Benchmark Preschool and Elementary was founded by three teachers with a dream. We were able to open Benchmark Preschool and Elementary (as a private school) in September of 1998 with 15 kindergarteners and 12 preschoolers enrolled. Foursquare Church located at 3110 E. Cheryl Dr., rented the back of their property and their Fellowship Hall so classes could begin. Between July 4 and September 7, we installed a two-room portable building, a beautiful grass playground with sprinkler system, covered cement sitting area, playground equipment and donated trees. By the end of our first school year our enrollment doubled.
After receiving our Charter in the fall of 1999 our enrollment grew again. Through word of mouth our student population continued to double each year as we opened one grade level at a time. We continued to add portable buildings (4 total) onto the Foursquare property until there was no space left for growth. By Dec. 2001 we knew we needed to find another location. By chance we came upon the property of our current campus, 4120 E. Acoma Drive. We designed both the layout of the campus and the classrooms. When construction was complete, we qualified for the Industrial Pima Educational Revenue Bond.
For two years in a row Benchmark received the #1 standing in the Parent Satisfaction survey by the Department of Education. Benchmark School has been recognized as one of the top 25 Elementary Schools in the nation. We have been ranked 4th in the State of Arizona.
In the fall of 2002 students, preschool thru fourth grade, enjoyed a new campus that consisted of buildings A and B. The following year Singapore Math Curriculum was introduced to the staff, who embraced it as an integral part of our curriculum. We were the first school in the United States to fully implement Singapore Math K - 6.
The AZ State Board of Education stopped sponsoring Charter Schools and we applied and became members of the State Board of Charter Schools.
In 2004, Building C was built to house the 5th and 6th grades as well as our Exceptional Student Service (ESS) offices and computer lab (now known as Math/Makerspace). By now the student population in the elementary school was around 400 students and the preschool approximately 80 students.
At the end of the 2005 - 2006 school year Dragonflye Charter School closed its doors and offered the resources of the current Science Lab to Benchmark. We then built a final building to house the animals and resources. By the end of 2007 Building D, for Science and Art, was completed and the "lab" moved in.
The parental support at Benchmark is awesome. The past 21 years have brought new opportunities and challenges. Competition among both district schools and new charter schools are generating better programs for all students. Your unfailing support of Benchmark and our staff's dedication and love of teaching and children continues to set the standard for maintaining an excelling school. Our goal is to develop the potential of every student.
It is with great confidence that upon our retirement as the founders that the new administration, Wendy Brady and Maria Etchebarren, will continue to instill the love of learning, country and family.
Carole Challoner Barbara Darroch Susan Huff