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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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..
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.