Benilde Program

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. Benilde students are completely integrated into the academic, spiritual and cocurricular life of the St. John’s community.
Each day, Benilde students attend a direct instructional period focused on developing and strengthening written language, reading comprehension and verbal communication skills within the context of relevant curriculum materials. During this instruction, students are taught strategies to improve self-management, goal-setting, rehearsal and adaptability, while self-monitoring progress and optimizing autonomy. Students work on creating and contributing to their community of learners by actively engaging in and taking responsibility for their learning.
A Benilde student may receive support throughout his or her four years at St. John’s; however, the majority of students remain in the program for two years. The program is designed for life-long learners who plan to attend competitive four-year colleges and universities. Benilde Program alumni have attended schools such as Bucknell University, Catholic University, Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Maryland, University of North Carolina and Villanova University.   

The ideal applicant to the Benilde Program

  • Has a sincere interest in attending St. John’s College High School.
  • Has attended Catholic elementary school.
  • Has had a psycho-educational evaluation completed in the last three years by a licensed psychologist which indicates that the student has a diagnosed learning difference.
  • Has demonstrated the ability to learn in a classroom of approximately 25 students.
  • Can handle the demands of a college preparatory curriculum.
  • Has not demonstrated any emotional or behavioral problems that would significantly interfere with classroom learning.
  • Is interested in taking responsibility for “learning how to learn."

The Benilde Program offers students the following supports

  • Restructured course load: Students take one academic course over the summer, allowing for a lighter homework load during the school year. This also allows students room for the Benilde class in their schedule, where they will learn and strengthen study skills.
  • Classroom Accommodations: Based on individual testing results, students can receive extra time on tests, textbooks on CD, assistance with note taking and several other specific accommodations.
  • Foreign Language Assistance: Students who expect to find foreign language difficult may enroll in a specialized foreign language course. This course covers the same curriculum as other courses offered at St. John’s but is taught by a teacher who has received special training in working with students with learning differences. 
  • Consultation: Students and their families receive individual counseling and referral for outside support on issues related to their academic performance, such as the need for medication, treatment for depression or help with improving interpersonal skills.
  • Teacher Support: Teachers receive information about the students in their class and ideas for working with these students effectively. Various teacher training in-services are offered. 

Additional Information

Accommodations are determined individually based on a student's psycho-educational evaluation. St. John's does not change the curriculum for a student, so no "pass-fail" options are available. We also do not decrease the homework load nor offer different assignments. In this way, parents, teachers, students and college admissions officers can be assured that the Benilde students are learning the same material as their peers.

Admissions Policies
Since there is a tremendous interest in the Benilde Program, parents should be aware that priority is given to applicants according to the following criteria: siblings of St. John's students, children of active alumni, oldest child in the family and all other applicants.

For more information on the Benilde Program, it is highly recommended that interested applicants attend an information session given by Dr. Josephine Galliher, director of the Benilde Program. The information sessions are available throughout the fall, and a specific schedule can be obtained by contacting the Admissions Office at 202-363-2316, ext. 1069.