October 17, 2019

Amber Roseboom
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

Sacred Heart Academy of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington Receives Winchester Department of Rehabilitative Services’ “Champion Employer Award” During National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Annual Award Recognizes Area Employers for Outstanding Commitment to Hiring and Supporting People with Disabilities in the Workplace


ARLINGTON, VA – Yesterday, Sacred Heart Academy in Winchester, Va., a school of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, received the “Champion Employer Award” from the Virginia Division of Rehabilitative Services. The award, given at an intimate ceremony with school faculty and some teachers, honors area employers for their outstanding commitment to hiring and supporting people with disabilities in the workplace.

“Although this is quite an honor for the Academy, the true ‘winners’ of this award are the employees themselves,” said Erica Palaza. “We have been blessed with three thoughtful, energetic and dependable employees. They are not only dedicated to their work, but they bring joy to those who work with them.”

The achievements at Sacred Heart Academy (grades pre-K – 8) reflect a long-standing commitment to inclusivity in the schools of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, an effort that Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington, is building upon.

Bishop Burbidge has articulated a vision for inclusion programs in all of the 41 Catholic high schools and elementary schools in the Diocese. Thanks to the wonderful work of Catholic educators throughout the Diocese, and with the support of charitable organizations like Porto Charities and KOVAR, students with unique learning challenges and gifts are already part of inclusion programs in more than one-third (14 of 41) of diocesan schools. Through these programs, students with special needs are fully integrated into the classroom and larger school community. 

"Inclusive education is a growing priority across the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Arlington,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese. “With Bishop Burbidge's vision and support, schools are initiating new programs and expanding existing ones that benefit not only the students with intellectual disabilities, but also entire school communities as everyone becomes more acutely aware of individual differences and challenges.” 

For more information on Sacred Heart Academy, visit here.

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The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13,1974, and is home to 71 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 45 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five freestanding (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students. 

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.