Madonna

Jay Dunlap resigns as President of Madonna School & CBS

March 8, 2018

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, Parents, Clients, Donors, and Friends of The Madonna School,

It is with sadness that I convey the news that, after seven years of outstanding leadership, the Madonna Advisory Board has accepted the resignation of our president, Jay Dunlap.  Jay has accepted a position at Bishop Ward High School in the Kansas City Diocese.

Under his leadership we have accomplished significant growth in the programs and services of the Madonna enterprise.  The members of the Advisory Board join me in thanking Jay for his dedication, drive, and vision, and say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  We offer our sincere gratitude and our best wishes for his success and happiness in his new ministry.

Jay will remain in his position at Madonna until June 30, 2018.   The members of the Advisory Board, working in conjunction with the Archdiocese, have already begun the search process to hire a new President.  In the interim, we ask that you continue to work with Jay as usual.  Please know that I and the other members of the Advisory Board are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible. If we can help in any way, please do contact us.  We welcome your input.

We are grateful for all of the Madonna administrators, faculty, staff and benefactors who generously serve the students, clients, and families on a daily basis.  You are the core of our mission and it remains a privilege to work with you.

Again, we wish Jay the absolute best for his family and future, and encourage everyone to help us make a successful transition.

Thanks to all for everything you are and do for Madonna!

Best regards and God Bless,

For the Board,

J. Michael Skinner
Chair of the Madonna Advisory Board

Project SEARCH Graduates Latest Class

Project SEARCH graduates, include from left, back: Michael Lentz, Cheryl Lux, Vincent Lewis, Matt Mulligan, Blake Hodgen; from left, front: Ann Marie Joyce, Schala McGee, Juwan Mountain, Michele Hagan.

Project SEARCH graduates, include from left, back: Michael Lentz, Cheryl Lux, Vincent Lewis, Matt Mulligan, Blake Hodgen; from left, front: Ann Marie Joyce, Schala McGee, Juwan Mountain, Michele Hagan.

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | May 23, 2017

Nine students graduated last week from UNMC/Nebraska Medicine's most recent Project SEARCH class, with all nine offered a job and four already working.

The class is the third graduating class since the job program came to the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine campus two and a half years ago.

Project SEARCH is a one-year, total workplace immersion vocational training program that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn the necessary job skills to become competitively employed.

Graduate Cheryl Lux will be working at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, doing a variety of jobs as a behavioral technician assistant.

"This is a blessing," she said. "I'm here, graduating, and I have a job. I'm happy."

"We're exceptionally pleased," said Tara Harper, Project SEARCH liaison. "Everyone's done a really good job. Both partners, VODEC and Madonna School, have been great to work with and everybody's really supportive of the project."

Sam Nelson, a former graduate of the program, was at the event. Nelson currently works at the NICU in Nebraska Medicine, where he cleans isolettes. "It helped me a lot," he said of the program, saying it had made him more independent and helped him meet new people.

Chris Miller, the Project Search instructor with program partner Madonna School, said he was "proud of these guys, and really happy to have 100 percent employment."

"They've earned all that they've accomplished," Miller said. "We just keep going, getting better every year. This is a great site."

Paul Turner, Sodexo executive director, said he was pleased with the 100 percent employment opportunity rate -- the second year in a row the program has achieved that mark. Sodexo is hiring four of the new graduates.

"We're excited about our new employees and this program," he said. "The last three years have been really good -- we're excited about the partnerships."

In addition to Sodexo, partners in the UNMC/Nebraska Medicine Project SEARCH program include the Munroe-Meyer Institute, Madonna School, VODEC, Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

UNMC Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance Deb Thomas, who was instrumental in bringing the program to the med center, said she was proud of the latest cohort of graduates.

"Our Project SEARCH participants continually go above and beyond in their training, as their success in achieving their employment goals shows," she said. "We are proud to be a host site for this important and inclusive program."

Pilot Club's Trivia Night Funds Sensory Integration Room

Pilot Club of Omaha presents a check for $3,200 to Madonna School President, Jay Dunlap, after the 2015 Trivia Night.

Pilot Club of Omaha presents a check for $3,200 to Madonna School President, Jay Dunlap, after the 2015 Trivia Night.

An annual night of merriment has become a blessing for Madonna students with sensory processing disorders.

The Pilot Club of Omaha began an annual Trivia Night in 2014 to raise funds for causes chosen by club members. It is a fun and rather crazy event with 8 people to a table. Each table brings their own food, drinks and themed decorations. Tables compete with each other for top prize along with several "silly" awards given by the host club. There are many door prizes given throughout the evening, a dessert auction, and a raffle with many wonderful donated items.

The trampoline is used for calming from a temper tantrum or getting rid of excess energy.  Music therapy uses it for developing rhythm.

The trampoline is used for calming from a temper tantrum or getting rid of excess energy.  Music therapy uses it for developing rhythm.

The pea pod is for "squeezing" or "hugging" a student for calming and feeling safe. 

The pea pod is for "squeezing" or "hugging" a student for calming and feeling safe. 

Madonna school was the club's first choice to aid in developing a Sensory Integration room for the students who need the sensory breaks and/or stimulation.  Trivia Night was held in March 2014 and 2 of the 10 tables were supported by Madonna staff/parents/friends. The first year a check for $1200 was donated to start the process.  However, in order to develop a decent sensory room, more equipment was needed.  Pilot Club of Omaha applied for a matching grant from Pilot International. They received the grant and a second Trivia Night in 2015 was held for Madonna. There were 3 out of 10 Madonna supported tables and they sure were enthusiastic participants during the evening! With the Trivia night proceeds, a check for $3200 was presented to Madonna School to continue developing the sensory room. 

The platform swing is mainly for calming.  It can be taken off and the taco swing put on which envelopes the student as they swing.

The platform swing is mainly for calming.  It can be taken off and the taco swing put on which envelopes the student as they swing.

Pilot club cleaned the room and carpets, painted the walls and school staff began to order equipment. At the beginning of the school year,  an occupational therapist gave the staff an in-service on the uses of the equipment.  Some of the items can be checked out and used in a classroom, however, much of it stays in the room.  Students come in as needed.  Madonna received a grant to support a part time Occupational Therapist to join the staff and provide ongoing observation of students and instruction to staff regarding use of the room and equipment.  The Pilot Club of Omaha was thrilled to know that the process they helped expand is continuing its growth for the benefit of all the students with special needs.