Administration seeks both academic and Lasallian accreditation

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As students laboriously took a variety of surveys a few weeks ago, few realized they were participating in a much larger process, foreign to the majority of the student body––school accreditation. This year BSM celebrates its 40th anniversary, and with, the school hopes to connect back to both academic rigor and its Christian roots by pursuing two different processes, rather than the usual single evaluation.

Every five years since 1935, Benilde-St. Margaret’s has gone through the process known as accreditation––a reaffirmation of the academic rigor by a third party. “Accreditation provides an affirmation to the public and to colleges that our school is high performing, that we adhere to certain best practices in the field, and it gives credibility to the transcript we offer to colleges,” Principal Dr. Sue Skinner said.

This year however, BSM is also pursuing another accreditation in hopes of being recognized as a Lasallian school and become a part of a network of schools across the country and the world who use Lasallian school spirituality. Ms. Hoey Germann, Director of Faith Formation at BSM, has coordinated the partnership process, finally reaching its completion after five years. In this fifth and final year, the Lasallian school visit team will complete their evaluation at BSM on February 6 and 7.

Since BSM has never officially been accredited as a Lasallian school, this program is a connection back to one of our three Christian roots. “We remember we are Lasallian, but we’re Benedictine, and the Sisters of St. Joseph––we have three charisms, it just happens this one has a process, the other two don’t have a process for re-affiliation,” Dr. Skinner said.

The relationship opens up many opportunities for the faculty and staff to work with Catholic educators around the world, creating faith-filled classes for the students. “It ultimately connects us to our roots, and it enhances our Catholic identity,” Ms. Hoey Germann said.

BSM has also added a Christian Brother to the board of directors: Brother Francis Carr, who serves as the director of the Winona Brothers Community. “Celebrating our connection to the Christian Brothers, we put a Christian Brother on the board. We also have a CSJ, and we have a priest, so we’ve got the archdiocesan influence there too,” Dr. Skinner said.

Ultimately, the goal of both accreditations is to improve the school, meaning both will require a review process, and a report on the findings. “They’ll give us some recommendations; they’ll give us some acclamation. The team comes to visit in April, for accreditation, and we’ll get the report probably in May or June. And, for the Lasallians they come in February, and I think we get the report shortly after,” said Dr. Skinner.

Next time a survey is asked to be completed in homeroom, one might consider where the information might go; this time, student input, as well as input from faculty and staff, will feed into a continuous improvement process for the school.

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