This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted April 13, 2015
- a parent
Per the AIMS data (azed.gov), the pass % (meet & exceed) for that class went from 83% in 5th grade to 68% in 6th grade. Roughly 6 addt l students did worse. However, since the % of exceeding students increased from 28 to 35%, the math mean scaled score remained consistent (418 in 5th to 421 in 6th). Some went down, some went up so the average result was ok typical results, right? I wouldn t extrapolate a cause to panic. It s fairly common to test prep for AIMS (now AZ Merit), the CCUSD does as well. Similar to our day, the testing is mandatory. The extra help from teachers is optional. I m sure crafting the lesson plans around testing is probably difficult & frustrating for them. I m grateful for their extra effort. I d rather my child is relaxed and sharpen test taking skills to prepare for high school/college, than be thrown into it cold turkey. Even if they are learning items specifically targeted for standardized testing, aren t they still learning? Sometimes you just have to trust that the educators, who have decades of combined experience, know what they re doing. My 0 yrs of exp. and 0 education degrees make it easy to give them the benefit of the doubt.
This Is our first year at benchmark. My kids are thriving and love going to school every day. That says a lot when your children jump up in the morning excited to begin that their day. They are so eager to get back after break. They love their teachers and friends. Thanks Benchmark for putting the love back into learning for my kids!!!
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.