Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Initiatives

Fostering a school culture that values and honors each and every student - regardless of race, ethnicity, or ability - is paramount to Benilde-St. Margaret’s Catholic heritage and our mission to help young people thrive academically and spiritually. 

We use the following approaches to build an inclusive environment with the goal that every student feels seen and heard.

Please contact Dennis Draughn, director of equity, inclusion, and belonging, at ddraughn@bsmschool.org to learn more. 

Our Five-Year Strategic Plan

In 2019, BSM’s Board of Directors adopted a five-year strategic plan that establishes a formal vision for BSM’s student body to reflect racial, economic, and academic diversity. This plan will guide the school’s operational and policy decisions going forward.

Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging School Board Committee

In July 2020, BSM’s Board of Directors created a new committee to oversee efforts toward creating a more diverse school community in line with the goals of our 2020-2025 strategic plan. Co-chaired by BSM Board Members Charles Scott and Nadia Martyn, this committee serves an important oversight and governance role for the school's diversity efforts, and provides regular updates to the Board of Directors. Committee membership includes board members, parents, school personnel, and alumni.

Multi-Year Plan to Bolster Inclusion and Belonging

In August 2020, BSM hired a consultant to evaluate school policies, practices, and recruitment techniques to identify barriers to inclusion. Following nearly six months of research and conversation with hundreds of students, parents, faculty/staff, and alumni, BSM is using the input to develop a long-term strategic plan to bolster inclusion and belonging efforts at BSM.

Though details are still being finalized, the multi-year plan will outline specific action steps to support four main goals:

  1. Student Empowerment
     
  2. Faculty/Staff Engagement
     
  3. Administrative Stewardship
     
  4. Community Fellowship

Stay tuned for more information as the plan is developed and formally adopted by BSM’s Board of Directors. 

Regular Faculty and Staff Trainings

Faculty and staff are required to participate in regular professional development to enhance cultural understanding. Trainings include topics such as:

  • Culturally Responsive Teacher
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Safe Classroom and Civil Discourse Skills
  • Courageous Conversations
  • Catholic Social Teaching    
  • Servant Leadership
  • Lasallian Teaching Principles
  • Listening to Student Voice
  • Interrupting Student Bias in the Classroom
Junior and Senior High Affinity Groups

In 2016, BSM formed several affinity groups to help build community among students of color and to provide a comfortable space for honest dialogue and academic, social, and emotional support. Each group meets weekly. 

Parent Affinity Groups

Parent affinity groups meet quarterly to stay connected to DEI efforts within our community.

Student Advocate Program

Student advocates oversee Senior and Junior High Affinity Group meetings, provide support for first-generation college-bound students, and host quarterly Parent Affinity Group meetings.

Diverse Learner Support and Training

Our teachers are equipped to ensure students with diverse learning needs receive the support they need to reach their fullest potential. To that end, we offer a student mentoring program, parent support group, assistive technology, and a team of learning specialists. 

The Christian Response to Racism

“We cannot be a church that is true to the demands of the Gospel if we do not act justly, if we do not act to root out racism in the structures of our society and our church. And we cannot achieve personal holiness if we do not love tenderly, if we do not love and respect all human beings, regardless of their race, language, or ethnic heritage.”

-    Archbishop Harry J. Flynn

View the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ website to learn more about the Church’s response to racism. Find prayers, statements, ways to get involved and more.