The Innovation Lab, Enriching The Experience at Benchmark School
Benchmark School recently opened an Innovation Lab. Learn how this technology-driven space is helping students expand their learning beyond the traditional classroom.
Jim and Kendra Viner enrolled their son Will at Benchmark School in first grade.
“In kindergarten, we realized our son learned differently. We needed a school that would show him his thought process was a gift and not a limitation. The teachers had to be willing to meet Will where he was, both emotionally and academically,” said Jim. “He needed individualized attention and the opportunity to learn in a way that was best for him.”
They found everything they were looking for, and more, at Benchmark School where Will is now a successful rising sixth-grader.
“Our class sizes are small, so we get to bond and help each other work through challenges,” said Will, when asked what he loved about being a Benchmark student.
“He’s gained so much self confidence” said Kendra. “He enjoys coming to school. Benchmark is a special and very unique place.”
Founded in 1970, Benchmark has spent almost 50 years helping bright students who learn differently become successful, both in the classroom and beyond, through the use of proven, research-based methods. Small class sizes, and a dedicated community of teachers, parents and administrators, combined with a focused learning environment contribute to the success of students like Will.
One of Will’s learning difference gifts is his ability to make elaborate connections between what he’s learning in class, reading in books, and hearing in the media.
“He’s a thinker,” both Jim and Kendra agree. “He’s always trying to take things to the next level.”
Due in large part to his son’s curiosity, as well as the family’s commitment to helping others, Jim, an experienced builder, is voluntarily overseeing the construction of Benchmark’s new Innovation Lab.
Designed by two Benchmark alumni, renowned architects Bill and Chris Sharples of SHoP Architects, the lab is set to open at the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. The lab will provide a multi-sensory learning experience that promotes high-level thinking, trial and error, and enriches traditional classroom lessons.
When asked his thoughts on creating the lab, Jim said “it is a natural extension of Benchmark’s approach to giving its students the opportunities, and the tools, to understand how they learn, and how they can impact the world.”
From the student’s perspective, Will said he is looking forward to using the 3-D printer.
“I want to make a lightbulb,” he said.
“Benchmark School is planting seeds of understanding in their students,” said Kendra. “They are learning how to set and reach goals, and with the addition of the Innovation Lab, they can take that even further now.”
Does Benchmark School feel like it would be a good fit for your child?
Photographs by Sarah L. Bender