BSM institutes Red Knight Engagement Network


Keenan Schember

Students use Linkedin to join the Red Knight Engagement Network.

One aspect of BSM’s 2020 Strategic Plan is to prepare students to engage themselves in the real world. As a part of the execution of this plan, the BSM administration has instituted the Red Knight Engagement Network. Through the network, the administration hopes to be able to connect students to the real world through strong and increased mentoring opportunities. “It’s the next generation of mentoring and student support. It’s a natural extension of WEB and LinkCrew,” BSM President Dr. Kevin Gyolai said.

The administration envisions using BSM’s vast alumni network to connect current BSM students with recent BSM graduates. “It would allow our alums to have dialogue and conversation. The goal is to fulfill a need for people who want to mentor and people who want to be mentored,” Ms. Nicole Rasmussen, BSM Senior High Assistant Principal said.

One particular way this could be useful is in the college application process, where current BSM juniors and seniors will be able to contact BSM alumni who are studying at schools that BSM students take interest in. “We’d like to see our young alums mentoring juniors and seniors through the college process and looking at schools,” Rasmussen said.

Additionally, the Red Knight Engagement Network will offer BSM alums currently in college the opportunity to engage with BSM alums early on in their careers, to seek advice and mentoring pertaining to internships, interviews, and career options. “Young alums in their careers will be able to mentor young BSM alums in college, continuing to use BSM as a resource of connections, for internships and mentoring,” Rasmussen said.

BSM will be utilizing the professional networking site Linkedin as the primary means of instituting the Red Knight Engagement Network. BSM chose Linkedin for several reasons. “We chose Linkedin because it is free, accessible, secure, and widely used,” Gyolai said.

Here, students will build electronic portfolios that will allow the students to showcase their resumes, academic courses, and other qualifications, particularly their Signature Learning Experiences. “As a part of our BSM 2020 Plan, you have these signature experiences that have really helped you develop into who you are and make you different than the average high school student. Those signature learning experiences are going to be a key component of the Linkedin Profile,” Rasmussen said.

Ultimately, Gyolai hopes, this will allow students to have their hard work at BSM come to fruition: acceptance into the student’s college or university of choice. “We also feel that these portfolios will be a great tool for students to use to get into the college or university of their choice,” Gyolai said.

Currently, a pilot group of eleven seniors is participating in the initial implementation of the Linkedin sites for the Red Knight Engagement Network. “We’re relying on students doing this pilot, as well as our alumni. We’re working to leverage that community of the BSM alumni,” Rasmussen said.

One of the particular tasks that this pilot group is charged with is identifying and analyzing their Signature Learning Experiences. “They’re working on brainstorming how we’re going to use Linkedin and what their differentiating factors are as BSM students–what their signature experiences are,” Rasmussen said.

Senior Mark Falls is one of the students that is participating in the pilot group. He is excited to be involved, and sees it as an opportunity to engage with BSM’s alumni. “It’s going to be useful for the future,” Falls said.

Although a pilot group is being initially used, all seniors will have the opportunity to join the Red Knight Engagement Network and build a Linkedin portfolio in May. In the future, students will join the network junior year so that they can reap the full reward of the network. “We want to encourage our current seniors to still participate because we want them to be a part of this Engagement Network for the mentoring and internship opportunities,” Rasmussen said.

The Red Knight Engagement Network, however, is expected to span far beyond the Linkedin pages, including in-person meetings between alumni and current students. “We’re going to have young alumni come back and meet with our seniors. There will be 10-15 young alums who come back to BSM for a day, and in a wellness period, students will be able to go in and talk to the young alums about their college experience and their internships. It will allow them to have real dialogue mentoring conversations. Those young alums might have a gathering with other young professionals in the Twin Cities, as well,” Rasmussen said.

The BSM administration is excited about the prospects of this new opportunity, that will allow for BSM students to capitalize off of its vast alumni network. “We have a such a huge resource available,” Rasmussen said.