of technology

It is the goal of the Bishop McDowell Program to develop the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in the academic program at Central Catholic High School. Typically, students remain in the program for freshman and sophomore years, although some students finish sooner and others may require the program for four years.

Mission of the Program
The Bishop McDowell Program will assist students in becoming competent, independent learners who are able to achieve their maximum potential in academic endeavors. The mission of the Bishop McDowell Program is to help the enrolled student learn how to learn so as to develop a positive attitude about his academic pursuits. The Bishop McDowell Program also seeks to instill in the student a confidence in his abilities, an understanding of his own personal learning style and the strategies, skills, and habits necessary to become an accomplished thinker and successful person who reflects the Gospel values of integrity, respect, service, justice, and peace.

Program Goals

  • To recognize individual differences in student learners and accommodate those needs in a positive manner.
  • To assist students in developing individual responsibility, self-discipline, and to become independent, confident and proficient learners.
  • To help students function successfully in the classroom.
  • To improve student organization and study skills.
  • To improve basic skills in reading and mathematics.
  • To challenge students to work to their fullest ability.
  • To assist students in acquiring an awareness of college standards, expectations, and policies, procedures, and resources.
  • To monitor and evaluate student progress and to assist students, parents, and teachers in overcoming learning obstacles.
  • To provide a communication and collaboration outlet for teachers, parents, and counselors.

Appropriate Applicants
Students’ learning needs are as individual as students themselves. It is important that parents, teachers, administrators, and students think carefully about the type of program that is best suited for a particular student. Below is a description of the “ideal” applicant. The closer a student is to matching this profile, the more likely it is that he is an appropriate candidate for the Bishop McDowell Program.

The ideal applicant:

  • has a sincere interest in attending Central Catholic High School
  • has indicators of learning difficulties or differences
  • has demonstrated the ability to learn in a classroom of approximately 25 students
  • can handle the demands of a college preparatory curriculum
  • has demonstrated no emotional or behavioral problems that would significantly interfere with classroom learning
  • is interested in taking responsibility for learning how to learn
For further information, contact:
Mrs. Mary Ann Lynch
Director, Bishop McDowell Program


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