Behind the Shield: President’s Blog, A Unique School Year Begins

Behind the Shield: President’s Blog, A Unique School Year Begins

The beginning of a school year is always exciting for students, parents, and faculty members, but this year is especially energizing following such a challenging spring. While some students have been participating in co-curricular programs since late June, most of our students did not set foot on the Benilde-St. Margaret’s campus for seven months. It was a quiet place.

That all changed over the last two weeks as complex, months-long educational planning became reality as masked students returned to the classroom eager to connect with their teachers in a whole new paradigm. The BSM education is built upon the development of the mind, body, and spirit through rigorous curriculum, leading-edge learning experiences, extensive co-curricular opportunities, faith formation, and a robust service-learning program – and this year will be no different. There will of course be ups and downs, but we are committed to making these elements a reality for our students despite the immense challenges the pandemic has created.

In August, we welcomed 282 new students to BSM stretching across the western part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Our new students represent 64 zip codes, 48 cities, 86 schools, and five different states. Students stretch from St. Michael in the north to Lakeville in the south, Maplewood in the east, and Delano to west. Our newest Red Knights represent an amazing geographic expanse. 

The 2020-21 school year will mark year two of our five-year strategic plan. The four pillars of the plan – Exceptional Academics, Being Catholic in the World, Vibrant Community, and Investing in the Future – identify the critical elements of our strategic growth. This year, we will focus extensively on the Vibrant Community pillar as we work to continue diversifying our school community while enhancing a sense of unity and belonging. Over the course of the next few months, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work will analyze our employee recruitment, inclusion strategies, administrative policies and practices, along with identifying new opportunities for student and faculty/staff education. We’ve already facilitated several focus groups to engage students and much more work is underway. Stay tuned to our website for regular updates as we continue these important efforts.

The enthusiasm of the school year is here and BSM is no longer a quiet place. We are blessed!