Please read thoroughly all the negative reviews, note that there is a common theme and they describe our personal experience.
Also note the teachers' responses as they come across as angry and defensive. This is how you will be treated if you express concerns or issues.
* Bullying and belittling by teachers and administrators.
* Nepotism and favoritism toward certain children, families and teachers.
* No positive dialog if you have concerns or issues. Teachers and administration will tell you flatly "Don't like it? Leave".
* My child left below grade level.
* Lack of empathy and compassion shown to those students with special circumstances.
Please, I urge you to tour as many schools as possible. You will see the difference.
These defensive comments clearly speak to the lack of integrity of the staff and principles of Benchmark! To be fair, I am not sure I agree with the comments made about choice of teacher meals....not really any business of the parents, but not one comment addressed the educational concerns that were brought up.....which is the lack of a consistent reading, writing, and spelling program. My child left the school below grade level in those three subjects, I know several other families that have left and found the same thing to be true. On the flip side I know families that chose Benchmark and found that their students were WAY beyond what was being taught in their grade level at Benchmark! A lot of families will leave for a more consistent and quality education which you can find at plenty of other schools in the valley! I am embarrassed that I ever promoted the school and stayed as long as we did. Bullying, belittling and lying is the only thing these school administrators know....speak to anyone that has left the school (there are A LOT) and they will tell you the same things!! For the few that stay quiet, never voice concerns, and give a lot of money....you'll be fine, but if you question anything done by the school or in the classroom you will be treated like an outcast!
As for the money and sport court comment, don’t be ridiculous! Get a quote and then talk. It cost a lot of money for “plastic”. Have you bought a plastic play set lately?? This school is well taken care of and maintained. Good luck finding a school that doesn’t fund raise. With Arizona’s education being cut year after year, fundraising is the only way that schools can better your child’s education and experience. One would think a parent would want that for their child. As for the other review, NO teacher has ever, ever stated, “Oh come on, what is wrong with TV? We teachers need a break.” That is more than a false and laughable quote. We DO NOT watch TV and movies to teach or for a break from teaching!! Movies are used during heat advisory days and rainy days only during the 30 minute lunch recess period. These days are very few and far between. Yes, the teachers absolutely deserve and are legally bound to receive a 30 min lunch break without students. That doesn’t seem far-fetched, lazy or selfish. It is also very seldom, a few times per year, that a grade level will show a video to enrich our Core Knowledge curriculum. These may include National Geographic, Magic School Bus or historical clips. Fortunately, because of our team teaching, movies are not used when a teacher is absent. This is very different from all other schools. We are still quite confused why these comments stay up on Great Schools’ website as they hold no educational value and are clearly outlandish and implausible. We wish this family the best of luck with their choice at a local Montessori.
For the record, our school doesn’t serve junk food to the children. We do, however, allow children to bring in a birthday or “star student” treat of their choice. We will continue to allow parents the freedom to celebrate their child’s birthday with whatever treat they choose. I guarantee if these children live a healthy lifestyle at home these treats will not harm them or their learning. Some parents choose to not allow their child to have these treats, and we have always honored this. We have never had a problem keeping their personal “treats” for them to have at these times. The students are not singled out and it is done without any hesitation or judgement. How dare this critical person generalize on the overall health choices of the staff! We teach our students not to judge each other for their food, ethnicities or calories. We are disappointed that a parent, so concerned with adults modeling for children, would model such hate towards people. You can clearly see that nothing makes this parent happy. To say the staff models so poorly by walking around with donuts and cupcakes is beyond insane! Once again, proving this comment is invalid and outrageous. Our generous principals are kind enough to purchase donuts and bagels once a month for our staff meeting. They do not force us to eat them. Many teachers pass on the offer and many of the most fit and healthy teachers treat themselves. We also are a tight and generous staff and provide breakfast for each other on Fridays. Who would think we had angry parents watching our every personal move? That’s scary and crazy! Our principals value health and wellness so much that they provide a cardio and weight training class for all teachers, free of charge. These are a few of the reasons why amazing teachers and parents stay here at Benchmark. So to these parents, we hope you find happiness in your new school. Maybe one day these parents can let go of their anger and hate and leave our school and staff alone.
While this school may have a few good teachers, I urge you to look at other schools. While here, you will be made to believe that Benchmark is amazing - but once you tour other schools, you will realize how unprofessional many of the teachers are, including one specific principal. I still do not understand why these principals think they are modeling good behavior for these students. They are incredibly rude - please read all reviews over the past 5 years.
The teachers show movies as an easy way out of teaching the curriculum - again, you will find this is a common theme in negative reviews over the last 5 years. They try to blow it off and say, "oh come on, what is wrong with the TV? We teachers need some breaks!" We have never before heard of teachers that need a break and can not get it without putting the TV on for the class! I just wish we would have read the negative reviews before attending this school. The amount of junk food served to the kids here is unbelievable - in a day where kids need more exercise and less junk. If you complain, you will be told, "oh come on, its for fun, you can choose to not have your child eat it."
But really, who wants your child in an environment every day where the other children and staff are eating donuts and cupcakes on such a regular basis?
We do not. If you try to suggest that your child not eat this food, or not watch the many Disney movies, you will be told to go elsewhere and yelled at by the staff.
When we started this year at a new school, wow, what a change. The principals say hello to the children, the teachers are not walking around with big sodas in their hand, and kids are told they are not allowed to eat junk during the school day - why? Because we all know in 2016 that your brain and body are connected and you can not learn to your best ability while watching tv and eating junk food! Our kids are at a school where the staff is professional, respectful, and the values are in line with our family. Very unlike Benchmark. Please make sure you are ok with how things are done at Benchmark before you sign up.
Benchmark teaches not only academics but integrity. My children have seen immigrants become citizens at school and are proud of our country. I was told a story from a grandfather who attended VIM lunch with his granddaughter at the school. He had lost his wallet with a large amount of cash in it. He was notified that a student had turned it in. He counted every dollar, nothing was missing. He offered the child a reward and was so impressed with his honesty. That is an example of a Benchmark student.
Benchmark School provides an environment where any family will feel at home. There are 2 teachers in every class so no child falls behind. All of the teachers are top notch or they will not be allowed to continue to teach there. The principals truly care for each child as if it were their own and are always available to talk at a moments request. The front desk greets you with a smile and can help with any questions or point you in the right direction of someone who can. This school is very unique in that we feel like one large family. It is worth every moment you might stand in line to enroll your child. I have read the negative comments and can honestly say they are just not true. When my children continue on to another school after sixth grade I feel they will be ready to exceed any expectations their future school might have from a child entering at their grade level. I feel truly lucky that we are able to attend this school.