Jen’s son, Maxwell, is highly intelligent. Jen recognized this early in his life, but she also saw the difficultly he had in some social situations. Anticipating the challenges he would face in a traditional classroom, Jen enrolled him in Benchmark Charter School.
Benchmark uses ability grouping and multiple-teacher classrooms to provide instruction that helps both excelling and struggling students move at their own pace. Jen says this approach “has done wonders because … [Maxwell] is taught to his ability so he can learn with the higher learners in the group,” she says.
Benchmark is one of 535 Arizona charter schools, independent public schools that operate free from most state restrictions in exchange for higher levels of accountability. Charter schools face regular financial audits like traditional schools, but charters are also subject to academic review and can be closed for low levels of student achievement.
Charter schools’ freedom to choose their own curriculum and school mission allows some schools to focus on math and science while others design their classrooms around art and literature. The result is hundreds of different schools parents can choose from to provide unique challenges to their children.
Two of the best schools in the country are Arizona charter schools, according to Newsweek.
Jen thinks Benchmark’s approach to instruction helps all students in Maxwell’s class: “None of them feel excluded and they can learn at their own pace. A superior product comes out of it for all of the groups,” she says.
Arizona Charter Schools Association: Official Website
The Daily Beast: America's Best High Schools 2012
National School Choice Week: Official Website