Professional Organizations & Collaborations
During our five decades, Benchmark has hosted educators from all over the U.S. and indeed the world who are interested in seeing Benchmark in action in order to share our methodologies with their colleagues and students.
In addition, we are privileged to work with dozens of outstanding professionals and researchers from the fields of reading education, psychology, diversity education, math, design thinking, and science who routinely collaborate with our staff and faculty and share their expertise with us.
Collaborations within the United States
February 14, 2020
Lynn Bowman, Cendhi Arias, and Rebecca Zakin from the Gordon School in East Providence, RI led a professional development session, "Creating More Equitable Classrooms ," which invited faculty and staff to examine our strengths to leverage as we begin to explore developing a more multicultural curriculum and create a more inclusive community; to learn and practice using a framework for having difficult conversations; and to review a framework and tools for transforming curriculum to better reflect an approach that is more rigorous, student-centered, and inclusive.
January 18, 2019
Gabrielle Russomagno led a workshop for faculty designed to assist us in implementing the design thinking process across the curriculum which is the foundation for the creative work in the Benchmark Innovation Lab. Russomagno holds a BA in Fine Arts from Smith College, an MFA from Yale, and is currently on the BFA faculty at the The School of Visual Arts in New York City.
October & November, 2018
Dr. Ali Michael of the Penn Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education presented workshops for and faculty on helping teachers talk about race honestly and effectively in their classrooms. Dr, Michael is the author of Raising Race Questions.
February 6-7, 2018
Visitors from the Springer School and Center in Cincinnati, Ohio observed in middle school classrooms and met with middle school teachers. Benchmark and Springer have an ongoing collaboration as we share issues that are important to both schools, as well as instructional practices. Springer is the only school in the Cincinnati region devoted exclusively to children who learn differently.
January 2, 2018
Dr. Howard Stevenson, Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, presented a full-day professional development workshop to the faculty on journaling and reflecting upon questions of personal experiences with racial diversity and conflict.
November 27, 2018
Dr. Howard Stevenson, Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education and Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, presented a full-day professional development workshop to the faculty on "Addressing Racial Elephants in Schooling Relationships:Racial Literacy for Teachers, Parents, and Students."
September 2, 2018
John Spencer, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Co-author of "Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student," presented a full-day workshop to faculty.
Dr. Nell Duke, Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan, presented to the faculty on "Developing Infotext Reading and Writing Through a Project-Based Approach."
Dr. Heidi Anne Mesmer, Associate Professor, School of Education at Virginia Tech - "STEM and Literacy Education."
Dr. Richard Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Education Psychology, University of Illinois, presented to the faculty on "The Social Construction of Causal Reasoning."
Visiting Scholars Dr. Rachel Karchmer-Klein, Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and Board Member of the International Literacy Association and Dr. Julie Coiro, Associate Professor in Reading Education at the University of Rhode Island presented to the faculty.
September 2016 to June 2017
Jenny Mills, a former teacher at Benchmark and founder of Roots & Wings, is leading Benchmark staff in a systematic, year-long training program related to mindfulness practice. Roots & Wings's mission is to make mindfulness accessible to teachers, youth, and families. The training will focus on the core concepts of mindfulness as well as how to apply mindfulness practices with students in the classroom. Given the proven value of mindfulness, we believe that by incorporating it into our program, it will help our students manage stress, reduce anxiety, increase focus, improve communications, and facilitate clarity.
Visiting Scholar Dr. Rachel Karchmer-Klein, Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and Board Member of the International Literacy Association presented to Benchmark faculty: "What Does It Actually Look Like?: Applying Knowledge Processes to Technology-Based Instructional Design."
Benchmark hosted two leaders in the literacy and technology field for three days. Julie Coiro, Associate Professor of Reading in the School of Education at the University of Rhode Island, and Jill Castek, Research Assistant Professor at Portland State University with the Literacy, Language, and Technology Research Group, observed in classrooms and met with teachers. Their goal was to help teachers plan units of instruction that will focus on an inquiry process of learning and that will effectively use technology as one tool to help students learn.
Visiting scholar Dr. Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota, presented to the faculty on the topic "Using Digital Tools for Providing Feedback To Foster Students' Self-Reflection."
Educators from EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning), Casey Shultz , of Baltimore, and Jean Hurst, of New York, visited Benchmark to observe reading and Word Detectives instruction in our 1st/2nd grade classroom. They also discussed Benchmark's literacy instruction with faculty members.
Dr. Julie Coiro, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Rhode Island, presented to the faculty on the topics of personal inquiry and online research. Dr. Coiro also spoke to a group of area educators on October 3 at a workshop co-sponsored by Benchmark School and the Delaware Valley Reading Association at Abington Friends School.
Middle School Head Dr. Eleanor Gensemer and Lower School Supervisor Colleen O'Hara visited Springer School in Cincinnati, Ohio to observe in classrooms and interact with the staff. In a similar way, teachers and administrators at Springer School visited Benchmark on two recent occasions. Springer School is the only school in the Cincinnati region devoted exclusively to children who learn differently. Like Benchmark, Springer School teaches tools and strategies to help their students become successful in school and life.
Dr. Patricia Alexander presented to the faculty on the topic "Relational Reasoning in Figure and in Word: Why Does It Matter and What Can We Do About It?" Dr. Alexander was recently named one of the most influential and productive educational psychologists of the past decade. She is the Jean Mullen Professor of Literacy and Distinguished Scholar/Teacher Educational Psychology Fellow in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology in the College of Education at the University of Maryland.
Visiting scholar Dr. Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota, presented to the faculty his research on "Using Digital Tools to Support Self-Reflection and Assessment."
Dr. Richard Anderson, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois and Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Reading presented to the faculty his research on the teacher's influence on peer collaboration.
Dr. Denise Johnson, College of William and Mary, presented to the faculty on "Blogging in the Classroom."
Dr. Julie Coiro, University of Rhode Island, presented to the faculty on "Exploring and Unpacking Benchmark's Technology Integration Framework - Part 2."
Claudia Koocheck, Had of the Charles Armstrong School in Belmont California, visited Benchmark to learn about our instructional program. Benchmark hopes to establish a partnership with the Charles Armstrong School moving into the future.
Dr. Jill Castek, Portland State University, presented to the faculty on "Exploring and Unpacking Benchmark's Technology Integration Framework - Part 1."
Dr. Patricia Alexander, University of Maryland, presented to the faculty on the topic "Critical Analytic Thinking: Making It Happen at Benchmark."
West Chester University taught a practicum course at Benchmark for middle grades certification candidates. Candidates observed in content area classrooms and worked with teachers in the those classrooms.
Educators from Hillside School in Reading, PA were hosted by Dr. Eleanor Gensemer, Head of the Middle School, to discuss how we incorporate executive functioning instruction into the middle school curriculum.
Consultation and Math Research project at Benchmark led by Kristie Jones Newton, PhD., Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Temple University.
Seven teachers and administrators from the Springer School and Center returned for a second time for two-day visit to learn from Benchmark teachers. Benchmark is formalizing a partnership with them and will visit the Springer School and Center in the spring of 2015.
Partnerships with Widener University and West Chester University - Professors from their literacy departments participated in Benchmark professional development workshops.
Sue Dymock, Ph.D., Professor, Author, Literacy Leader, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Psychologists and Teachers from all curriculum areas and levels from Norway, under the direction of Professor Kristine Ulven.
Reading Specialists and Psychologists from Colegio Antares, Peru.
Educators from Russia visited Benchmark as part of their "Best U.S. Schools Tour."
Hosted a seminar for over 100 educators from schools and universities both national and international who were interested in learning about Benchmark's methodology.
Our faculty and staff belong to a number of professional associations including:
- Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools (ADVIS)
- American Library Association
- American Psychological Association
- Associates of Springfield | Psychological (ADHD and Executive Control issues)
- Association of Middle Level Education
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- Council of Mathematics Education Research Group
- Delaware Valley Reading Association
- International Dyslexia Association
- International Reading Association
- International Literacy Association Global Network Task Force
- International Literacy Association US Network Task Force
- International Society for Technology in Education
- Keystone State Reading Association
- Literacy Research Association
- Mosaic Society of Philadelphia
- National Art Educators Association
- National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
- National Association for School Psychologists
- National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Pennsylvania Association of Middle Level Education
- Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
- Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- Pennsylvania Music Educators' Association
- Pennsylvania School Librarians Association
- Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work
- Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project
- Philadelphia Area Group Psychotherapy Society
- Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists
- American Group Psychotherapy Association Children and Adolescents Interest Group
- Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA)
Benchmark School is a one-of-a-kind place – not only because of its mission, but because of the way it goes about pursuing it. Instead of relying on an endless arsenal of carrots and sticks, Benchmark taps students’ innate desire to learn, which helps them develop persistence, creativity, and other capacities crucial to their future success.
Daniel H. Pink
New York Times Best-Selling Author