Professional Organizations and Collaborations

Collaborations with Schools and Universities
(Partial Listing)
 
February 6,7, 2018 - Benchmark welcomed middle school teachers from the Springer School and Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The visitors 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, 2017 - 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.
April 2017 - 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."
 
April 2017 - Dr. Heidi Anne Mesmer, Associate Professor, School of Education at Virginia Tech -  "STEM and Literacy Education."
 
February 2017 - Dr. Richard Anderson, Professor Emeritus, Department of Education Psychology, University of Illinois, presented to the faculty on "The Social Construction of Causal Reasoning."
 
December 2016 - 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.
 
February 2016 - 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."
 
December 2015 - 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. 
 
November 2015 - 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."
 
October 2015 -  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.
 
October 2015 - 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.       
 
May 2015 -  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. 
 
May 2015 - 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. 
 
April 2015 - 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."
 
March 2015 - 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.

February  2015 - Dr. Rachel Karchmer-Klein, University of Delaware presented to the faculty on the topic "Interacting with Digital Text: An Opportunity to Explore the Possibilities."
 
January  2015 - Dr. Denise Johnson, College of William and Mary, presented to the faculty on "Blogging in the Classroom."

November  2014 - Dr. Julie Coiro, University of Rhode Island, presented to the  faculty on "Exploring and Unpacking Benchmark's Technology Integration Framework - Part 2."
 
October 2014 - 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.

October 2014 - Dr. Jill Castek,  Portland State University, presented to the faculty on  "Exploring and Unpacking Benchmark's Technology Integration Framework - Part 1."
 
May 2014. Dr. Patricia Alexander, University of Maryland, presented to the faculty on the topic "Critical Analytic Thinking: Making It Happen at Benchmark."

Spring 2014 - 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.

December 2013 - 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.

2011-2013 - Consultation and Math Research project at Benchmark led by Kristie Jones Newton, PhD., Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Temple University.
 
February 2013 - 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.

2011-2012 - Partnerships with Widener University and West Chester University - Professors from their literacy departments participated in Benchmark professional development workshops.
 
International Collaborations
(Partial List)
During Benchmark's 45-year history, we have hosted many educators from all over the world who are interested in seeing Benchmark in action in order to share our methodologies with educators and students in their own countries. Here is just a sampling of the international professionals we have been privileged to host.

2011 - Sue Dymock, Ph.D., Professor, Author, Literacy Leader, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

2011 - Psychologists and Teachers from all curriculum areas and levels from Norway, under the direction of Professor Kristine Ulven.

2009 - Reading Specialists and Psychologists from Colegio Antares, Peru.

2007- Educators from Russia visited Benchmark as part of their "Best U.S. Schools Tour."

1993 - 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:
(Partial List)
  • 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 Educaiton
  • Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association
  • Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of Mathematics
  • Pennsylvania Music Educators' Association
  • Pennsyvania 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)
  
What Education Experts Are Saying About Benchmark
 
“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 of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future

“When people ask me what is the best school I have seen in action, my go-to school is Benchmark. It is incredible and without peer.”
Steve Graham, Ed.D
., Currey Ingram Professor of Special Education and Literacy, Vanderbilt University, Recipient of Career Research Awards from the Council for Exceptional Children and the American Educational Research Association
 
“In 15 years of working with mathematics teachers, I have never seen a group as skilled and dedicated to each student’s success as those at Benchmark. These teachers excel at all the best practicesand then strive for more.” [They] serve as a model for all who are inspired to teach.” Kristie Jones Newton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education, Temple University
 
“Benchmark School offers education at its best. The instruction in reading and writing provided to students in all grades is exemplary. The curriculum is research-based and follows best practices recommended by the National Reading Panel. Teachers and staff at Benchmark have worked with scientists in cognition, language, and education to perfect their teaching techniques. Students who are lucky enough to attend this school will have a decided edge in their academic background, capabilities, and motivation to learn and achieve.” Linnea C. Ehri, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology and Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, One of the World’s Leading Experts in How Children Learn to Read and Spell
 
"By using the best research on teaching, Benchmark takes kids who were struggling in school and creates successful learners. Benchmark has perfected its instructional model over a 45-year period, and yet, continues to refine it and extend it. All struggling learners should be taught so well and so intensively."
Dick Allington, Ph.D., Professor of Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee; Member International Reading Association's Hall of Fame