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
This school follows the Core Knowledge curriculum, providing a well-rounded education. They also handled my 7 year old son, who is high in ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, with calm and consistent discipline. Unlike many schools, it provided bus transportation, provided the parent could get the child to the bus stop. Overall, a positive experience.
Awesome curriculum! My son got a better education at Challenge than anywhere we could have sent him. Accolades to the faculty and staff!!
Challenge Charter School uses an excellent curriculumn called Core Knowledge, where the children get more of a wholistic education (including geograph and history). It is also very well managed and professionally run. It is managed better than a number of for profit companies I know. The Millers ( who managed the school) have high ethical standards and really care about the well being of the children. The school teachers and staff are very responsive to the needs the children and the parents. On many occasions, I have written notes asking for clarity on a matter or an additional receipt and they readily respond. Not only are the academics great, but they also really embrace and kid for the children. Everyone (including the janitorial and the Before/After Care staff)at the school really cares about the well being of each and every child. That makes a big difference in a child's response to learning!
There are positive and negative qualities about this school. Positive: The VETERAN teachers at Challenge Charter School are outstanding. Negative: The teachers do not seem to be supported by their administration. Negative: There seems to be a high turnover rate among teachers. Positive: The Core Knowledge curriculum is fantastic for kids. Positive: The kids at the school are wonderful.
Kids learn a lot at this school. Good curriculum. Unfortunately there is a high teacher turnover - not sure why...?
Our daughter was enrolled in Challenge for Kindergarten and half of first grade. This is an EXCELLENT school and we very reluctantly transferred her (we moved further west and the commute was too long). Our daughter loved going to school at Challenge; she is pretty bright and her teachers were always supportive of her, encouraging her reading and math skills, and giving her extra homework if she wanted. If we ever had a concern or question the teachers and administration were accessible and willing to work with us. We were happy with the level of security at the school, and the kids seemed pretty well disciplined. We also liked the school's uniform and environmental policy (non-toxics used in cleaning and building materials, no perfume/cologne on campus). They offered plenty of extra-curricular activities. Parents were fairly involved, probably more so than the average school.
My daughter is excited about learning now and tells me about the cultures, literature, and science she is discovering, whereas her attitude before was basically, 'If they aren't letting me color and draw, then it's too hard.' She moves at her own pace and gets extra 'fun' (more difficult) activities in areas where she excels, and for every hole in her expensive private-school kindergarten education her teacher was more than willing to spend extra time with me and with her to get her caught up. Her entire attitude has completely reversed in terms of her willingness to work hard and meet the challenges she's given; instead of doing the bare minimum expected of her every day, she gets her required work done and begs for more. We are thrilled with the school and their willingness to go the extra mile for the kids, and feel lucky to have our children there.
Our daughter is enrolled in Kindergarten at Challenge Charter School. We did guite a bit of research on greatschools.org as well as talking to other parents of elementary school children before choosing Challenge Charter. Our daughter had gone to a full-day Montessori School for two years before kindergarten and was reading and doing math problems. So naturally we wanted a school that would challenge our daughter and we have not been disappointed. She gets one-on-one time with her teacher or a teacher aide to practice her reading and takes first grade math tests. We have recommended Challenge Charter to other parents and continue to do so. The Principal (Mr. Miller) really cares about the kids and it shows.
As a parent who is pursuing their Masters in Education I was very disappointed by this school despite their high scores. My child had five different teachers in one year. When my child entered the school her scores on the stanford nines were off the chart, she is now spending her next year at a new school getting back up to speed. Adjusting to so many different teachers in one year really put her at a disadvantage. My child is now attending a gifted program at her current school and thriving in reading, once again her love for learning has returned, she lost that love at Challenge Cahrter school. Pulling my child out of this school was the best decision I made regarding her education and future.
If you are looking for a school where all teachers are valued and have longetivity, this is not the school for you.
We are in our 5th year at CCS and have been extremely pleased. The education is well-rounded and the students are always encouraged to participate in any area beyond the 'normal' studies. Our oldest has gone from being shy and unsure of herself, to having the confidence to help younger students, create presentations for assemblies and give daily announcements. We truly feel the children come first and will leave the school with the necessary tools to continue higher education.
I have had both my kids enrolled at Challenge for five years now. I am distressed because I now have to look for a 7th grade. Of the 5 (Ms Cambra had my daughter twice and my son once. Ms. Steggie had my daughter and son)eduacators that have enriched these kids, I was only displeased with one. I am happy with the parent envolvment. I am thrilled with the monthly family nights. I feel that the school is focused scholastically and wants the kids to succeed. I like the Core Knowledge Curriculum, and really enjoy the science fairs and the opportunites to learn and grow.
I have been a student at Challenge for 5 years. I really like the teachers. They are kind, and they help out their students as much as possible. But, I do not like the schools clothing policies. I think they are too strict. My mom adores them. The socks can not be ackle socks. They have to be a certain height, and I believe that it is very rediculus. I have learned a ton at this school. I wish that they had more afordable extra curicular activities though.
The curriculum is wonderful! My son has been at Challenge Charter School since kindergarten. He's been tested gifted by the state of AZ. Although the school does not have a gifted program per se, he has been kept challenged throughout his school career there.
I think the school is great! I'm a student at Challenge and have learned a lot since kindergarten. I wish it went up to 7th and 8th grade like before.
When we moved to the area 5 yrs. ago I was concerned with finding a school that provided quality education. After weeks of searching, we decided to try Challenge Charter. I am happy to say this has been one of the best decisions we've made. The quality of education is excellent. The environment is great. The teachers are caring and are always willing to go that extra mile to help your child succeed. Parent involvement is encouraged and the safety and discipline of the children is a priority. Children are recognized monthly for their efforts in a school assembly. The principal and his staff are great, they truely understand what it takes to help children reach success. Their leadership and dedication is obvious and that is what makes Challenge Charter School such a great school.
As with any school, there are good and bad points. Students who tend to learn fast and easy will do really well. Students who may need a little more attention or help, will not do well. Special Education programs need to be revamped as they are not following state mandated rules. The curriculum is above average and the hands on approach really engages students to learn more. Some teachers know the priority is on teaching and communication with parents, some are more worried about socks, hair color, and food brought on campus. Discipline is enforced, this is wonderful! Need extracurricular activities everyone can attend as not everyone can afford what little they do offer.
Challenge has been the most positive experience of my childrens education to date. I have 3 children who have gone to challenge one of my kids was very behind when she started challenge and caught up 3 yrs. worth of learning in 1 year. She never felt stressed out either, always positive.
Challenge Charter School is by far the best elementary school in Arizona! The teachers are outstanding and Mr. & Mrs. Miller (co-founders) are amazing with the students and running the school. My child is learning things I didn't know until high school. I recommend this school to any parent who is interested in providing their child with the best education Arizona can offer. You won't regret it.
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