Where Support Leads to Success


Our Benilde Program, named for visionary and innovative Lasallian educator St. Benilde Pierre Romancon, offers a college preparatory program for highly motivated students with average to above-average intelligence and diagnosed mild learning differences. Students in Benilde are completely integrated into the academic, spiritual, and co-curricular life of the St. John’s community.
Each day, students attend a direct instructional Benilde period focused on developing and strengthening written language, reading comprehension, and verbal communication skills within the context of the curriculum. During this instruction, students are taught strategies to improve higher-level reasoning skills and self-management. Students are motivated and engaged in the learning process.
While many student in the Benilde Program receive support throughout their four years at St. John’s, several are in the program for only two years. The program is designed for students with potential to succeed as life-long learners who plan to attend competitive four-year colleges and universities. Alumni from the program have attended schools such as Bucknell University, Catholic University, Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina, and Villanova University.   

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: Who is the ideal student for the Benilde Program?

    Ideally, a Benilde student...

    • Has a sincere interest in attending St. John’s College High School
    • Demonstrates average to above-average cognitive abilities
    • Has a diagnosed learning difference documented by a psycho-educational evaluation completed within three years of application to the program
    • Demonstrates the ability to manage the demands of a college preparatory curriculum and learn in a classroom of 21 students
    • Demonstrates the ability to navigate social situations adeptly.
    • Is emotionally healthy
    • Does not have a history of behavioral problems that would interfere with classroom learning
  • Q: What are the goals of the Benilde Program?

    • To develop strong writers within content areas
    • To develop strong readers who can interpret text across the curriculum
    • To develop strong communicators who demonstrate knowledge and mastery of content
    • To develop strong math problem-solvers
  • Q: How does the Benilde Program support students?

    The Benilde Program supports students with...
    • A restructured course schedule to reduce our students' homework load*
    • One scheduled 40-minute period of direct strategy instruction per day
    • Multisensory strategy instruction within the content areas
    • Emphasis on improving executive functioning and self-management
    • Strong focus on the how, when, and why of technology use
    • Blended learning summer history courses
    * Homework load and assignments are not decreased or altered for any student. In addition, the curriculum is not changed or modified.
  • Q: Do students in the Benilde Program take a foreign language?

    • All St. John's students are required to take a minimum of two years of foreign language study. Students in the Benilde Program have a revised foreign language schedule.
    • Students begin foreign language study in 10th grade.
    • Spanish language instruction is taught by teachers specifically trained to work with students with learning differences.
  • Q: What support and testing accommodations are available for students in Benilde?

    • Support is provided on an individual basis. 
    • Testing accommodations are facilitated by Benilde faculty and adapted using the suggestions on the student’s psycho-educational evaluation.
    • Teachers receive an accommodations profile for each Benilde student and collaborate regularly with Benilde faculty. 
    • Benilde Homework Club is available to students three afternoons a week.
  • Q: How can I learn more about the Benilde Program?

    • During our annual October Open House Benilde Program Director Dr. Galiher gives a detailed presentation during our annual October Admissions Open House. Attendance is highly encouraged. 
    • Watch a virtual Benilde Information presentation
    • For additional information, contact the Admissions Office at 202-363-2316, ext. 1069.
  • Q: What is the admissions process?

    • Complete the St. John's application, check the box indicating interest in the Benilde Program, and state your interest in the personal statement.
    • Submit a complete neuropsychological evaluation completed by a licensed psychologist within three years of application to St. John's. The evaluation must include diagnoses, summary, and recommendations.
    • Schedule a visit day.
    • Register for the HSPT.
  • Q: Are there additional requirements for incoming 9th-grade Benilde students?

    • Incoming 9th-grade Benilde studentsmust attend a summer orientation session. The purpose of the orientation program is to: 
      • Help students become familiar with St. John's, the Benilde Program, and instructional tools and applications
      • Familiarize students with campus buildings
      • Introduce students to fellow peers
      • Review requirements for summer assignments

By The Numbers

Of the students enrolled in the Benilde Program:
  • More than 90% participate in SJC athletics
  • More than 50% participate in the fine and performing arts
  • Approximately 30% participate in the Cadet Corps leadership program
  • On average:
    • 60% are named to the honor roll each quarter
    • 25% of 11th- and 12th-grade students enroll in honors and AP courses

Benilde Faculty

List of 6 members.

  • Photo of Dr. Josephine Galliher

    Dr. Josephine Galliher 

    Director, Benilde Program
    202-363-2316 x1057
    American University - B.A.
    Pennsylvania State University - M.Ed.
    Catholic University - Ph.D.
  • Photo of Thomas Ballenger

    Thomas Ballenger 

    Benilde Teacher; AP US History
    202-363-2316 x1921
    University of Maryland, Baltimore - B.A.
  • Photo of Rashod Gillespie

    Rashod Gillespie 

    Benilde Teacher, Varsity Defensive Coordinator
    202-363-2316 x1905
    Glenville State College - B.A.
  • Photo of Bro. Pat King, FSC

    Bro. Pat King, FSC 

    Benilde Teacher
    202-363-2316 x1058
    La Salle University - B.A.
    University of Notre Dame - M.S.
  • Photo of Patrick O'Connor

    Patrick O'Connor 

    Benilde Teacher
    202-363-2316 x1151
    Washington and Lee University - B.S.
  • Photo of Jeanne Vosseller

    Jeanne Vosseller 

    Benilde Teacher
    202-363-2316 x1932
    James Madison University - B.A.
    James Madison University - M.S.