Academic Support Services

We are here for you.

Mission: The West Catholic Department of Academic Support Services promotes the success, dignity and independence of exceptional learners by supporting their unique needs, encouraging self-advocacy and increasing academic skills while giving them equal access to the learning environment.


Emily Hoffman 
Director of Academic Support
(616) 233-5919

Melissa Henkel
Academic Support
(616) 233-5966

While many educational opportunities are offered at West Catholic High School, we understand that some students require an even greater diversity in learning experiences in order to be successful and develop their gifts. Due to this need, the Support Services staff at West Catholic works with qualifying students and their families to open up even more educational opportunities. We offer classroom accommodations and curriculum modifications to welcome a wide spectrum of learning abilities.

These services provide many benefits to our students, but they also may have implications regarding college requirements and expectations. All students must work with Support Services staff and their School Counselor to consider their post-secondary goals and carefully select an appropriate path to graduation. Students and families are asked to meet with Support Services and their School Counselor to receive more detailed information and to determine if utilizing a given opportunity is an appropriate option.

Any student who needs curriculum modifications as deemed appropriate by current diagnostic data because of a disability is granted this level of support to access our curriculum. Modifications are provided to students who have moderate to severe disabilities. Students who receive modifications may be seeking a diploma or certificate of completion depending on their needs.

West Catholic general education teachers and support services teachers partner alongside students and families to provide appropriate modifications to maximize student learning and provide access to our rigorous curriculum. Students who receive curriculum modifications and are seeking a diploma, must meet all graduation requirements as outlined by the state of Michigan. All course modifications are noted on a student’s transcript.

West Catholic High School strives to provide an inclusive Catholic education to those with moderate cognitive disabilities and significant learning disabilities. West Catholic Support Services offers a Certificate of Completion to these learners who require a personalized curriculum in order to have the opportunity to engage in the West Catholic High School experience.

Candidates that will receive the West Catholic High School Certificate of Completion upon graduation must have a current Individualized Education Plan which will continue to be monitored by Support Services staff and Grand Rapids Public Schools, a current diagnostic evaluation, and must have the ability to follow behavior expectations, maintain self-care independently, initiate written and verbal expression, and participate in classroom activities without the use of an aide. If you would like further information and / or feel as if a Certificate of Completion may be appropriate for your child, please contact Emily Hoffman at

West Catholic juniors and seniors who enjoy helping others learn, have a heart for classmates who learn differently, or have an interest in working in education after high school are encouraged to apply to be a sidekick.

As a sidekick, students serve as a peer tutor to a student who receives support services through curriculum modifications or is seeking a West Catholic Certificate of Completion. Sidekicks act as academic role models, working to create positive study skills. Sidekicks must display the skills of responsibility, collaboration, leadership, and empathy.

Interested students must fill out an application and have an interview with the Director of Academic Support. This is a credit/no credit elective that will require students to complete a reflective assignment each quarter.