About The Marian Center School

``The Marian Center is a place of beauty and peace. While walking on its property you find unexpected treasures. Some of them need to be cured because of age or illness, and need the hands of a good arbor culturist. We found him! It costs something, but who has the heart to neglect such need? God's creation deserves the best.`` - Sr. Lucia


Our Services

The Marian Center offers services for people with intellectual disabilities, such as:

  • A fully accredited school for students ages 6 thru 21
  • An adult day training and work program
  • A full-time residential facility for women

Each of these programs welcomes people from all races, religions and backgrounds, and provides partial financial aid to all those who qualify. The Marian Center Charitable Trust exists specifically to provide scholarships for all with documented need. As the years pass, the need has become greater, but Divine Providence has always provided a way for the Marian Center to continue its vital, life-changing mission. The Marian Center School is an approved McKay School Choice participant -most students currently enrolled in public schools are eligible for scholarship regardless of income.


Our Programs

School Program

The Marian Center School is a fully accredited school providing individualized and highly specialized education plans unique to every student with developmental disabilities exhibiting mild to moderate cognitive impairement.

Certified and experienced special education teachers lead each classroom of no more than 12 students, along with a specially trained teaching assistant.

Students with developmental disabilities range in age from 6 to 21 and are grouped by chronological age and abilities. Classrooms are ungraded, allowing each student to progress at his or her own unique pace.

The Marian Center Curriculum and Assessment Guide reflects in essence the educational priority of the Marian Center faculty and parents. It is the result of professional research and application on students with diverse ability and intellectual disability. The Curriculum and Assessment Guide consists of a series of educational goals and objectives, the building blocks of each student’s Individual Learning Plan.

“Curriculum-based assessment simply measures the level of achievement of a given student in terms of the expected curricular outcomes of the school.” -James Tucker

Learning Academic Skills and Learning Life Skills is applied to differentiate instructions according to the abilities of each student: Academics; Daily Living; Human Growth and Development; Language/Communication; Leisure/Recreation; Motor; Pre-Vocational; Self-Care; Social.

The Marian Center is accredited by the Florida Catholic Conference as a Special School.

Adult Day Training
The Marian Center Adult Day Training Program provides continued education as well as structured and well-rounded recreational, social, and occupational services for clients over 21 years old with mild to moderate developmental disabilities.

Daily Living Skills are reinforced, independence is emphasized and job training is continual.

Supported employment opportunities are available for clients with the ability to work in the community.

In-house work, as well as vocational training is also available.

Spiritual self-awareness is central to the individual’s self-confidence and development.

The Marian Center adult programs are APD/Med Waiver approved.

Marian Center Cottage provides on-campus live-in opportunities for women with development disabilities.  Marian Center Cottage recently received Florida State certification as a Group Home and is now eligible to receive medwaiver services, for those who qualify, to provide residential services throughout the calendar year (including weekends).  All of the residents also attend a program and/or work opportunity during the day at the Adult Day Training Center and/or in the community.

Therapy Services
Speech, occupational, physical, and behavior therapies are available on campus for Marian Center students and clients.

Coleman Francis Carroll


Over 50 Years Strong

In 1963 Archbishop Coleman Carroll envisioned a school whose primary purpose was to serve those with developmental disabilities throughout the Diocese. The Sisters of St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo was the congregation most renowned within Italy for its work with people with developmental disabilities.  The Marian Center was the first endeavor to be operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph Cottolengo outside of Europe.

Founded and incorporated in October, 1963 the Marian Center began its first school year in the Fall of 1964 with the goal of providing a quality education to students with developmental disabilities, at the highest individual level each was capable of achieving.  Coleman F. Carroll, then the Bishop of Miami, asked The Sisters of St. Joseph Cottolengo to start a school specifically to serve this population.

The first classes at the Marian Center began in September 1964 and were held in the Convent, then the only building on the beautiful 50 acre property that had previously consisted of mountains of wild grass and trash.  In March 1965 a new school building was dedicated on the grounds, in the summer of 1966 the swimming pool and adjacent locker-rooms were inaugurated, in 1968 the Multi-Purpose Building was dedicated, in 1971 the Cottage, and in 1979 the Workshop (now the Adult Day Training).

The Sisters of St. Joseph B. Cottolengo

Eleven Sisters traveled to Miami from Italy on October 21, 1963:  Sisters Lucia, Consolata, Enrichetta, Giuseppina, Carla, Paola, Ada, Enrica, Maria, Giovanna and Giulana. Today there are four highly trained,qualified and experienced Sisters.

Three have been here since 1963 (Sister Lucia, Sister Carla, Sister Paola) and Sister Lidia, who came from Italy in 1996.

There is also a specialized and caring staff of professional teachers, aids, therapists, and support staff.

Since the beginning, we, the Sisters of St. Joseph B. Cottolengo, have worked with a large group of highly qualified and trained staff members who have helped keep our vision alive.

This was our calling…God, through the Catholic Church of Miami, and the Archbishop’s voice, called us. And we believed in the call and followed it.

-Sr. Lucia