St. Mary’s Home makes sure that every child, no matter how medically fragile, attends school. Your child’s Individualized Education Program team considers the least-restrictive environment to meet your child’s educational needs. School options may include the SECEP REACH program within St. Mary’s Home or a special education classroom within a comprehensive public school in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Virginia Beach.


SECEP, which stands for Southeastern Cooperative Educational Programs, is an umbrella of programs that serve specific populations of students.

REACH, which stands for Raising Expectations and Abilities for Children with Complex Health Needs, is the SECEP program housed within St. Mary’s Home.

The SECEP REACH program follows a three-tiered approach to learning. It is based on aligned standards of learning, communication training and functional life skills. Students benefit from large- and small-group instructional opportunities. High-quality instruction incorporates integrated high- and low-tech assistive technology as well as speech, occupational physical and vision therapies, hearing impairment services and adaptive physical education as dictated by the student’s IEP.

REACH’s goal is to maximize each child’s potential by fostering an active learning environment that provides safety, security, dignity and respect for students. Programming is based on best practices for students with severe disabilities and is supported through a team approach which includes all members of the student’s educational team: principal, education specialist, classroom teaching team, student (as appropriate) and related service providers. Assistive technology is used to support individualized student communication and engagement through low- and high-tech options.

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