Options Program

Providing an inclusive Catholic education to high school age students
with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Santa Margarita Catholic High School’s Options Program offers an inclusive Catholic education to high school students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Providing families with the opportunity to be a part of the school’s nurturing, faith-based community, students interact socially and academically with peers and staff. The program is open to students 14-18 years old with an academic proficiency of second grade or above. Students work toward a certificate of completion (not a high school diploma).

Santa Margarita Catholic High School also offers the Auxiliary Studies Program for those looking for a diploma track program. The ASP program facilitates student engagement, success and independence within a college preparatory curriculum through responsive and comprehensive academic support services. 

Learn more about ASP

Understanding that all are loved, all have gifts and that life can be lived joyfully in many ways
is a gift that ALL of our students deserve to receive.

Liliana Ruiz

Options Program Coordinator; ASP Teacher

 “Disability is a normal part of the human experience.” (National Catholic Partnership on Disability.).

Why An Options Program?


  • The Options Program allows SMCHS to further the mission of both the Church and our school by educating students from diverse backgrounds in a Catholic community, challenging each individual to live as a Christian witness in service to others.
  • Consistent with our school charism of Caritas Christi, and our school's core principles of humility, compassion, justice, and goodness.
  • To help meet the goals of SMCHS and the D.I.V.E (Diversity, Inclusion, Vision and Equity) Committee in standing up for justice, speaking out against inequity, and seeking diversity and inclusion in every aspect of life.
  • To follow Jesus’ example in being inclusive and serving those most vulnerable in our society.


options program


  • Students will be full members of the SMCHS community and will be included in as many general education classes as possible while having the option of working in smaller group settings for additional support.
  • Teachers will provide adaptations, modifications and necessary supports for success and will work collaboratively with parents to maximize each student's academic, spiritual and social potential.
  • Students will participate in peer buddy/mentor activities with SMCHS students.
  • Collaboration with parents and Options Program Coordinator to create a Transition Plan/Portfolio for after high school.

Admissions Process


  • Contact Lilly Ruiz at ruizl@smhs.org or 949-766-6085.
  • Spend a day shadowing an SMCHS student and campus tour.
  • Observation of student in current educational setting.
  • Complete the Options Program application and questions.
  • Complete the SMCHS Admissions Process 
  • Apply for tuition assistance (optional).
  • Supply SMCHS with available documentation to support individual needs, this could include:
    • IEP/Learning Plan
    • Cognitive assessments
    • Academic assessments
    • Behavioral assessments
  • Participate in a family collaborative goal-setting meeting to explore student's strengths and gifts

  • Complete enrollment intent form and provide registration fee. 

Ms. Lilly Ruiz is the Options Program Coordinator  at Santa Margarita.
Any questions regarding the Options Program can be addressed to her
via email at ruizl@smhs.org or phone at 949-766-6000 ext. 4131