Strategic Plan

In the spring of 2021, we launched a community-wide strategic visioning initiative designed to propel, challenge, and ground our school as an educational leader.
 
Now, we will bring our new strategic plan to life.
 

In this strategic planning process, many of our community members—students, faculty and staff, parents, alumni, and trustees—spent hundreds of hours collaborating and sharing their unique perspectives to create our strategic plan, entitled "Empower."  

We invite you to explore the five goals of our strategic plan outlined here. Over eight years—from 2022 through 2030—we will seek to implement the actions supporting each goal, collectively building an exciting and prosperous future for Benchmark. 

Text: Empower, The Strategic Plan for Benchmark School, Image: two girls on a swing

EMPOWER

Discovering interests and realizing aspirations.

Benchmark School will continue to succeed as a place where students develop essential skills and competencies and it will distinguish itself as an innovative learning community where students, educators, families, and members of the community are empowered partners in supporting students in expanding their interests and strengths, and uncovering their hidden talents, so they can realize their aspirations and full potential.
 

The 5 Goals

Goal 1. A girl sits at a desk with a book.

Goal 1

EMPOWERING LEARNERS

We will work together to support, stretch, inspire, and empower our imaginative and innovative students to discover their interests, unleash their gifts and talents, and fulfill their potential.

Highlights:

  • Expand curricular and non-curricular opportunities for students
  • Interdisciplinary projects
  • Curriculum update
  • Professional development
  • National & local professional engagements

"It is wonderful that Benchmark will be undertaking the work of Empowering Learners as part of the strategic plan.  The students are at the center of everything that happens at Benchmark, and to focus on stretching, inspiring, and empowering them to find their passions and discover new interests is timely, and it is thrilling to see that being addressed.  We know that the teaching staff is critical to everything that happens in the classroom, and seeing an investment in professional development and onboarding educators is rewarding.  I’m excited to work on these projects with the faculty and the students."

- Dr. Eleanor Gensemer
Head of Middle School

Girl in Benchmark sweatshirt comes out of a yellow school bus

Goal 2

TAKING THE LEAD

We will advance our position as the region’s leading edge, research-based school for students who learn differently. 

Highlights: 

  • Brand refresh
  • Research and teaching partnerships with colleges and universities
  • Deeper engagement with other professionals
  • Expand Word ID program's impact beyond Benchmark
  • Broaden reach and accessibility of Benchmark Camp

"I'm particularly thrilled about the "Taking the Lead" goal.  Benchmark is and has been the leading educational environment for helping students who learn differently.  What I love about this goal is the energy put behind capturing and using the reputation Benchmark currently has and it will propel the school into research opportunities, and get the regional and national recognition for the amazing work that Benchmark has always done. Highlighting Benchmark's amazing work and intentionally getting that message out is very exciting to me.  As an alum and practicing psychologist I see the need in so many different communities for the knowledge and skills Benchmark has to offer. Doing more to market this work will open doors for new generations of students to take advantage of Benchmark and will also allow Benchmark to be more engaged with educators and researchers to spread Benchmark's work and knowledge on how to teach, and more importantly, how to reach students who learn differently."

- Amber B. West Buller, PhD '84
Clinical Psychologist

In a classroom, a girl holds a book and speaks.

Goal 3

INVESTING IN DIVERSITY

We will invest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as an integrating force across our culture, curriculum, and community.

Highlights: 

  • Enhance recruitment & retention of diverse students, staff, and faculty
  • Staff training and support 
  • Dedicated DEI professional role
  • Cultivate reflection and learning opportunities

"Diversity is measured in many ways and Benchmark has a rich history of educating children whose diversity is celebrated for their individual and collective learning styles. This foundation of understanding difference which separates and defines people is a guidestar to expanding that skill; enveloping racial, ethnic, gender, and other aspects of diversity as uniquely requiring care, expression, and appreciation."

-Anne Rice-Burgess
Benchmark Board Member and President & CEO
Methodist Home for Children
Methodist Services

A boy runs with a football outdoors.

Goal 4

CULTIVATING COMMUNITY

We will grow our community connections and capacity to identify and respond to opportunities and needs through enhanced participation and partnership. 

Highlights: 

  • Dedicated time for community building
  • Change management
  • Enhance Benchmark traditions
  • Expand family & alumni engagement

"Many years ago when I first joined the Benchmark team, I was so impressed with the emphasis placed on having a caring and connected community of learners. It has been my passion over my years at Benchmark to educate students on how to navigate their relationships and to create more opportunities for students to build and strengthen their connections. Building a safe and supportive environment allows our students to feel more comfortable with taking risks and becoming better advocates for their learning. It gives me joy to know that after all of these years, Cultivating Community continues to be an important strategic goal of Benchmark School. I look forward to working with our students, their families, and our alums to further strengthen the vitality of our community. "

-Dr. Adam Lemisch
Head of Child and Family Support Services  

Four older students stand at a table working on a project, supervised by a standing teacher.

Goal 5

STEWARDING OUR FUTURE

We will strengthen our financial vitality by sustaining a strong enrollment, enhancing creative fundraising efforts, and generating alternative sources of revenue.

Highlights:

  • Transform compensation and benefits to be best-in-class
  • Develop auxiliary revenue sources
  • Streamline data management
  • Execute campus master plan

"To achieve this goal would result in a transformation of not only the physical spaces where our students learn and grow, but also our aspirations to reach underserved communities.  A strong financial future for Benchmark will insure many more generations of learners enjoy a world class education.  The results of a success of strengthening our financial model at Benchmark will make all of the other goals in our strategic plan possible."

-Benjamin B. Rogers '95
Chair, Board of Trustees