For nearly 50 years, Benchmark has given students the opportunity to learn how they learn, the tools to learn how to read and write, and the self-confidence to advocate for their needs so that they can be successful at Benchmark and beyond.
Benchmark teachers have encouraged students to take risks, ask questions, and work with their peers in a tight-knit community. The Benchmark community has surrounded students with positive people who want to see them succeed and pushed them to be their best every day.
Read below for real stories of people whose lives have been inspired and changed by their Benchmark experience.
We are so very grateful for the education Liz was given at Benchmark. Throughout Liz's many successes in high school and college, we often paused and reflected on our decision to send her to Benchmark. I believe it was the single most important and best decision we have ever made as parents. Liz feels the very same way.
Beth McCarthy, Parent of 2005 Graduate
"At Benchmark I no longer felt like that one kid who wasn't getting it. Being in a supportive community taught me that if I put my mind to something, I can do anything." —Josh Bell, Ph.D. '85, Brown, BA, Oxford, Ph.D., Curator of Globalization at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
"When I came to Benchmark, my teachers individualized things for me and saw what worked and what didn't. Being here helped me gain the confidence I need to both do schoolwork and to contact teachers and ask for help if I need it. My time at Benchmark helped me grow in every major way." —Anna Lodge '13, Great Valley High School '16, attending Rider College
“My parent’s decision to send me to Benchmark was one of the best decisions they ever made.” —Katie LeGros-Taylor '92, West Virginia Wesleyan '00
"Benchmark made me into the person I am today: a confident learner. " —Randy Berman '00, Athletic Director, Teacher, Coach
"My experience at Benchmark made a huge difference in my life. I was taught how to work through difficult problems on my own. I would not be the person I am today if were not for the wonderful and dedicated teachers at Benchmark." —Nick Hannon '13, The Shipley School '17, attending Mercyhurst College
"The time I spent at Benchmark was the reason I went into the teaching profession....I have been able to share my love of learning and strategies to make college level learners feel as comfortable with learning as Benchmark made me! Thank you!!" —Chelsea Iobst '01, High Point University, BA, University of Florida Graduate student, Assistant Learning Specialist at the University of Florida Athletic Association
"Benchmark has had one of the biggest impacts on my life. I know for a fact that without Benchmark, I would not have gotten into PSU and may not have even graduated high school. Benchmark gave me the tools and ability to succeed, and I can never thank them enough." —Michael Jones '14, attending Penn State University
"The one aspect of Benchmark that has always given me great comfort was in knowing that no matter what the problem or challenge [our son] faced, the teachers and support staff were always on his side, and Richard's and mine as well. The teachers were always there to help find a way to make things work, to offer support and look for solutions. It still amazes me how much personal attention they gave our family, and I am in awe of how they were able to show that same level of devotion to every Benchmark family." —Tina Eisen Fox, Parent of 2017 Benchmark Graduate
"I am not sure where to begin except with thank you, thank you, thank you for all that Benchmark has done for my child. Five years ago when I was trying to find a school that could help her regain her footing in the academic world and help her catch up with her peers, little did I know we would find such a loving community for her to flourish in. She has gone from feeling different to having the confidence to get up on the stage in front of a large audience and sing her heart out! She has also gained the ability to speak up for herself and will be able to succeed no matter what life throws at her. I know this is because of the wonderful, caring, talented people that make up Benchmark." —Heather Carb, Parent of 2015 Benchmark Graduate
"It was the teachers at Benchmark who gave me the confidence to pursue math through high school and as a major in college. Benchmark gave me the tools I needed to succeed, not only academically, but through the rest of my life. Still, to this day, I believe the best thing that ever happened to me was going to Benchmark." —Grace Levengood, Benchmark '13, Christopher Dock Academy '17, attending Muhlenberg College
"For most of my career, I was an elementary school secretary in the William Penn School District, and I can honestly say that Benchmark is the absolute best school in the world, and I am so happy Sam and Colin are there with you!" —Anna Everetts, Grandparent
"I am loving my first year at Garnet Valley High School! I know what I need as a learner and tell the teachers what I need. Benchmark taught me learning and study skills and how to approach difficult projects. I miss everyone at Benchmark and can't wait to visit!" —Emma Six '17, attending Garnet Valley High School
"Every time I accomplish something, I think that there is no way I would have gotten there without Benchmark. Benchmark taught me to be a different kind of thinker, to bring a different perspective to a group situation, and to think about things in an unconventional manner." —Kristie Gonzalez McCollom '92, The Shipley School '98, Middlebury College '02, Director of Admission at Glen Urquhart School, Beverly, MA
"I use my Benchmark skills almost every day in high school. I have found that I may not be the best learner, but I am one of the best at knowing how to learn thanks to Benchmark." —Pat Pearson '10, Archbishop Carroll High School '14
“Benchmark taught me that with focus and determination, I can achieve anything.” —Winston Beever, Benchmark '12, Church Farm School '15, attending Skidmore College
"Thanks to Benchmark, the move to my freshman year at Salesianum was easy. In some classes we even read the same books that I read at Benchmark. At Benchmark, my teachers described me as a 'strategy sponge.' I recall trying to incorporate every strategy into my daily learning. Now, in high school, I know just what to do and how to be successful." —Dan Santoleri, Benchmark ’13, Salesianum Academy '17, attending Temple University
“The most important thing Benchmark taught me was the strategies to succeed. You might not remember the exact lessons you learned in each grade, but you will remember the strategies of how to learn, and that’s something you can take with you even after you leave Benchmark. It’s remained applicable to me in high school, college, and now in my job search. It’s all about turning your weaknesses into your strengths; it’s not easy, but ultimately it’s what leads to self-improvement.” —Jonathan Rhome ’08, Radnor High School ’12, University of Southern California '16, Project Manager, Tinder Inc.
"Benchmark changed my life, providing me with the tools and strategies to help manage my dyslexia and dyscalculia and enabling me to be successful in life and flourish in academic settings. Most importantly, Benchmark allowed me to get to know myself as a student and taught me how to be actively involved and engaged in my own learning, ... arming me with the tools to be a self-advocate for my own success. The teachers were amazing, talented, and compassionate educators. ... Benchmark provided a loving and caring community where I felt like a normal kid. Without a doubt, Benchmark changed my life. I am so grateful!" —Vanessa Kauffman, Benchmark '99, Temple, BA; University of Chicago, MS; attending the University of California, Irvine, Ph.D., Sociology
"I am doing really well at the school because of the help I received at Benchmark. Actually everything I said in my vision statement in my Benchmark portfolio came true. I was glad I was able to be part of the Friends Select soccer team this fall because it helped me make really close friends, and now I am playing basketball. But I could not have done these sports without doing well at school, and that is happening because of Benchmark's help in teaching me organization skills. Now my favorite subject is either English or Chemistry. I could have never said that I liked reading and writing before I started Benchmark." —Julie Pozzuolo '15, Attending Friends Select School
"Benchmark had a profound influence on my life, from the moment I stepped foot in summer camp to the day I headed back to public school and then to Shipley. Benchmark helped me unlock my life potential." —David J. Bloom '80, Villanova, BA, with Honors, Delaware Law School, JD, Managing Director at Wilmington Trust
"I really did learn a lot of skills here [at Benchmark] that help me in all aspects of life, from self-advocacy, to enhancing my reading and writing skills - which are now my strongest - to helping me build relationships with my high school teachers and now my professors. Benchmark also taught me to constantly reflect on what I’m doing and what I need to fix. I’m now very aware of who I am as a student." —Henry Goodhart, Benchmark ’10, The Shipley School ’14
"My time at Benchmark was a life-changing experience. Benchmark helped me realize my talent in math and science and consider my options in high school and college. College is a reality for me because of my own hard work and determination, and also because of the remarkable people who taught me how to be successful." —Michael Farber '11, Church Farm School '15, studying Engineering at Lebanon Valley College