Morning Star Catholic School 

Located in the heart of Orlando, Morning Star Catholic School is an accredited not-for-profit, tuition based school for special needs students. Since 1960, Morning Star Catholic has been working to fulfill its mission to provide children with special needs the opportunity to embrace their potential – to enable children to function more independently and guide them in their spiritual, academic, social, physical, and emotional journey. Morning Star Catholic School has educated more than 2,000 children, giving them a more energized outlook on a life filled with faith and possibilities. Morning Star is a school for students with significant disabilities.

Bishop Grady Villas

Bishop Grady Villas supports persons with disabilities to use their God-given gifts to achieve greater independence, physical and emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. We empower these individuals from throughout Central Florida to reach their full potential through Christ-centered, personalized and wholistic residential, vocational and employment services, and community support.

Established in 2004, Bishop Grady Villas, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was the dream of Sr. Elizabeth Marie Stoup, SSJ. Sister envisioned a residential community where adults with intellectual disabilities could live as independently as possible while receiving supports to be safe and healthy.

Parentally Placed Private School Students

Catholic schools are not required to provide services or support for students with disabilities who are parentally placed. Catholic schools are also not required by law to offer students a 504 plan or provide services indicated on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Service Plan (SP).

Although not required, the Diocese of Orlando Catholic Schools, based on available resources at individual schools do provide a variety of learning environments and programs for students with special needs. Diocesan schools are located in several different counties. Support and resources for private school students vary from district to district. Both private school and public school programs are constantly being evaluated and changed. Click HERE for a list of diocesan schools by county.

Admission Process for Students with Special Needs

The admission process for students into an elementary or high school in the Diocese of Orlando, who have already been identified as having special needs, begins with a review of the student’s records. Before admitting a student the school evaluates the student’s needs to determine if the school has the ability to provide appropriate resources and support. The administration of each school reviews the documentation, conducts an interview, and makes admission decisions. (Click HERE for a Documentation Checklist)


Students who are accepted and enroll in a private school with an Individual Education Plan (IEP) no longer have the same rights and services. Once enrolled in a private school, the IEP will be converted into a Service Plan (SP) through the local public school district. Parents are responsible for making arrangements with the district to begin this process. A service plan provides limited services and support from the public school and varies from district to district.

Students with special needs are expected to abide by the procedures and policies of the schools Parent/Student Handbook. Parents are required to meet service-hour contracts, fundraising obligations and attend parent conferences.

McKay Scholarships

Students on a McKay Scholarship must follow the admission process for students with special needs. Parents are responsible for completing all necessary documents to obtain payment and to follow the individual schools procedure for submitting documents to meet the Florida Department of Education compliance requirements. (Click HERE for more information about McKay Scholarships)

More Information

FDLRS – The Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System (FDLRS) provides diagnostic, instructional, and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities.

McKay Scholarship– Scholarship for students with disabilities. Information on how to obtain a McKay Scholarship is located on the Florida Department of Education School Choice website.

University of Central Florida Center for Autistic and Related Disabilities – (CARD) Provides assistance to individuals and families who have autism or autistic-like disabilities.

Florida Institute of Technology Scott Center – Provides services for children diagnosed with Autism. Also provides training and resources for parents.

Florida Inclusive Network – (FIN) Provides resources for inclusive practices.

Family Liaison Project – The mission of the Family Liaison Project (FLP) is to build an active network of support to nurture and sustain families of children with disabilities through life’s transitions.

County Resources

Brevard Dr. Dawna Bobersky (321) 633-1000 ext. 521
Lake Judy Miller (252) 253-6610
Marion Barbara Dobbins  (352) 671-6832
Rose Rice  (352) 671-6832
Orange Beverly Knestrick  (407) 317-3312
Osceola Penny Collins (407) 343-8718
Polk Nancy Woolcock  (863) 534-0930
Seminole Britt Smith  (407) 320-0203  Ida Mazar  (407) 320-0210
Volusia Nancy Redmond  (386) 255-6475 ext. 20443

Additional Catholic Resources