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.
September 12, 2011
This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Sharing our most recent 4th grade experience on this campus. A general observation about Challenger's method of education is the emphasis on memorization, rather than knowledge. Cramming curriculum with content from higher grades and lack of real teaching, does not raise the bar at all - you breed students with shallow depth yet seemingly good at reciting the memorized information.
How do they teach Science? The teacher reads out content from a binder and writes notes on the board. Students copy the notes into their notebooks. Occasionally they will have demonstrations in class - one day the teacher brought pieces of sponge of varying sizes, and dipped each one in water, showing that the bigger sponge had more absorption than the smaller piece. On another occasion she got different types of rocks to show them to the class (but didn't feel it necessary to pass them around for students to see closely or touch). This is the quality of so-called science demonstrations - really lame. Compare and contrast to a public school (Guadalupe Elem) where groups of students themselves built a roller coaster track in the class using card paper and tape, as an experiment to learn about potential and kinetic energy. In Challenger, the same topic was only read out by the teacher from a binder and wrote notes on the board. Think again - in which environment will kids enjoy learning science ? (my daughter recently changed from Challenger to our public school and we are finding that in many ways, the public school is better). The public school had a field trip to Monterey Bay aquarium to learn about ocean's ecosystem too.
I also want to clear up any myths about the science fair in Challenger - this is an exhibit of individual experiments done by students and their parents - teachers do not teach or contribute anything in this.
You pay so much money to put your kids to Challenger to raise the bar, but your kids are not enjoying to learn and are only becoming good at memorization.
History - again, teacher reads American history from her binder and writes notes on board, that students copy. Teacher will not bother to explain concepts such as tax, governance, etc. When you see words such as "entrepreneurship" in your kids' notes, be assured they have no clue what it means.
Math, English are ok. Arts and PE are a joke. Overall, incompetent staff and especially bad management.
Bullying is the reason why we ended up going away from this school branch. The management did not do anything to resolve it - they blamed it on us, parents, for being "helicopter parents" and getting too involved in kids's complaints about bullying !!
Unfortunately not. Our 4th grade teachers appeared to be under-qualified or asked by school management to read out material from the binder, which was her so-called teaching method. The 3rd grade teacher was also bad. The 2nd grade teacher stood out as a very good teacher. It might appear that this Challenger branch is desperate to get teachers for higher grades and will hire anyone and do anything to keep them. Beware...
Absolutely NOT. They do not have a bullying policy in the school handbook. They completely mismanaged bullying that my daughter underwent for a year and a half. The staff and the management follow different philosophy towards bullying. Name calling, pushing, tripping, pinching, kicking backpack, blocking walkways, mean gestures and I don't care attitude are all tolerated at elementary level.
The new principal has total disregard for parent communication and resort to prejudice in resolving matters. Poor leadership in training their staff in terms of implementing consistent instructions and addressing bullying issues campus wide.