A Matter of the Heart

By: Br. Al Vu, SDB
Coordinator for Education

After many hours of reflection, discussion, and rewrites, the Province Standards and Benchmarks for Salesian Secondary Schools was finally approved by the Provincial Chapter in June  2019. Now the work of applying these newly adopted standards and benchmarks begin.


Over this past weekend, Lay and SDB school administrators gathered at St. Joseph Salesian Youth Renewal Center in Rosemead for their annual Fall meeting. The first item on the agenda was a collective sharing of how each school is beginning the process of making the standards and benchmarks known. Through faculty and staff retreats and meetings, gatherings with board of directors, informational nights with students and families, our five high schools have been hard at work in helping all of our school stakeholders know and understand these standards and benchmarks in order to ensure that our Salesian charismatic and spiritual identity, educational practice, and mission are achieved and preserved.


The group gathered to review the process and assessment instrument that will be used this coming academic year that is based on these standards and benchmarks. Each school will have an official province school visit. The visit will be led by Bro. Al Vu SDB, Province Coordinator of Education, along with a team of lay and SDB school administrators. Over two days, the visiting team will provide for an internal review and self-assessment of the school, as well as an external, objective assessment; serve as a source of encouragement and positive reinforcement for the good taking place within the school; identify critical needs and issues and assist the school in creating and implementing a multi-year growth plan that addresses those critical needs and issues; finally, assess how the school contributes to the educational service of the young. The visit is part of an overall Salesian school self-study that helps the school examine how the four characteristics articulated in the Standards and Benchmarks permeate the entire life and culture of the school.


The group of school administrators also began the work of the second part of systematizing our high schools—governance and animation. An in-depth conversation was had on the current governance structures of each of our school and its effectiveness. A proposal was introduced to look at a systematic formation of our boards to our Salesian identity, charism, and mission. The Coordinators of Youth Ministry and SDB Directors spent time reflecting on the role of the CYM, while the Principals and Assistant Principals focused on roles of leadership and governance in light of the current realities of our province.


Finally, the group reviewed the learning modules for the year that will focus on the vocation of the Salesian educator and an introduction the Salesian charism. These learning modules are the first two of four online initial formation for new faculty and staff.

The Standards and Benchmarks for Salesian Secondary Schools for the Province of San Francisco can be found here: Click here