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Challenger - Shawnee

Private | K-8 | 347 students

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Living in San Jose

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $350,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,950.

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

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Posted March 9, 2013

Our daughter attended the pre-K at this campus. The academic program was strong but they teach zero social skills (which is arguably as important as academics at that early age). There is no communication between teachers/parents at all. It's felt like this was a NSA/CIA facility. It was very frustrating, as they just keep you in a dark (we even sent notes to teacher trying to get some communication going). Kids might get great test scores, no argument there, but I don't want my kids to grow up weirdo robots ;) Teachers make no effort to help get kids more involved and play together - they seem to only care about academics (I can understand this for middle/high, but for PK this is ridiculous!). Parent participation is not allowed and they walk each child separately from/to car before/after school so you have to make extra effort to get to know the parents and organize afterschool activities if you want your kid to have any friends. It's run like a business not school. Only thing they were interested discussing with us was about when our younger kid would join the school, instead of about our kid who was already attending. One star for PK. Higher grades are probably not as bad.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 22, 2012

This school has been going downhill! My daughter attended for PS & PK which was good even though parent involvement was not great. We were not allowed to participate. However, I was willing to overlook all this & registered my son for his PS experience. Not only did the office neglect to inform me of a change in policy (uniforms required for preschoolers) but they were sending communications to my sister who was listed as an emergency contact. I discovered the uniform policy a week before school started since I learned I forgot to mail my son's physician form. You can imagine my shock & when I requested a refund for poor information disclosed of a major change in policy, I was informed I could not get my refund which also included tuition that my son never even attended. A poorly run school. They should rename the school from Challenger to "A Challenged" school. Obviously the school is more interested in trying to wheezle money from hard working parents than to do the right thing when they clearly goofed. I normally do not write reviews but I want to warn other parents from dealing with this. If you want a caring staff try Stratford..what a is like night and day!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 18, 2012

This is the third year my daughter is going to this school, and she will be in 2nd grade this year. It is very well structured, the material is advanced compared to other schools. Kids are involved in a lot of programs and parents are notifed weeks in advanced. Teachers are always available to talk to. Been very happy with the school, as far as overall organization. Keep up the excellent work.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 8, 2012

My experience with Challenger for 4 yrs. I noticed, the way they are running the school was not appreciable. There is no Teacher and Parent involvement. They try to avoid meeting parents even if you insist. They have young authors award, speech contest, merit award... these also happen without letting the parents know. The winners' parents are ONLY invited for the award ceremony. They don't invite other parents to avoid the consequences. This school is VERY SECRETIVE. The current teachers who my kid had for this year were bad. They literally yell and scream at the kids. Are they running a slavery?? The words they are using are so harsh. The teachers don't have the capability to handle 20 kids in a class.very bad, All the parents know what's happening in the school, but they don't come forward to complain to the management just because the teachers pick on the kids. Lots of kids in my child's class are examples. Challenger should understand that the school is running just because of the wonderful parents. What If they pull out the kids from the school? try to be open with parents. stay positive with kids. do not bring their self esteem down. They are the future America!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 11, 2011

Why are so many parents withdrawing from Shawnee? Too many parents have opted out of this campus and have either moved to a different Challenger campus or to a different school. We have been with the school for 7 years and have seen a gradual decline in its teaching quality. The dwindling count of good, experienced teachers is sadly alarming, especially in the higher grades. The Principal (aka Headmaster) is extremely diffident and lacks the skill sets to bring any positive changes. We stuck around for a long time hoping to see things turn around for the better. But with a looming middle school ahead, we finally took the plunge and have moved to a different campus this year. I hope the administrators put their acts together before it is too late!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 17, 2010

This is great school. I have not had any negative experiences so far. My 4 year old son has learnt how to read upto 5 letter words and is writing well. The school has very high standards which is very good in my opinion. The only very minor issue I have is that they donot offer half day classes. The teachers have been awesome. They are fun and energetic.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 28, 2010

This is a great school if you want to push your kid. No field trip ever, kids need to have fun sometimes. My kid has a hard time at school and then come to homework, it is just too overwhelming. I ask my kids if they wanted out, of course they said yes.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 20, 2009

Challenger kids score over 90 percentile in SAT. In some cases over 95. In California where schools are worst in the nation, we need Challenger to compete at national level without paying 1 million dollars to be in Cupertino or Fremont. Challenger should however must make attempt to address the concerns raised by other reviewers. I hope they are listening.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 8, 2009

My daughter went to Challenger for 7 years and we were happy with the academics taught there. Very high standards. Now my son is there in Pre-K and needless to say we are definitely not keeping him there! The best teachers have quit or laid off and the management doesn't care about retaining them. Their attitude is take-it-or-leave it. And we're leaving! I would NOT recommend Challenger to anyone and believe me, we loved it at one time. I am now looking at other schools and hope my son doesn't have to endure any more of challenger.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 19, 2008

This is not specific to this campus. It applies in general (I have friends from other campuses). I have two kids here, and I simply wish we had other choices. The Challenger System seems to be purely based on profit, and don't care about their customers' feedback. The attitude is like take it or leave it. They will change programs at will w/o informing parents. If parents want to raise concerns, they are only allowed to speak 1:1 and not as a group. Group gathering of parents are referred to as 'mobs' by the school management. It is pretty sad situation in how they treat the parents, and teachers. Also, there is high teacher turn-over. The best teachers leave very fast. One of my kids is top in her class from pre-k, so she ends up with top teachers for each year - but they all end up leaving..
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 4, 2007

Here are the facts: No free dress day except the last day of school. Winter and Spring Program are performed during class' music hour (30 minutes, then children are back to class for the next lesson) and children are still required to wear school uniform. Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, birthday parties... are non-existent because the school does not allow student/parent to bring food nor gifts to share with classmates. Middle School Dances are conducted during lunch time. No field trips. Every activities are conducted during school hours. School seem to shun parental involvement in school, but be prepare to get VERY involved in child's homework. Teachers, though may lack experience, have high academic expectations. Why pay tuition when you ended up home schooling your child or having to pay for a tutor after school?
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 20, 2007

Although I loved the high expectations and the strong curriculums Challenger had provided, Challenger's inability to retain quality teachers is changing my view. The new teachers are unable to deliver the strong curriculum. After 7+ years with Challenger, I am pulling 3 of my kids out.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 17, 2007

Challenger started out with lofty goals. They always have had trouble keeping good teachers. The turnover is outrageous. The students aren't proud to be here. In my seven years with Challenger, I have only seen good teachers leave. Any school is made up of motivated teachers and the management has a very hard time understanding that at Challenger. I would not want my child to continue here.
—Submitted by a former student

Posted March 30, 2007

Academics are high, but lack of science lab in middle school. Strict discipline. Zero parental involvement. Lack of caring and no sharing is allowed. Stunt the spirit and the creativity of a child.
—Submitted by a student

Posted March 23, 2007

I have 2 kids in elementary. They have always loved Challenger until last year and this year. Challenger has changed for the worse. Teachers here seem to come and go so often, chances are you won't be seing the same one next year either. Strict military style discipline that will demoralize any child.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 18, 2006

Very happy with Challenger. Will continue in Challenger in elementary & beyond.
—Submitted by a parent

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500 Shawnee Lane
San Jose, CA 95123
Website: Click here
Phone: (408) 365-9298


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