News Article

SPP@BA Announcement - July 9, 2019

We are very pleased to share with you an exciting new educational partnership, one that will bring new students to Bethlehem Academy and give our students a more global perspective and additional STEM-based opportunities.

In November 2017, the BA Board of Directors approved a unique “school within a school” partnership with St. Paul Preparatory School (SPP), a Nacel Open Door international school formerly located in St. Paul. Formally launched this spring, SPP@BA will initially bring four international students to Bethlehem Academy this fall, giving our students the opportunity to develop a more global perspective as well as participate in SPP’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) high school programming.

The purpose of the partnership is to have two private schools occupy the same campus in order to share resources, allow SPP international students to experience a traditional American educational experience provided by BA, and for BA to increase offerings in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by leveraging the resources provided by SPP, including STEM equipment, curriculum, and faculty.

Gina Robertson, Director of the Nacel International School System said, “St. Paul Preparatory School was searching for a new community, as it was clear that downtown St. Paul was not ideal for our student body. Due to our longstanding relationship and trust with Bethlehem Academy’s Principal, Chuck Briscoe, we approached him to determine if forging a new partnership would be a possibility and were delighted to hear that the Board was receptive to the idea. SPP is very excited to join BA’s campus and its family-oriented community.”

We are very excited to be launching this new partnership and know that the Bethlehem Academy community will welcome these students as they have all new members of our Cardinal family. Please see below for more information:


What is St. Paul Preparatory School?
St. Paul Preparatory School, founded in 2003, is part of the Nacel International School System run by Nacel Open Door, a U.S.-based student education and exchange organization. A college prep high school with an international focus and a STEM-based curriculum, the school was located in downtown St. Paul until 2017, when a new location was sought and the BA partnership was formed.

Why did it take so long for this to be launched?
Although the partnership was approved in November 2017, Nacel had to work with SEVIS, the federal agency granting a school authority to bring international students to the U.S. to study, to get approval of the new partnership before they could recruit students. That approval was finally received this spring.

Where will the SPP international students come from?
While Nacel Open Door recruits worldwide, many of the SPP @ BA students will likely come from their English-based St. Paul American Schools located in Shanghai, Beijing, Yantai (China), and the Philippines. The students joining us this fall are 9th, 10th, and 12th graders from South Korea and Vietnam.

Where is SPP@BA’s office?
SPP@BA has an office on the 2nd floor across from our chemistry lab.

How will SPP’s programming work?
SPP offers their students a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) diploma. To that end, this year SPP is offering two STEM classes at BA – Arduinos & Simple Robotics and Game Art Design. These classes are required of SPP students and are being offered to BA students as electives. An SPP faculty member will teach the courses at BA. As the SPP program develops, more courses leading to the SPP STEM diploma will be added each year. In addition, SPP plans to develop and offer STEM-focused co-curricular programs which will be open to students of both schools.

Are these new students BA students or St. Paul Preparatory students?
SPP students enroll through SPP but take classes with and fully participate in all Bethlehem Academy activities, including weekly Mass and other all-school events. SPP students meet BA admissions standards, and pay full tuition and fees just as our other international students do.

How many students will SPP have at BA?
Four students so far have enrolled with SPP@BA for the fall. As the program develops, SPP will grow, maxing out at 30 students.

But will these students be Cardinals?
They will! As SPP STEM clubs are formed, they will be the SPP@BA Cardinals and open to both SPP and BA students.

Where will SPP students live?
SPP has chosen to offer their students the opportunity to live with American host families for a full English immersion and American life experience.

I might want to be a host family for these students! How can I find out more?
These are great kids who need a local home so they can attend SPP@BA and get a true American experience. Generous stipends and support provided. For more information, please contact Faith Richardson at Nacel Open Door, 952/406-8676 or email

At Bethlehem Academy, please contact Admissions Director Kris Sauer at or 507-334-3948 x206 for more information on this program.


Our Mission
Bethlehem Academy, a Catholic school in the Sinsinawa Dominican tradition, strives to empower its students and staff to achieve personal, spiritual and academic excellence. We challenge ourselves to love as Jesus Christ loved, to lead, to serve, to inspire and to seek the truth: Veritas.
105 3rd Ave. SW
Faribault, MN  55021
Phone:  507-334-3948
Fax:  507-334-3949