I have a middle schooler at this school and I am extremely satisfied. Small classes, very rigorous academic curriculum, Students that have good morals and standards of behavior. The teachers care, assignments are hard, but that is what you would expect from a good private school. It is out of the way, but it is one of the best middle schools in the Bay Area.
I have spent the first 2.5 years of my child's life searching for a place to put her during the day but, was not satisfied with the level of service until I came across Challenger. I waited till she was 3 and placed her in the preschool program at this location. When she turned 4, first day of school there was a complete change in the administrative staff to where I knew no one, the teacher in the classroom also changed. No forewarning, no announcement. The 'deal with it' attitude has been progressively present with the new headmaster. There is no transparency. When my daughter started Kindergarten, again there was a change in staff. so you will always be disappointed from the excitement that a teacher you know your child will love and look forward to having will not be there. Isn't that what makes the successful child, a great teacher? I have not gotten that since she was 3. Academically, you can go to any campus and they have the exact same cirriculum across the board. When there is nepotism, and unfairness it is something that parents should not tolerate. I have moved my child to Harwood campus eventually moving her out of the Challenger system all together.
We moved our child out from a highly regarded public school (Williams) to Challenger. What a huge difference! Challenger provides a much better teacher-to-student ratio, teachers who provide positive encouragement to the students and supportive administration. My child is making leaps and bounds in studies at Challenger. Finally, we are saving our sanity because we can finally get rid of the constant bombardment of volunteer and funding requests from the public school.
We've had a tremendously positive experience with Challenger Almaden. The class sizes, family feel, teachers, administration and extended care staff couldn't be better. Initially I was concerned that this school would be purely academic. I was wrong - my 1st grader couldn't be happier with the music, speech and art program. I recommend this school to anyone that will listen. No, parents don't have daily in class involvement. But, I feel that parental involvement inside the class room can just as well be a hinderance rather than a help. I know that the teacher, principal and staff are very open to communication and will let me know if anything is amiss with either of my girls.
We recently put our children in Challenger and so far the dedication by the staff and headmistress has been outstanding. They have helped acclimate our children to the Challenger curriculum with extra support. Our children have made significant progress academically with the Challenger curriculum and I feel confident they will continue to progress. We were previously at a very highly regarded public school and another private school and were very concerned about their core reading and basic math skills. But now we feel confident that they are on track to perform well.
We have been at this school for the last 8 years. Last year has seen a significant change for the better. The new middle school teachers are exceptional. They were willing to mentor the kids even if this was outside of the normal school time. The educational standard is fantastic. Kids from last year were addmitted to all prestigious schools in bay area: Harker, bellarmine, mitty, Saint francis, presentation, Valley and not only that but they got into Algebra 2, Honors for English and History... One of the strong points of this school is to teach the children to be independent. and this means educating the kid to take his homework home, to speak for himself at school, to not be afraid to speak in front of others.Our kids have achieved that. Do not be discouraged by the smaller class sizes. It is a benefit that there is more time for the teachers to pay attention to your kid. We considered leaving the school last year but since the new principal and group of teachers joined the school we are very happy with the direction this school is going. I wish the school would spend more effort publicizing the great academic results they are getting. Btw 5th grade teacher is fantastic!
I have had a son and daughter at this school, we have been there for about the last 7 years. Over that time the school has really gone down hill. Too much corporate interference has changed a fun exciting school into the sad place it is today. Many parents obviously feel the same way as the number of children at this school has plummeted. For us the final straw came when all the middle school teachers left last year and I was one of 9 parents to withdraw my child. My child was in a class of 11, there are now 2 children in 7 th grade at this Challenger. We moved to Stratford, San Jose Middle School and WOW! what an improvement, I cannot praise Stratford enough - I wish we had moved sooner. I have one child left at Challenger, in 5th grade, the teacher is not great and I was very concerned. Unfortunately I was right to worry and now I just can't wait until we can leave. There are some great teachers at Challenger ( 3rd & 4th) and some very poor ones, as there is only one class per year it makes a huge difference. The new principle is doing her best, but the damage has already been done and it will take a while before things improve.
My kid has been here for 7 years. If you read past reviews across campuses, Challenger went through some changes in the past few years, driven by Corporate and not well received (or even well communicated). We stuck it out (after checking out public school and other privates) because we believe the curriculum is excellent, and at our campus, our child has had excellent teachers. This year, we have a new principal (aka headmaster) who is NOT new to Challenger. She is well organized and works hard to ensure that parents and the children are happy and that kids are successful. She is responsive to all my questions. She doesn't come across as warm and fuzzy, but she can manage the school well. Administratively, changes have been positive and rules made by Corporate in previous years seemed to have lightened up. Challenger provides a solid academic education. Each campus has a different feel...this one is small and has more of a family feel to it with all the kids and teachers knowing each other. I gave "parent involvement" 1 star only because there isn't really volunteer opportunity - but as a working parent, that works for me.
The school administration does not care about parents' ideas or concerns. This past school year, the two second grade classes were merged into one (about 27 students). Also, the two third grade classes were merged into one (about 29 students). The merging of classes was done without informing parents of the change. This is only a small example of the many changes that the school administration implements without informing parents. This school truly has a take-it or leave-it mentality.
The school is pretty good and all, it has good academics and great P.E. and art programs, but the music programs don't allow children to show their acting ability, just singing. Also, many awards (especially Scholarships) are given out based on favoritism, which is how the school is based. But, this school has good teachers and a great academic program!
Teachers either didn't teach or just gave the students recess. Come test day, all the students failed and the teachers would yell at us as to how we could have failed when the teacher 'spent so much time teaching' us. The management was quite rood, and students whose parents complained were treated harshly (grades lowered for no reason, etc.). Bias is very blatant, and socially the students are horrible. Students put down each other based on 'popularity' and even the teachers seem to play along. Overall it is a total waste of money. I came into high school completely unprepared.
My sons have been going here for several years. i believe that they have both benefitted tremendously from their exprience at Challenger. Sure, the school has high expectations, but why waste time at a school that does not? I wanted my children to be prepared for the world out there, and the school has definitely met that expectation. The children are confident and enjoy their work, their teachers are great, and they have had fun while learning.
This school is fantastic. I have four children here, and they all have great teachers, and they are all very highly motivated by the approach.
I love this school, specially their preschool program. All three of my kids went there, I wouldn't sent them any place else to get a real education. Challenger takes students, education and fun seriously.
I know Challenger may not have the best teachers, (public schools have credentials for their teachers to meet) and that has been a huge problem. Once the new campuses like Harwood and Shawnee get settled, they'll start coming up with new teachers. Our beloved Mrs. Hamstra left us. I know Challenger is probably the safest school around. In my opinion, it's just a matter of how hard they push and not the teachers. Although Challenger pushes a little too much, it makes it a hell of a lot easier in high school. I think it's worth keeping your child in for the rest of middle school.
Our daughter is in Pre-K at Almaden and will be starting K in fall 07. We could not be more pleased. We compared Williams and Graystone (via class visits, tours, research, etc) before making this decision. We are pleased that the majority of students are of color and that the level of graduate education amongst parents is very high. These were two key variables that factored into our decision. If your child is focused, likes structure and you expect them to excel academically, then this school is for you.
the academics are good,with a well rounded art,music and sports program available year round.parent involvement depends on the individual teachers.
This is definitely a great school! They really take care of the academics and in my opinion that's most critical part for any child during this development stage. I will sincerely recommend this school.
Both of my children have been going to Challenger since they were 3 years old. They love it. They are in first grade now and the academic load is really noticable for my child that works slowly. However, for my faster worker, the homework is no problem. I really love that they focus on academics and don't waste time with any political or social programs. They do, however, instill a sense of patriotism and kindness to others through songs and reading material. They also study art, computers, music and afterschool programs. The atmosphere at school is friendly, but strict. Every day when I drop them off, they are greeted by name with a hug from a teacher. They are not allowed to talk while eating lunch. Lots of drills with fun music. They always come home happy--but exhausted.
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