The JULIE BILLIART SCHOOL, operated by the SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME, was the first school in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to devote itself to the education of children with learning problems. Founded in 1954 on the NOTRE DAME ACADEMY campus at Ansel Rd. and Superior Ave., the school was named in honor of the person whose community rule the Sisters of Notre Dame had adopted. Fifteen children were enrolled that first year. Three years later enrollment stood at 45.
Originally the elementary school's program was aimed at children who were developmentally handicapped, but its mission soon evolved to service those with learning difficulties. The philosophy of the school is to identify and take advantage of each child's individual way of learning. In 1957 Calvin and Charles Arter donated their late parents' 6-acre estate at 4982 Clubside Drive in LYNDHURST to the sisters, and Julie Billiart School moved to its suburban location in Jan. 1958. The 22-room mansion on the estate, built in 1927, allowed enrollment to increase to 72.
Enrollment pressures at the unique school continued. Although in 1971 the school added a new gymnasium, more classroom space was needed, and so in 1974 the primary grades were moved to the nearby Notre Dame College campus. In 1979 more new classrooms were added to the original Arter Mansion, and then in 1986 a further classroom addition allowed for the reunification of all Julie Billiart programs at the Arter site. The expanded facility's capacity had been increased to 132. In 1994 Julie Billiart operated with its enrollment at capacity.