St. Pius X High School has a longtime history of welcoming students from throughout Houston as well as from around the world. These students have different races, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as differences in the way they learn. We’ve found that this diversification makes our students’ high school experience even more meaningful and better prepares them for college.

In the 1980s, St. Pius X began a concerted effort to help students struggling with learning differences, and for more than a decade we have accepted students with diagnosed learning differences and helped them succeed in our school’s traditional college preparatory program. Then in 2002, our efforts became even more focused. That year the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops conducted a study about Catholic school students with learning differences, and this led to a specific program we developed just for them. We implemented our program the following year, and since then 100 percent of our graduates have been accepted by colleges and universities — including those with documented learning differences.

The evolution of our program continued, and in fall 2007 we created the Learning for Success Program, which made St. Pius X the first Catholic high school in Houston to formalize and fund a specific program for students with learning differences.

Charlis E. Powell, Ph.D., is the Director of the Learning for Success Program, and she is dedicated to helping students with learning differences succeed. She is a valuable leader and a strong advocate of the goals that we have developed for this program. She has extensive experience in education and administration, with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, master’s degree from Louisiana Tech University and doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University, as well as postdoctoral work at the University of Houston.