Posted March 2, 2009
Dear Parents: Thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to learn more about &/or share some of your experiences at Challenge Charter School. CCS was founded in 1996 by Superintendent, Greg Miller & Executive Director, Pam Miller, my parents. The Millers are still active in the leadership of CCS; and I am honored that they have chosen and support me in my new role as Principal. I am proud to have been working with CCS s outstanding team of educators since 1999. The team at CCS is passionate about putting kids first, offering an optimal educational environment, grounded in the fundamental skills of a hands-on, science-oriented, academic core curriculum. As Arizona s First Official Core Knowledge School our curriculum is integrated and sequential providing a challenging and differentiated learning environment also rich in history, character education, and technology. Recently, a few parents have commented on our testing culture. In response, I confirm that our students, of all backgrounds, consistently score 25 to 40% higher than the state average of both: all schools (~1700); and all charter schools (~485). This accomplishment is something our teachers, school community, parents, and especially students are proud of! So, yes, we do talk about it on campus; we empower and encourage our students to celebrate their achievements. Challenge is proud to offer many unique programs and services. Some of the opportunities at Challenge include: Extended-day Kindergarten, before & after school care, extracurricular classes during the school day (such as art, foreign language, PE, technology), Breakfast/lunch program, caring and highly qualified staff, parent/family nights, and a uniform policy. I encourage all interested parents to join us for one of our several Founders Tour & Informational Sessions this spring. At these tours, we discuss school policies & programs in detail and no question goes unanswered. Lots of information including tour dates is available on our webpage at www.challengecharterschool.net. Call our office today at 602-938-5411to sign up! Principal Wendy Miller
Dear CCS Parents, My two children have been at CCS for 5 years now. I could not be happier with the academics and the quality of the teachers. Yes, extra-curricular activities are scares, but we take advantage of whatever is available. On that note, please realize that CCS is grossly underfunded. If every parent took advantage of the tax credit -which is of no cost to you, but brings funds to the school - I am confident that the school's leadership would consider expanding Spanish, music, arts and more. The Millers really have the kids best interest at heart. To those who are unhappy with the new uniform policy ... I have to be honest, I was not thrilled with it either. I am now paying twice as much for uniforms than before. Please recognize that you have the option to send your children to your own district's public schools.
This is the 6th year our son has attended CCS. The academics and teachers are great. The extracurricular activities are pretty scarce. A music program was instituted this year, but now there's no foreign language offered. The computer club no longer exists, either. The facilities are kept in excellent condition. As for parental involvement, I have spent many hours in the classrooms volunteering. The parents are treated with respect. Because this school is privately owned, the administrators do call the shots. It does limit the say of parents. I'm not happy with the decision about the uniforms coming from one source, either, but we decided that the fine academics override the overpriced uniforms. The administrators have the best interests of our children at heart. My son loves it there and is thriving. He's getting a top-notch education with lots of encouragement, and it's all in a safe environment.
My kids have been attending CCS for the last 5 years and they have been very happy here. I have also been impressed with CCS for several reasons. Just a few months into Kindergarten and they are all reading, kids that I know from other schools were way behind them. They do presentations right from the start so they never learn to be anxious. The kids are also taught about character and as a parent that is very important to me. Every teacher that my kids have had have been great. I think that a uniform policy should have nothing to do with the way that a parent rates a school and all of the nasty reviews are just from people who are upset about that. I spent an extra $150 this year, my kids are worth it... JV
Challenge Charter school is a phenomenal school. My family has been a part of this school for 8 years and we love it. This year has been a year of change and nobody likes change. But when it comes down to what's important, oue kids are recieving a top-notch education at a school where the staff and administration take the time to get to know them and take an interest in the entire family. I look forward to this upcoming year and many years to come.
My children have been attending CCS for the past 5 years. The education is fabulous. The teachers are excellent!!!!Miss Owens is a fabulous Kindergarten teachers. My children have loved all their teachers and have been given an amazing start. This past year I have been fustrated with changes in the school. I don't think that with the status of our economy thast this is the time to create the this type of financial burden. If this was my only complaint I would gladly find the funds to pay more the $400 for 5 shirts and 5 bottoms for my two children, however I feel that the integrity of the schools leadership has been compomised. The school seems to be more concerned with winning awards than with the performance of the individual child. This leaves me questioning whether to re-enroll or not. Very sad!
Lastnight my 6 year old read a chapter book to me. I find this an amazing accomplishment considering a year and a half ago she did not read at all. Challenge really is a wonderful school with amazing teachers and I am so happy I was lucky enough to find it. That said, I am have to agree with most of the comments hear about the new uniform policy. I had already bought uniforms for next year when they were on clearnace, now I have to buy a whole other set at at least 3 times the price. I will do it because I love this school, but it's really going to hurt my budget. I feel for parents with mulitple children in the school. I'm sure many are in the same boat as me, make too much to qualify for free uniforms, but still barely getting by.
My oldest daughter had a wonderful experience and so far my middle child is thriving and excelling at CCS. I have never had any problems with the teachers, adhering to school policies, and the administration. As a single working mother of three, it saddens me to see that CCS has decided to finalize its decision with using one source for uniforms. While I completely understand what administration is trying to accomplish, the uniforms are far too expensive. Other parents have said that if their child was attending a public school, they would mostly likely spend the same amount of money. I beg to differ! In this day and age...with the country's economy declining, I find myself and many others being wiser and more frugal in all aspects of spending. There must be a better way! We should not have to sacrifice a good education due to expense. How sad
I have a daughter that attends Challenge and have to say that it is on of the best schools I have ever been involved with. The education that goes on in the classroom is second to none. My daughter is excited each time she gets to do a project for school. Challenge is more than an educational institution though. There are many things that the school has done for so many families that go unnoticed. My sister has a daughter who is at Challenge as well and has been sick recently. The school made sure to ask how she was doing and cared enough to find out how they could help out. Challenge is and incredible educational institution and has a staff and administration that cares about the students and their families. Thank you so much for all that you do for our families. It really does make a difference.
My children have been going to CCS for many years now, and we could not be happier!! The Miller's take a personal interest in every student that attents their school. And there have been times when money has been tight and the Miller's have given my children free uniforms and school supplies, without even blinking and eye!!! Not to mention the top notch education they are getting. My children are reading and writting at a much more advance level than their friends that attent other public, private, and charters schools. CCS could change the uniform policy every year and my children will always return because of the Miller's and the great education!! To everybody that does not like the new policy remember it is YOUR choice where your children go to school!!!! If you don't like it, go to a different school! I am sick of my children hearing you complain!
I love this school! It has done wonders for my child and her development.
I have to agree with those parents who are NOT thrilled with the new uniforms for the upcoming school year. I beg for the staff at CCS reconsider. How about a compromise...we'll buy the shirts you want, and the pants where we can find them cheaper. You have to remember we buy shorts for the begining of the year, pants a few months later and shorts again come March (because our kids have outgrown the ones from the before). I was unable to attend the SAC meeting last week to know what was said about this proposal but I don't see a problem with it. If the school can meet the parents half way I think there will be many less complaints. And to those parents who are giving a bad rating for the school overall based on the uniform change, shame on you! CCS is a great school!!
I consider it a privilege to have my daughter attend this school. The academics are top notch and the teachers/administration involved and caring. There is emphasis on citizenship and community involvement that I have not seen in other programs. I highly recommend this school. - Shawn Patterson
This is a wonderful school!! This is coming from a mom who has homeschooled for the past 5 years. This year I decided to have my two boys--(10 and 5) to go to 'regular' school. I was exhausted and my oldest refused to learn from me, he refused to read, write, and pay attention...and I'm not a dictator kind of mom :) What this school has given my family is the joy in learning new things, fulfilment, a safe environment, and a great way to meet other like-minded parents. My oldest, in the past 4 months has gotten a compassion award, and is reading way beyond what he was doing at home. They treat each child as unique and address each specific issue. Never once have I gotten the vibe that it all for 'test scores' but rather for my child!! Who could ask for a better place!?!
I agree with the parent who posted that this is bad timing to implement the new uniform policy. We are all struggling to make ends meet. This is not the time to ask us to spend more money on uniforms. Wait until the end of the recession or at least modify the policy, so that we will still be able to buy uniforms at a lower cost. It is my hope that they reconsider due to the financial impact it will have on so many.
We are thrilled with this school. This is a school of choice; you can and should choose another if you are not thrilled. Teaching how to test is part of all schools in America these days; so do not kid yourself. However, the teaching here is so much more. What about the discipline program that is consistant, and based on core virtues that are studied? How awsome! The core knowledge curriculum is outstanding; my childs knowledge of history, science, reading & math theory just in 1st grade is so far ahead of his peers. You can provide toys at home. And YOU should be teaching at home, supporting homework, and practicing the values. Elementary school prepares for a future where your child can choose what they learn, now they need the basics so they can make good choices later on!
If you only care about test scores then this is the school for you. Your child may not know how to read or write but will coached over and over for the AIMS and TerraNova tests so the school receives high ratings. Sad.
There is no doubt that the small size of the school, it's location, and enclosed campus, helped me feel comfortable initially sending my child to Challenge. I have to admit over the last two years, I have been disappointed. My child has 3 to 5 major tests every Friday. Teachers continually give practice AIMS tests. There is so much emphasis on tests that my daughter actually became ill during the TerraNova last year, because she said 'If I don't do well, I'm letting my school down.' I really think there is way too much emphasis on tests. And not enough emphasis in the 'joy' of learning.
This is my grandson's 2nd year at CCS. His parents and I are extremely happy with the teachers and the curriculum. My grandson enjoys school very much and is learning beyond our expectations. This truly is an excelling school in every way.
My daughter loves CCS and so do I!!! I have found the teachers to be caring and capable (but not coddling) and the new principal to be responsive and approachable. It is quite easy to go on a website and anonymously vent your frustrations - you can say whatever you want with no consequences! If you are unhappy with the teachers, leadership, and/or policy at CCS, you should withdraw your child and find another school that better suits them -there are A lot of children on the waiting list that would be thrilled to get the chance to attend CCS!
I am amazed at some of the recent reviews from parents. My daughter is in 6th grade and has been at CCS all her school life. My son is in 7th grade and spent K-6 at CCS. CCS provides positive reinforcement to children. Parents that want their children praised just for trying are raising wimps. In life, it is expected of you to try. You don't get rewarded for trying. If you are at a job, if you do not produce, you are gone. Failure is part of life, and children need to learn early this fact. The nurturing is provided at home. It is not the teacher's job to be the care taker/nurturing parent. The teacher is there to teach and start showing kids what they are going to be facing in real life. CCS teachers as a whole, do great!
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