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Benjamin School

School rating 4.6 / 5 by

4875 Grandiflora Road Palm Beach Gardens FL 33418 United States
Boarding
None to None
Day
PK to 12th
Gender
Coed

Academic

Benjamin School review by .

Academics at The Benjamin School are far superior to those offered at any of the nearby public schools. The exception is the public school system's magnet program. Suncoast High School, an IB magnet school in Riviera Beach, is at least on par with Benjamin. For students with a serious interest in the arts, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, a magnet school in West Palm Beach, offers by far the strongest arts program in the area, although the interdisciplinary education for an art student will be much better at Benjamin. Benjamin academics are top notch, with students traveling from as far as Wellington and Stuart to attend this high school (a 35-40 minute drive away). The school offers almost 20 AP classes, and across all departments these classes were extremely strong. For regular level classes, the English department was probably the strongest of the bunch. Although the school does offer classes in the arts, this department stands out as the weakest, excepting music. Knowing how to express ideas persuasively on paper has been the most helpful skill I acquired at the school. Benjamin is one of the most "wired" high schools in the country. The entire school has wireless internet, every student MUST purchase a tablet laptop computer to attend the school, and every classroom has an electronic smartboard (in addition to the whiteboard) that is connected to the teachers computer and can be written on with digital ink and clicked with the touch of a hand. This technology is integrated in most classes and are used for everything from emailing homework assignments to in some cases reading book material. Students can even write on their screen and share with the rest of the class what the wrote either by sending it to the rest of the class' computers or sending it to the electronic part of the front board, known as the "smartboard" (the smartboard integrates with the teachers computer and can be written on with digital ink). From what I've seen, being one of the most wired high schools in the country is a great way for Benjamin to get good publicity, but in the end the money would be much better spent in other places, such as hiring high quality teachers to match the school's growth. Students were often heavily distracted by the computers sitting on or near their desks. Since this program was brand new when I was graduating from Benjamin, this program may have improved, but my personal opinion is that this amount of extra technology is a distraction, an impediment to learning, and ultimately money wasted for both the students' families and the school. If you plan on attending here, shop around for your tablet pc. It is likely much cheaper to purchase it online than direct through the school. The student body is not overly competitive, and students did not compare grades with much frequency. High performing students, however, were much more competitive, even though it was kept to friendly competition. Classes were rarely over 20 students, on average around 15. Higher level courses were always smaller, and in my experience the school was willing to provide an AP class even if only a couple students were interested. Faculty were usually caring and accessible. The harder the course (honors or AP), the more likely it is that you will draw a fantastic teacher. There are a few bad apples like there are anywhere, but the majority will do whatever necessary to be available to students. The average workload was about 4 hours per night, but students (myself included) got by on much less. Faculty did not teach to the (AP, SAT) test, except when they thought it would be particularly helpful to students for scoring well. In general, the focus was on engaging students in the learning process. Several years ago the school opened an entirely new campus that is dedicated to high school students (the aforementioned "smart" campus). While the facilities are exceptional (if not a bit stale compared to the original Ellison Wilson campus), teacher quality is suffering a bit during this time of growth. The old, experienced teachers are still there, but expect to your share of younger, less experienced teachers as well.

College Counseling

College counseling began at the end of sophomore year. The school is small enough that....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

An interview with an admissions counselor and day of shadowing a current student are both....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Interestingly, Benjamin School does not offer any school buses. There is ample parking for students to park their own car or parents may drop off and pick up their kids. The school also does not offer a cafeteria. Each day a different local restaurant brings food that students may buy for approximately five dollars. As tasty as this sounds, the food that is brought in is almost always not very good, and by the time senior year comes around a standard high school cafeteria might be more appetizing. There are plenty of picnic tables that....

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