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Challenger - Strawberry Park

Private | K-8 | 504 students

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Living in San Jose

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $794,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,650.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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19 reviews of this school

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Posted June 7, 2014

You may think that this school is tough, but think of all the great things your child will be able to learn and do after all the experience of reports and tests. Also, your child will have better concentration. I know, for I am a student there. The school also has great teacher, and the headmaster, Mr. Schiffner, is excellent. I am positive that your child would be able to be as happy as I am at this very safe and fun school!

Posted October 15, 2013

A very demanding school with unrealistic expectations. I liked their pre-K and K programs. However, I've been very disappointed with their 1st grade. They have about 6 - 7 tests every week. With a teacher to student ratio of 1:26 or 1:28 (corporate policy), they can hardly expect the kids to get much attention from the teacher. So, a parent has to spend 1.5 - 2 hours per day after school to prepare the kids. Science and Geography requirements for a first grader are ridiculous. Sample questions from tests conducted in the first month of school: Geography- What is a popular industry in California? Answer - Computer Services. Your first grader needs to write this out and explain why this is a popular industry. Science: What is weathering? What is erosion ? How can you prevent erosion ? These are not multiple choice questions; Your 6-yr old to write out 3-4 line answers. Unless you are a parent who wants to dedicate 10 hours a week of after school tutoring, I wouldn't recommend this school. The fun part of education is lost... testing is rigorous and a parent has to sign off on academic progress reports if the child scores below 75%. I don't think any 6-year old deserves this.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 2, 2013

Excellent school! The curriculum is demanding and well balanced. The Kindergarden program builds a strong base for reading, math and science skills. The teachers are passionate about teaching so that kids actually learn and understanding the concepts they are studying. The higher grades are great as well. This school requires plenty of homework and additional special assignment. The program is accelerated, so this is a great school for children, who are highly motivated and looking for getting challenged learn. The School also puts effort on arts and music teaching as well as promotes creative writing. We have new principles and they are highly professional as well as friendly.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 22, 2013

My daughter has now been attending challenger since Pre-School. She has been at this campus for one year and we are going back next year, I love the staff, the teachers and the school we have seen nothing but great results, Yes there is homework and lots of test but she is in First Grade and loving it, She actually wants to go back next year. I think you should talk to parents at the school to see what they say!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 15, 2012

Very rigid management techniques with the belief that the school is always right. The teachers and management do not follow the very principles of honesty and integrity they are trying to teach the students. Baring the few dedicated teachers most are dictators and use intimidation techniques to control the classroom and the management backs them up. The school seems to have the policy of overloading the students with homework, tests(average of 6 per week) and book reports(2 per month) with no emphasis on the all round development of the child. Highest rate of students leaving mid way because they did not make the 75% for their so called academic standard. Definitely not a school if you want you child to be a well rounded and successful adult!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 25, 2011

Horrible Headmaster - Julie Blackwell In the very same handout that bears her name, it asks parents "Please be patient the first week of school as parents new to Challenger learn the routine". Yet, on the third day of a new school year, she is heard outside at the drop-off area, yelling at and demanding pre-K parents that only drive-through is allowed. She is simply being unreasonable about parents' unknowing mistake of wanting to walk their kids to class and maybe have a quick chat with the teachers to make sure everything is OK. Did I indicate that these are pre-K parents who are sending their kids off the very first time? She may be successful, but so is DSK (Dominique Strauss-Kahn) - head of IMF. Challenger may be strong academically, however, it fails to teach kids moral value and common decency. As an educator and example to the kids, her behavior is shameful.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 25, 2011

Please don't send your kid here. This is a terrible school for preschoolers. They have strict schedule for teachers to follow. It is more like an army-camp than a school. Creativity is not appreciated here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 20, 2010

Terrible preschool teachers. They don't care about the childs needs. Can't understand how preschoolers think. They've got a f**ng schedule to follow and thats all that matters. Dealing with preschoolers requires a level of maturity which they don't even recognize.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 2, 2010

If all you care is about academic, then this is the school for you. I sent my daughter to this school and one day i got a phone call from school to pick her up because she was not learning in the class. This really confuses me... I was not sure why i am paying expensive tuition to the school and i have to worry about she is not learning. This is suppose to be teachers' job to encourage and stimulate the kids' learning at school!. The reason i got was that her slower study will affect progress of other kids. This really shock me how this school is ran. I raised this issue to the school master and got ignored. I withdraw her from this school at the same day and register at local public school where she is happier and learning more than ever. This is a terrible.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 23, 2010

Good neighborhood, preschool program is great, administration and middle school not so much. As a preschool, a good, if expensive, choice.

Posted March 1, 2010

Challenger School has a wonderful preschool program. My daughter is having fun learning there every day. She is one of the first students to come to school and does not want to leave at the end of the day. She has learned many things there: insects, space, dinosaurs. She reads and writes with joy. There are plenty of opportunities for her to show her creativity, she brings art projects home every day. Teachers are nice and friendly. Challenger school provides their own training for their teachers and they teach according to Challenger philosophy.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 21, 2009

Where do I begin? Some teachers are very friendly and fun to be with, but most are rude and strict. My kindergarden son is scared of both his teachers. That is not the relationship I want to see developing between him and his teachers. My son, after 1 year, is no longer going there. It is more of a one-way teaching from teachers to students. My son, who loves to ask questions at home, rarely gets to question at school. I feel sad watching him doing math and reading all day in classroom.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 7, 2009

I had my kids in this school for seven years. They probably are more senior than any faculty in the school! Highest turnover of teachers and staff, some leaving mid way through the school year. Very rigid management style. Do not take any inputs from parents or students. Seem to have a philosophy that overloading the kids with assignments and homework is an acceptable alternative to classroom teaching.

Posted March 3, 2009

The teachers are not well trained, the management ( espeically the Director) doesn't take feedback from parents (instead they penalize folks who give feedback). Overall we are quite unhappy and going to remove our over-achieving kid from this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 24, 2009

In-experienced teachers. High turnover. No speciality teaching. Very rigid/rude administration who doesn't like to take any feedback. Don't know how to truly challenge/motivate kids who are well ahead of the curve.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 31, 2008

Most of the teachers in Pre-school and Pre-K lack the basic knowledge of how to deal with children. They treat and expect the kids to be puppets with no personalities .... Some of the teachers are very rude to the parents and to the students. Management is not good at taking feedback from parents and making changes or correcting the teachers. Please avoid this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 19, 2007

Great staff! Leadership and curriculum does not allow for freedom of expression for the students and parents. My kid is of pre-school age and I felt that the school program and policies does not encourage development of creative thinking. It's a good place to learn reading and counting but I was expecting the curriculum to encourage right brain development as well. For example, the art artifacts are usually copies of what the teacher examples. Leadership also does not encourage flexibility in curriculum. For example, for Halloween, the school had only 1 activity and there was no alternative for children who did not want to participate. It's a popular school but I am seriously thinking of taking my child out of that environment.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 2, 2007

My daughter went to this school. By 4th and 5th grade the curriculum levels at par with public schools. Attitude of principal is bad. Teachers offload responsibility to parents if kids are not doing well. Does not inspire self-learning. You are better off sending your kids to good public schools.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 22, 2007

My kids go to preschool and I am happy with their program
—Submitted by a parent

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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. Aaron Schiffner
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
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730 Camina Escuela
San Jose, CA 95129
Phone: (408) 213-0083


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