When students graduate from BSM, most attend a four-year college. As a college-prep school, BSM vocally focuses on preparing students for higher education, but what about the minority of students who choose to attend a two-year institution, trade school or don’t go to college at all? What does Benilde have to offer those students?
Benilde offers a variety of electives from business management, sports management, and engineering at the college level, but lacks classes like woodshop, home economics, small motors, or mechanics that appeal to students who are more technically-oriented. High schools around the country are eliminating classes that focus on trades because universities typically want students to study more academic classes such as mathematics, social studies, and science. A study conducted by The Opportunity Nation from 2013 showed that nearly 6 million students between the ages of 16-24 are neither in school nor work, and that schools aren’t informing students of what type of jobs are out there and what jobs need to be filled. 5.8 million jobs have opened up since 2010, but employers are having a hard time finding qualified workers.
With high schools cutting trade focused classes, students who have an interest in tools, mechanics or who don’t know if they want to go to college can struggle to discover their interests and place in a diverse job market. In elementary school, kids have a physical education class where they’re introduced to a variety of different sports to see what sports they are interested in and what ones they are not. High schools, like most schools, should offer a chance to students to find out what their interests are. Offering vocational or shop classes would help students determine if they’re academically or mechanically driven.
While BSM is an excellent college preparatory school, BSM does not offer students the opportunity to take nearly as many technical or trade-related classes that many public schools offer. For example, a local public high school, Bloomington Jefferson High School, offers courses in Criminal Justice, the ability to get your Nursing Assistant Certificate, courses for students interested in Child Development, a Multi-craft Pre-Apprenticeship program where students get to try out over twenty different skilled trades over a semester in the class, and many more courses like these. For students with interests in technical jobs, going to school at BSM can be very challenging. Sometimes these students get bored with the “traditional” classroom experiences or they do not feel successful at BSM because they are not provided outlets for their interests and abilities, and therefore are never given a chance to show their teachers and peers where they really shine. It’s possible for these students to end up with lower grades having attended BSM than they would have had they attended public schools due to BSM lacking these technical courses.
At BSM I know many students, including myself, who aren’t going to attend a four-year college. Most of us feel that Benilde-St.Margaret’s should offer some sort of classes geared more towards trades, because woodworking, auto mechanics, small motors, machinery and home economics offer hands-on preparation for the future.