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San Jose, CA
Students enrolled: 198
Before care: Yes
After care: Yes

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4949 Harwood Road
San Jose, CA 95124

School website
(408) 723-0111
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Map of Challenger - Harwood address.

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September 10, 2014
I am so thankful for everything that my daughter learned at Challenger School at the Harwood campus. My daughter loved going to school every day, and I attributed that to her caring teachers. Her first grade teacher helped my daughter to develop a strong sense of independence and responsibility. For instance, my daughter does not like to getting up in the morning. It was a struggle to get her out of bed, dressed, and fed in time to leave. As the school year progressed, she was dressing herself and making her own breakfast by December. My daughter also has shown some amazing responsibility. We bought her a fish. She continues to care for him. I credit her independence and responsibility to her education at Challenger School. Academically, I know that a lot of people feel that Challenger School is all about math, grammar and science, but my daughter also enjoyed writing, singing, and music. My daughter was singing her Spring Program songs every night as we drove home. Socially, I watched her develop great friendships last year. She also learned to deal with interpersonal conflicts with maturity and confidence. Simply put, I love Challenger School.

- submitted by a parent
October 08, 2013
My child has been attending Challenger since the beginning of the year and I have seen a great improvement in her ability to speak, convey messages but particularly her critical thinking process. I know this progress is a culmination of the standard practices and curriculum from Challenger. The staff is friendly, the school is impeccably clean. I look forward to sending my 2nd child there as soon as she is of age!!

- submitted by a parent
April 12, 2013
My daughter attends the preschool program at Harwood and she LOVES it! I can't believe how much she's learned in such a short period of time. When I pick her up, she always tells me that she wants to stay. When it's the weekend, she begs me to take her to school. No matter what time of the day I enter her class, I hear music and see happy children. Yes, this school teaches phonics and math as early as 3 years old but that really doesn't matter to me. My child is safe, happy and well-cared for when she's at school which is great because when I drop her off, I need to have peace of mind. If I don't have peace of mind when I drop off, what's the point of sending her to school? I might as well take care of her myself. I also like that the demographics of the students at this campus because it is so diverse. I only wished Challenger offered programs to younger children because I have a son who is ready to go but is still too young to attend.

- submitted by a parent
September 30, 2012
Fifth grade for my child has been going really great so far. I was horrified to read about everything that went on in the fifth grade class last year. I was almost going to withdraw my child out. On visor card day, we were really happy to find out that one of the most respected teacher will be my child's teacher in fifth grade this year. This teacher is knowledgable, kind, dedicated and very organized. She even called me to discuss my child's progress on a weekend. My child is loving school because of her. I am glad that Challenger takes parents' concerns and act on them.

- submitted by a parent
May 27, 2012
I can't believe it but my kid has SEVEN TESTS this week in grade 5!. All subjects in TWO day!. Homework load is unbelievable! TWENTY TWO PAGES math weekend homework last Friday! We canceled holiday plans.

- submitted by a parent
May 25, 2012
Our kids and many family members have been at Challenger School for many years. We love Challenger School but have seen its decline through the years. We've stayed on despite a large exodus of its student body a few years ago. Many experienced teachers have left and there are only basically a handful of experienced quality teachers remaining : second and third grades. Some newer teachers are young, inexperienced, disorganized and awful : third and fifth. We also heard that Challenger does not work hard at retaining their experienced teachers, resulting in the loss of enrolment each year. Admin is poor and does not seem to monitor progress well. After all they are not teachers. We are seriously considering leaving if things do not improve.

- submitted by a parent
April 28, 2012
Why is the spring program such a big deal at challenger? for the past 2 weeks my son's 5th grade class has been spending almost half a day each school day practising instead of studying. the academics is being neglected. my friends from another campus said that their 5th grade son is far ahead of where my son is for almost all subjects. isn't academics most important at challenger school?

- submitted by a parent
April 01, 2012
I agree that the Harwood Challenger School is a good one. My kid has been there for many years and we've had no problems with the school. I also understand the grievances the parent who suggested leaving after 4th has. To add to the review, that afore-mentioned teacher is frequently late for class and late to return tests. I can bet that many bad reviews I've read here must have been about her because otherwise Harwood is a great school to put your kid in. They just need to be more proactive in replacing the bad apples..

- submitted by a parent
March 29, 2012
My daughter is fairly new to the school and in the K program. She came in mid-year and so far, we are very pleased with the school. I would say that initially, the process of understanding some of the administrative things was a little unclear, but after I went to the office myself for clarification, I've found communication much better. Academically my daughter has excelled since she has been there, learned a lot of new concepts, and enjoys all aspects. She has 2 teachers and she enjoys them both very much. I've found them to be very organized and the homework has seemed very reasonable for this age. My daughter partcipates in the extended care program. She does Soccer, Softball and Drama and gets homework done every day there. I read some of the reviews about being too academic, and initially we shyed away from that type of school but it seems that the way Challenger teaches so far, has made learning fun. The expectations are clear and the rewards are for accomplishments. My daughter made friends quickly which I was concerned about joining mid-year. Who knows what the next years hold, but for now, we are happy.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2012
Without a doubt this is the best Challenger School campus but the worst fifth grade. Start at pre-school to fourth grade for their wonderful teachers and then leave. This is my advice.

- submitted by a parent
February 11, 2012
I am frustrated and compelled to write. My child had a test on every single subject this week: math, science, history, logic, literature, spelling, vocabulary, poem. Next week barely any test. This is not the first time. Doesn't the teacher have any sense? Why can't tests be staggered? We like the academics at Challenger School but this is insane.

- submitted by a parent
February 10, 2012
great school with great academics. my children have learnt so much. no problems with this challenger school. best year this year, third. experienced organized fun teacher.

- submitted by a parent
February 10, 2012
We love Challenger School. We love our child's teacher and we have her two years in a row. Hopefully next year again and again.

- submitted by a parent
February 06, 2012
The Best 4th Grade Teacher!!! We have two children at Challenger and have always been happy, but this year has been fantastic! Ms. Plasencia has really helped our daughter build her confidence. She is constantly happy and excited to tell us things that we went on in class. I highly recommend this campus.

- submitted by a parent
January 15, 2012
facility - great, front desk - average, admin - good, teachers - mixed bunch but mostly good, students - polite, well-behaved The preschool program is the best around, teaching kids to read at 3-4 yrs, elementary is good depending on who you get. I agree that they do not try harder to keep good teachers so it's your luck which teacher your child gets. Mine got a teacher who is disorganized, does not return tests until a month later, skips lessons and subjects. Lots of teaching at home because teacher does not teach properly. Past years were fine but this year is not. Depends who you get. Checking out middle school options. I welcome suggestions.

- submitted by a parent
October 27, 2011
We thought the same way 15mins a day is not a big deal. Please wait till your kid reaches 2nd and 3rd grade. We were of the same opinion that academics are good. The catch is parents do all the work day over day pretty much on every subject!

- submitted by a parent
October 12, 2011
One star goes to the academic. My child had learned a lot within a few weeks in this school. However this school totally ignores safety and bully behaviors. My child had two accidents of head injuries within 5 weeks in this school. It doesn't seem anyone in this school cares about the way kids play and the safety in the playground. I suspect my child was not the only having accidents often giving the way the teachers and the preschool director handled it. They told me it was not a big deal and kids always have accidents. My child never had accidents in other schools he has been. Another problem with this school is the bully behavior. It might sound strange that bully happens in the preschool classroom. Kids were hitting each other while shouting out 'I am the bad guy'. My boy used to be a kind and shy boy but quickly became aggressive after attending this school. On the way back from this school he said 'cut my fingers, cut my hands' in the car . I have asked a few teachers and parents about it. They told me the bad guy game had being played for almost a year. I am very disappointed by the ignorance of this school about this bully and violent language culture.

- submitted by a parent
July 21, 2011
i am a current challenger student who just finished 7th grade. harwood's middle school is great or was great. after i found out that 2 of the 3 main middle school teachers quit and are being replaced by not qualified teachers im not sure. the hist, lit, and econ teacher is absolutely amazing. the math and science teacher is good but is leaving. the teacher replacing her is terrible. the grammar, comp, logic, and speech teacher was unprepared but is leaving. music teacher : A+ ; computer teacher : B+ (not very clear at times and moves along too fast); pe teacher: A- ( not too many sports but makes us run a lot, not very controlling) ; art teacher :A++++ (but is leaving); facilities : A++ the headmaster is kind of strict and unprepared (the last day of school field day was a messs thanks to her) incoming 6th grade : mostly guys, goofy , unproffesional, focused on sports, like to joke, not mean, immature guys incoming 7th grade : only 3 girls in a class of 11 i think, similar to 6th grade, very immature but sometimes funny incouming 8th grade : a class of 9 girls,mostly nice kids, 1 really really bossy girl, 2 extreme geniuses, rest are pretty smart, have a few intense drama scenes

- submitted by a community member
February 22, 2011
My son has been attending for three years now and his growth is nothing short of astounding. He is 5 years old and is reading short stories meant for second and third graders. While I love his listening to him read his favorite subject is art. They combine science lessons with art in his class so he has brought home art projects about the solar system, plant growth, light and rainbows, and germs. One point that needed improvement when we began was extra curricular activities. Three years ago they had almost nothing. Parents voiced their concerns and they apparently got the point. My son is enrolled in soccer. I have also seen signs for basketball, softball, Spanish, gymnastics, and martial arts. I think they have more than that but I am not sure. Anyway, that was my number one complaint before but they seem to be fixing it. I am very happy with the school. WARNING: I have seen complaints about academics being too hard. Academics are the focus and very rigorous. If you don't like rigorous academics this school is not for you. In Kinder, my son does 15 min. math homework every night, then we read for at least 15 min. I enjoy it, but for some parents they consider that too much.

- submitted by a parent
February 22, 2011
My son attended preschool through 2nd grade before I was transferred out of state. I find myself missing Challenger and have requested a transfer back as soon as possible. The education that my son received is truly priceless. He hasn't learned anything since leaving Challenger. He misses, not only Challenger, but his wonderful teachers at the Harwood Campus as well. I would (and have) recommend this school to my friends!

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2011
I love that I have found such a great school for my daughter! I visited several Challenger schools, and they all seemed nice...but the Harwood campus is the place to go! The campus is just beautiful-the rooms, the landscaping, and the view. The office is friendly and responsive, and the classes are VERY diverse! There is a great mix if Asian, Indian, Caucasian, African-American...even students from around the world like Russia, Holland, etc. My daughter is learning so much, making tons of friends, and having a blast!

- submitted by a parent
October 21, 2009
The school focuses on academics and nothing else- children have no flexibility and the atmosphere is very rigid and inflexible. No extracurricular activities and school does not encourage parent involvemnt or input. Would not recommned it to anyone.

- submitted by a parent
June 06, 2009
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
June 02, 2009
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
April 15, 2009
I believe that teachers are not certified and curriculum is too strict, rigid and does not allow for creative children to flourish.

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2009
Teachers aren't qualified & there are better public schools out there. They are very poor with math. I would not recommend this school for any grades above 1st.

- submitted by a parent
October 14, 2008
My son has been going to Challenger for the past two years and we love it. The curriculum is excellent and the children are very well informed about science, math, geography, literature, etc. My one concern is extra curricular activities such as PE and art. Students have to enroll in extra classes for soccer, art and piano classes.

- submitted by a parent
September 22, 2008
Challenger school is good academically. But they are very poor in extra curricular activities. No speciality teachers for PE, music, ART etc... Many teachers are not well qualified. very poor English accent. If your kid gets good teacher you are lucky!

- submitted by a parent
July 31, 2007
This school is wonderful. My son has attended preschool here for two years. He can read small books, his math and science are excellent. Challenger is a leap ahead of other schools. The development of children is a high priority at Challenger. I have had only great experiences. *Note - this is a private school *

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2007
My kid is going to this school as preschooler since she was 2 yr.9 mo. She loves it.. She has made many friends over there and does not stop talking about how much fun she has at school.. Now she want to go for 3 days a week from 2 days a week..

- submitted by a parent
September 27, 2006
In Kindergarten: PROS: Music daily, science, art, logic, geography every week. Kids reading by first week- very academically challenging. Very diverse. Teachers are kind and professional and seem interested in the individual child and teaching them to be good citizens. Bi-weekly assemblies with whole school. CONS: Academically 'challenging'- perhaps overly so. Supported by parents who value that. They SAT test Kindergarteners! The administration is very rigid. The admin postion is one of 'letting' you be there rather than appreciating you have entrusted your child to them. Allow no parent involvement on campus but expect alot at home. Use really rude and inefficient uniform company. Conclusion: Wonderful teachers, great Saxon math, music, phonics. Very demanding. Admin not glad you are there. Teach good citizenry and independence. Teachers responsive to parents.

- submitted by a parent
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Challenger - Harwood
4949 Harwood Road, San Jose, CA  95124
(408) 723-0111
Last modified Challenger - Harwood is a Private school that serves grades K-8
Challenger - Harwood Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 31 reviews. Top