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Challenger - Harwood

Private | K-8 | 198 students

We are best known for outstanding academics.

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Living in San Jose

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $555,800. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,610.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 1 rating
2013:
Based on 2 ratings
2012:
Based on 12 ratings
2011:
Based on 6 ratings

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School Official Point of View

Posted September 12, 2011

I am glad to see so many positive things being said about our school on GreatSchools.com. I will use this space to clarify a few points. 1. We are focused on high level academics at Challenger. Our average student scores in the 95th percentile on standardized tests. We are proud that we set the bar high at Challenger. 2. P.E. during the school day focuses on physical fitness, but after school we have many activities to include, but not limited to: soccer, basketball, softball, art, chess, martial arts, science, and Spanish. 3. We have a rigorous screening and hiring process ruling out most applicants. Once hired, we have a comprehensive training program that teaches the new teachers the Challenger curriculum and teaching methodology. Once placed in a class, we have continuous teaching training that hones and refines teaching techniques.

29 reviews of this school


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Posted Wednesday, 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


Posted October 8, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted April 1, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted February 6, 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


Posted 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


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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

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Arts & music

Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Orchestra
Performing and written arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Mrs. Sara Kolb
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Phone
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Year-round

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

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  • Core knowledge
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish

Resources

School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer
  • Library
  • Playground
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Sports

Boys sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Softball

Arts & music

Music
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Orchestra
Performing arts
  • Creative writing
  • Drama
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School culture

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  • Uniforms
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4949 Harwood Road
San Jose, CA 95124
Website: Click here
Phone: (408) 723-0111

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