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Our History

Founded in 1970, Benchmark School was the first school in the Philadelphia area for students who learn differently. 

Our founder, Dr. Irene Gaskins, was passionate about finding the most effective ways to teach.

In the earliest days of her teaching career, Dr. Gaskins taught “struggling readers” in a resource room. She soon realized that the instructional model being used—the same model found in public schools across the country—was not coming close to meeting the students’ needs.

As a result of that experience, she vowed to pursue a doctoral degree that would help her identify the most effective research-based practices for teaching students who learn differently so that she could open a school that would enable those students to meet with success in school and life.

Propelled by her vision as well as the hard work, energy, and expertise of a core of passionate and gifted individuals, Dr. Irene Gaskins founded Benchmark School.

From the beginning and through to this day, Benchmark School has been grounded in building students’ confidence and competence by teaching them a range of strategies and executive functioning skills. We also recognized at the outset that helping students who had struggled to meet with success in school required more than just academic strategies, it required instruction and support related to affective issues as well.

While Benchmark School has continued to grow and change over the decades, our faculty's expertise and enthusiasm for teaching has remained constant.