This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted December 04, 2014
- a parent
I have 3 children but only 1 still at Benchmark. (9th, 7th, 5th grade) We've been at Benchmark since 2006 and I can't say enough about the school & the wonderful teachers. My older kids have been extremely well prepared for Middle School and High School, BOTH of them achieving excellent grades in honors classes. The curriculum teaches the kids to critically analyze situations & think outside the box. The teachers are extremely vested in the students & in their success. No school is perfect & there are imperfections at Benchmark but as a whole, the school is an amazing place for kids to grow & learn. The student teacher ratio is incredible & the Montessori style approach to teaching, meaning every child learns differently, is what sets this school above all the rest. As my 5th grader continues to grow, I am struck with a melancholy feeling of leaving Benchmark for Middle School. The teachers, in my opinion, truly care about the students. I didn't have the privilege of having a child in Kindergarten but experienced 1st-6th grade, truly amazing teachers. I highly recommend Benchmark to all & I stand behind my comments. M. Lawrence proud Benchmark Parent!
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!