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On the first day of Catholic Schools Week in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese, Bishop James Johnston along with local Catholic school leaders announced a plan to revitalize Catholic education in St. Joseph, Mo., and surrounding areas.
Central to the plan: a partnership with Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
Benedictine will provide student-teachers to schools and create a summer institute where teachers from schools nationwide can spend time at the campus in fellowship, with the college providing spiritual direction and professional development — community, faith and scholarship.
President Stephen D. Minnis was on hand for the announcement, which took place Bishop LeBlond High School in St. Joseph, Mo., the school Minnis attended.
“As the President of Benedictine College and a product of St. Joseph Catholic Schools,” Minnis said, “I am proud and excited about forming a partnership between Benedictine College and the St. Joseph Catholic Schools.”
He said Benedictine education had shaped the area. “Since the arrival of Benedictine monks to the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River in 1857, the mission of education has been central to the identity of our community,” he said. “First schooling for the sons of German settlers to this territory, and now to college students from across the country.”
Dr. Matthew Ramsey, chair of the education department, said the college’s graduate degree program for Catholic school principals is sought out by school leaders nationwide.
“We’re excited to formalize a relationship that we have long had with the Catholic schools in St. Joseph,” said Ramsey. “It provides positions for our students and we provide support and mentorship for principals and future principals.”
Bishop Johnston told KQ2 television that with “a strengthened partnership with Benedictine College, I believe the St. Joseph Catholic schools are on a solid path to growth and revitalization.”
Benedictine College School of Education has had agreements with pre-K–12 schools for the placement and supervision of student teachers and administrative interns for many years. Informal discussions of an expanded partnership revealed that much more could be done.
The plan will:
President Minnis called the plan a “win-win” for all catholic educational institutions in the area.
“When the St. Joseph Catholic Schools Partnership came to us and said, ‘hey, can we have an additional partnership with the St. Joseph Catholic schools?’ Benedictine College was very excited about that,” said President Minnis. “We have one of the top education programs in the country, especially at Catholic schools, so this was just a perfect partnership for us.”