I am Wendy Brady and I teach 4th grade at Benchmark. I am posting my name because I will not hide behind what I have to say. I have been associated with the school fifteen years, first as a parent and eventually as an educator. The comment made by the parent about the teachers defending their integrity is sad. Are you really surprised that we want to defend ourselves? How can you make statements about the entire staff when I have probably never taught your child? I ask this -What is the ultimate goal here? Why so much hatred? If you have left the school and are posting these remarks- grow up and move on. If you are still here, please go. You have many years ahead of you and many teachers to come across. I speak as a parent of older children- kindness and mutual respect will get you farther in regards to your child's education. Educators start avoiding the parents. Parents that spew such hatred and negativity are avoided. I know I will not go out of my way to make small talk with you- that is a shame. Your kids should see the partnership between us. I have considered leaving education because of situations like this. Flipping burgers sounds tempting - all to avoid the nastiness
I have a child with an IEP. My son is not a typical student. I find Benchmark the perfect fit for him. The Special Ed department is extremely accommodating to his needs and therapies. He has received speech (Mrs. Hopkins is amazing and has truly become a confidant for my son when he is having issues) and OT. Ms. Stone is very professional. DDD and Touchstone Behavioral health do attended my son's IEP and they are impressed with the program and staff. The Principals have always had my son's best interest in mind when an issue needed to be discussed or discipline was needed. Consequences were discussed as a team. The teachers are OUTSTANDING, dedicated individuals who truly love to teach and are patient, stern and nurturing. These kids are getting a FANTASTIC education which includes ability grouping and specials that include Art, Science/Computer/Library/Music My son attended North Ranch's Twice exceptional extremely gifted program. No comparison to the education he is receiving now. My daughter now attends Basis and is a straight A student. We attribute her success to her Benchmark foundation. I'm extremely grateful to the Benchmark staff. Grass isn't always greener.
I have 2 children that were lucky enough to attend Benchmark. Were all those years perfect? No. However, my husband and I learned early on - it was important to step back and let the teachers teach. They contacted us when needed with concerns and shared triumphs when they happened. We made sure to volunteer. We learned to balance our involvement, not meddle in the teaching, the administration. If we had concerns, we quietly voiced them, we didn't quiz other parents about our concerns trying to turn our concerns into their concerns. Benchmark is great because of: the curriculum, team teaching, project based learning, the out of the box thinking. This draws parents that think the same way! What s bad - it draws parents that think the same way! More and more, these new parents believe, because they share the same ideas that they have a right to direct: curriculum, faculty needs, even make infrastructure changes. The Principals took years to successfully develop Benchmark, why then would they let parents come in and change it? This generation of parents are doing themselves and their children a disservice by acting so entitled. Learn some balance, relish the time with your children!
I find it funny that the parent who was so keen on correcting another reviewer still didn't get it right. Benchmark does not teach something called "Common Knowledge." They implement the E.D. Hirsch Core Knowledge curriculum. If you're going to call someone out, at least know what you're talking about. Just because the negative reviewer disagrees with your opinion about the school, that is no reason to ridicule him/her for an innocent mistake, although THAT type of behavior is one reason we are leaving Benchmark. Any child that has issues or concerns will not be helped at this school. You, the parent, will be blamed, no matter how much you are trying to do to help your child. You will be judged. You will be quietly "encouraged" to leave. Charter schools are still public. How they escape having to comply with the federal mandates regarding special needs children is an intriguing question, and one that bears further investigation. Lastly, if there wasn't some truth to the negative reviews being left, why the sudden rush of five star reviews to defend the school? Instead of becoming so defensive, strive to improve and take a good, hard look at what you can do better.
The teacher responses are a testament to the lack of integrity and defense strategy at Benchmark. It s interesting that the first grade teacher finds the need to be defensive about the movies shown. Be careful what you wish for, below is the list that SO many parents had, but were afraid to give since being threatened that they would be labeled as problem parents each year. The movies are Monsters Inc., Monsters University, Thumbelina, Ice Age, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, Pinocchio, Pocahontas, Puss n Boots, Robin Hood, Toy Story, Tarzan, and Peter and the Wolf. To not admit the truth is a lack of accountability and honesty. More movies were reportedly shown and the excuse was always that it was raining, too hot outside, testing in older grades, report cards needed to be completed, or just laziness by teachers. Benchmark is a system that does not seek solutions. It is a culture that shows favoritism and is dismissive when parents do not work in their favor. There are many charter and public schools that take the opportunity to teach our children on a daily BASIS, especially when there are so many GREAT things to learn in this world.
It amazes me how easy it is to make these allegations against the staff at Benchmark when done without one's name. First, I can guarantee that I have not spoken with these parents or even taught their children yet. That is why I am so confused at to how they have become 'experts' on the actions of the staff. I also had two children go through the program- with the first grade team- and never had any questions and concerns about their abilities or motives toward my children. Please go!!!!! take your entitled darlings and go elsewhere. I am sure in 6 months you will be unhappy again and move on. Your kind usually does. That observation comes from being a parent of teens and young adults and also from teaching for many years. I request that you find me and let me have this discussion face to face- I would love to show my documentation to prove that I am, like my fellow Benchmark Educators, an effective teacher for all students. Even the ones where school is difficult. We do not want robots- if I did then I as a former Benchmark parent would never have kept my children here for 8 years.
A couple misnomers to correct: *They teach Singapore Math and Common KNOWLEDGE, not CORE, far exceeding state stnds. My 4th grader has excelled. Trained to think, not memorize. She s no robot, unless you re referring to her ability to do mental math. *Movies are shown on rainy days when recess is not possible. I am offended that the First Grade teachers have been personally called out. This amazing group of women put together a fundraiser, on their own time, to raise money for non-consumable materials for the K-2 classrooms. Taking initiative instead of appointing blame - character lesson by example, doesn t get much better than that! My focus is not on management, security, etc. b/c this is about my child s education and the quality of the teachers she interacts with not superfluous items like the lunchlady. There are always going to be little things in life that aren t perfect. If you need it to be perfect, then become an active, productive component of that process by volunteering, joining the PTO or leading a task completely! Leaning on others to provide it for you is laziness. Blaming others is cowardice. T. Miller P.E. PS- The library is DELIGHTFUL.
As a first grade teacher, I decided it was time for me to defend my amazing grade level and school. The information from the parent who said that 13 Disney movies were shown through the school year is completely inaccurate. Perhaps your child was signed up for before school morning care, where yes movies were shown. That's when you wish there was a video camera in the room to protect us from false, rash allegations such as this. Never would administration condone this from their staff. We asked the parent for this "list" of movies, and oddly it could never be produced...maybe because it never happened. We work so hard to get through our curriculum and make it fun while doing so. Never would we be able to get through it if we were showing movies (at what 2 hours a movie x 13=26 hours of movies)...that's ludicrous! If you've ever been to Benchmark, you will see teachers who are excited to teach, principals who genuinely care for the well being of their school families and happy students who do not fit a "mold" and are definitely not robotic. Trust me, I've been to schools where students are very robotic. That is so far from what Benchmark is about.!
WE LOVE BENCHMARK!! My child started there in 2nd grade. After struggling in public school (being stabbed by a 5th grader with a fork, sitting on the ground in the classroom b/c there weren't enough desks for 36 children), private school (she was struggling in math the teacher refused to give her extra help and suggested we get her a private tutor!)- Benchmark came to the rescue! The teachers and admin WANT your child to succeed and will go above and beyond to make sure your child feels confident, successful and empowered in his/her education. There is a living animal science center, amazing Music and Art programs, and they provide PE for ALL students 1x/week! The $20K surplus from last year's fundraising allowed the purchase of brand new, extremely important, shade covers, drinking fountains, playground equipment, recess play equipment, shock absorbing rubber chips for the preschool playground and upgrades to the elementary playground-money VERY well spent. My family has been with Benchmark for 7 years- I have NEVER seen/heard of any security issue. BTW- because of Benchmark MY kids know how to spell princiPALS and it's CORE KNOWLEDGE- which beats the pants off COMMON CORE!
It's unfortunate to hear lies and attacks towards people who take pride and ownership in their career choices. You may not agree with some choices or desicions, but I can say that all decisions are made with the child in mind. The school was started by teachers. They started the school because of their passion for children. They continue to spend countless hours and energy to keep the school excelling. The statements made towards first grade are complete lies and are 100% false. The allocations were directly dealt with and still unfortunately someone has made the choice to believe the lies they have made up. It's sad! As for the hateful library attack, that is as well an untrue character bash and unacceptable. There will never be a perfect place but that is why we all have choices. I love our school and my children do as well. For whomever made the stepford comment, that is sooo far from the truth. As neither of my children fit a perfect mold. They are both learning exceptional work ethic and high level academics. They are held responsible for their actions and choices. I'm glad the teachers tell me the TRUTH even if it's not all roses!
The most recent review of 5 stars is Benchmark administrations' approach to any parental concerns brought to their attention. The best advice for parents who choose Benchmark comes from that review... present your issues and concerns anonymously otherwise you are viewed as a complaining and angry parent with excuses-- who will be outcast. Real accountability and work ethic is doing something about the lack of supervision on the playground during recess, and allowing first grade teachers to show over 13 Disney movies in class. When parents bring these concerns, such as security to administration, they are told to stop complaining and that their reputation will follow them each year. My child learned a sad work ethic at Benchmark because he was told to watch a movie for two days so the teachers could complete report cards during class. He was told it was part of Common Core, which is complete absurdity. The whole idea of partnership exists if you agree to everything the teachers do, even if it's wrong. It is not a solution based school but a school that bullies parents who are not on board with teachers and administration at all times.
Benchmark could be such a great school. The parental interaction with the teachers is wonderful and I believe the teachers do their very best. The students are great and seem to love their teachers. Sure there could be a better physical plant and more technology integration, but the teachers and kids are pretty great. The science rooms is excellent. Were the school falters is with the parental interaction with Principles. Some examples, The Principles changed the lunch program right before school started without notifying parents. Now the expensive fast food lunch doesn't even offer milk. All without parental input. PTA fund raising monies were mostly spent on facility maintenance without meaningful parental input. There was a recent lock down, there was no parental notification. Security is poor and the main gate remains unlocked all day despite parents concerns. I will be taking my child out ASAP because the Principles don't see the parents as customers. The Principles appear uninterested and they are quick to dismiss or ignore parental input. The waiting list must create this mindset. There is no meaningful school board, so there are no checks and balances.
I agree with all the recent posts about this school. Maybe at one time it WAS a great school. Maybe the waiting list to get in went to at least one principal's head. But as a family who did wait outside overnight to send our kids here a few years ago, we are finding out this school is not what we thought. The teachers want Stepford children who act like robots. Any child who is different in any way will not be accepted, and will be bullied by both teachers, administration, and other students. The school has lost multiple students recently, and it's no surprise. My children, who love learning, no longer love school. Something is wrong if that is the case. We'll be pulling out as soon as we research our other options.
Very interesting. That 5 star defensive post which was obviously and inappropriately made by the principles didn't once address the parents reasonable and accurate issue with the security of the school. Sadly, it attacked a parent to whom they have had issues. Were is the Professionalism? Maybe there is something to all these posts about the Principles.
I have found by talking to other parents, that this is the place for kids who have parents that consider themselves partners in their child's education. If you want your child to excel academically, become responsible for their own behavior and work ethic, and become a better friend and citizen, this is the place for them! If not, and you just want to complain and make excuses and get mad when teachers hold your child accountable for work they missed while you were in Disneyland for a week, homeschool them.
I completely 100% agree with the 1 star rating and everything said by "submitted by a teacher". We were thrilled to enroll our daughter at such a highly rated school. We were never informed of any issues with our child until our mid year teacher conference. At that point we were told our child would not be welcome to continue at Benchmark no matter what our child accomplished or learned in the last half of the year. They even implied our child had a learning disability. We immediately withdrew her and put her in a top rated "10" public school. We had her tested through the district and she actually tested above her age level. She is so much happier now! If your child doesn't fit perfectly into the Benchmark mold, the teachers and staff make you feel like there is something wrong with your child. Getting our daughter out of that school was one of the best things we have ever done. In my opinion, the only reason Benchmark is rated a "10" is because they only keep the children who are able to perform at a specific level they expect, which is unrealistic for some children. The ones that require teaching or any extra attention are pushed out. - Disappointed parent
This is interesting. I posted a comment on this blog and it has been removed. It stayed on this blog for a couple of months so it wasn't outside of the guidelines, but it was honest and something all parents should know. Administration and teachers are quite dysfunctional in the manner in which they approach families and children. If a parent has issues and attempts to communicate with the teachers, their response is very intimidating and quite bullying. I found it interesting that a problem I had was how my nephew got to watch Fifteen movies in class thought the school year. When this was brought to the teachers attention a group of five teachers met with the parents and made them feel inferior and demeaned their complaint. I myself am an educator for public schools, so a decision on a charter was difficult for me, and after denoting the several attempts made to communicate legitimate issues, it validated that public education is the better way as someone is held accountable. Administration and teachers here are related in some fashion so if you go above heads it creates more issues than solutions. Talk to other parents before enrolling kids here, trust me!
Benchmark is known for its amazing core knowledge curriculum and awesome teacher enthusiasm. My kids love going to school everyday!
Prior to having children I knew Benchmark School would be my first choice. Now as a Mother of 3 (2 of which are school aged) I have no doubt in my mind I made the right decision for my family. We have been with Benchmark for 5 years now and love it! The school is amazing in every aspect. Parent involvement is very high and the students benefit greatly from that. We are blessed to have two teachers is every class from Preschool through Elementary. Any negative reviews always come from those pushy, overbearing, and argumentative parents, which unfortunately every school has. My kids tell me all the time their school is the best and that makes me happy as a parent. I don't look forward to the day my kids will no longer be in elementary school, unless the school adds 7th and 8th grade. hint, hint.. THANK YOU BENCHMARK FOR BEING SO WONDERFUL!!! --- PROUD PARENT
Benchmark School - PHX, AZ To the parent, who I suspect posted both the 10/8 & 10/10 reviews, I would like to ask why, when you feel as you do, would you keep your children in Benchmark? If my assessment was as vociferously negative as yours, I would enroll my children in another school. What is in the best interest of my children will always trump what is convenient for me including driving a greater distance to another school. Sometimes parents don t like to hear that their child may have an issue or problem, and become defensive, attacking the messenger, instead of working in concert with one of the wonderful Benchmark principals & teachers who take great personal interest in the well-being of children placed in their care, under their supervision. As the Aunt of a Benchmark student, I know that there is a long list of parents waiting hopefully for spots to open so they can transfer their children to Benchmark. We were overjoyed when our little girl was accepted. The fact that you voluntarily chose to keep your children in Benchmark speaks much louder than your vindictive diatribes. Stop the venom. Shame on you. Support the school like every parent I know or move on.
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