The Benilde Program: 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 cocurricular 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.
A student in Benilde may receive support throughout his four years at St. John’s; however, the majority of students remain in the program for 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?

    • 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 the 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?

    • A restructured course schedule to reduce the student’s 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 supports and testing accommodations are available for students in Benilde?

    Supports are provided on an individual basis. 

    • Testing accommodations are facilitated by the faculty in Benilde and adapted using the suggestions on the student’s psycho-educational evaluation.
    • Teachers receive an accommodations profile for each student in Benilde 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?

    • For more information about the program, it is highly recommended that interested applicants attend an information session given by Dr. Josephine Galliher, director of the Benilde Program.
    • An information session is available in September, as well as during Open House each October.
    • Contact the Admissions Office at 202-363-2316, ext. 1069, for further details.
  • Q: What is the admissions process?

    • Complete the St. John's application - student should check the box indicating interest in the Benilde Program and state their interest in the personal statement.
    • Submit a psycho-educational evaluation completed by a licensed psychologist within three years of application to St. John's.
    • Psycho-educational evaluation must include:
      • the WISC-V (measure of overall cognitive ability).
      • the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement (measure of academic skills).
      • the IVA, BRIEF or WRAML-2 (measure of processing speed, fluency and executive functioning).  
    • Schedule a visit day.
    • Register for the HSPT.
  • Q: Are there additional requirements for incoming 9th-graders in the Benilde Program?

    • Incoming 9th-grade students in Benilde must 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.
      • orient students to the buildings on campus.
      • introduce students to their 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-graders enroll in honors and AP courses.

Benilde Faculty

List of 7 members.

  • Photo of Rashod Gillespie

    Rashod Gillespie 

    Benilde Teacher, Varsity Defensive Coordinator
    202-363-2316 x1905
    Glenville State College - B.A.
  • 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.
  • Thomas Ballenger 

    Benilde Teacher; AP US History
    202-363-2316 x1921
    University of Maryland, Baltimore - 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 Mary McAndrews

    Mary McAndrews 

    Benilde Teacher
    202-363-2316 x1906
    Providence College - B.A.
    Johns Hopkins University - M.A.T.
    Academic Language Therapy Association - C.A.L.T.
    International Dyslexia Association - C.D.T.
  • Photo of Patrick O'Connor

    Patrick O'Connor 

    Class Dean for 2024; Benilde
    202-363-2316 x1049
    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.