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Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Students work together in groups

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. 

At the core of BSM's culture is the Christian belief that every person is created in the image of God. This means that as a community of faith, Benilde-St. Margaret's embraces the beauty of our differences and respects the lives, customs, traditions, and personal faith journey of each student, faculty and staff member, and alumni in the BSM community.

As a Catholic community, 
We unite through our shared humanity,
by embracing our differences,
while leading in one collective Spirit.

- Our One BSM Philosophy

This affirms our belief that racism and prejudice in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at BSM. BSM is committed to nurturing the innate abilities of each student - whether they be creative, intellectual, or athletic - ensuring respect and integrity are values shared and upheld at all times.

To build an inclusive environment at Benilde-St. Margaret's, our community has established the following initiatives, furthering the Catholic teachings of social justice and equity for all members of our community:

Junior and Senior High Affinity Groups

BSM offers several affinity groups for students of color, providing weekly opportunities to gather in a comfortable space for honest dialogue and academic, social, and emotional support. 

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.

Faculty and Staff Trainings

Faculty and staff are required to participate in regular professional development specifically designed to maintain a culturally responsive community and deepen awareness of bias, application of Catholic social teaching, and an engaging student-teacher culture. Training topics include, and are not limited to:

  • 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

Diverse Learner Support and Training

Through these ongoing training efforts, our faculty and staff are equipped to ensure students with diverse learning needs receive the support they need to reach their fullest potential. Additional resources include student mentoring programs, parent support groups, assistive technology, and a team of learning specialists to discuss and respond in appropriate ways to each student. 

Cultural Community Collaboratives

BSM also provides opportunities for parents, guardians, and other family stakeholders to meet in our Cultural Community Collaboratives, informal gatherings designed for:

  • Families of different backgrounds to connect
  • Sharing experiences and learning from one another
  • Brainstorming ideas to nurture a spirit of belonging in our community
  • Discussing topics that are necessary for the continued success of BSM.

These conversations also explore Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (EIB) programs at BSM, assessing progress and opportunities for improvement so that all BSM students engage in the academic opportunities and programs available in our school. Cultural Community Collaboratives focus on what’s in the best interest of all students at BSM. 

Regardless of background, these conversations bring members of the BSM community together from all walks of life  for discussion on EIB topics. The Cultural Community Collaborative meets on the last Wednesday of each quarter (October, January, March). Check the BSM calendar for the specific dates and times of these meetings.

EIB Strategic Plan

In 2019, BSM’s Board of Directors adopted a five-year strategic plan establishing 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 with specific action steps to support four main goals:

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

EIB Board Committee

Established in 2020, this committee serves an important oversight and governance role for the school's diversity efforts, providing regular updates to the BSM Board of Directors. Committee membership includes board members, parents, school personnel, and alumni. 

View the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ website to learn more about the Catholic Church’s response to racism, including prayers, statements, and ways to get involved to ensure an equitable and compassionate community for all BSM. 


BSM Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Dennis Draughn, Director
Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

“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


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