My daughter graduated from Challenge Early College High School. I am grateful for their excellent teachers and staff. The counselors and teachers not only assigned, taught and graded lessons, they MENTORED and encouraged students. I noticed genuine camaraderie among the students, and community spirit. Teachers were not adversaries, they were role models! Also, the teachers were experienced and seasoned educators. I am so grateful for Challenge Early College High School. PS--my kid didn't have to take an IQ test to get in, either! I think the PTO might have benefitted from wider parent participation, but the important stuff didn't fall through the cracks.
My child and I both LOVE this school. The comradie between the approximately 400 students attending this school is outstanding. Because of the awesome advisory program, which meets daily, students from all grades become acquainted with one another. I feel my child is completely safe at this school, as well as having a full-time security officer, the kids all have each others back. If a student is not doing well, they receive help from the teachers. All classes have tutorials available. The teachers are very high quality and genuinely caring and the small class-size is a big plus. The principal, Mr. Fuentes, takes a great amount of well-deserved pride in his school. My child came to Challenge from a small, parochial school background and it has been a great transition. The curriculum is challenging, as all classes are either pre-AP or AP for freshmen, but the kids are given every opportunity to excel between the awesome teachers and after-hours tutorials, if needed. I love the family atmosphere at this school. It's like attending a private high school without the outrageous tuition payments! Excellent job, couldn't be better.
It's an early college with a family environment where we all know and look after eachother
One of the best things about the Challenge community is it's lack of tolerance for injustice toward other students. 'Challenge is no place for hate,' we brag. This is especially true for the school's lesbian/gay/bisexual community, with events such as Ally Week and Day of Silence, put on by the school's Gay-Straight Alliance club, being popular among the school's students. We look out for eachother, because there's no reason a person shouldn't feel safe at Challenge.
I love Challenge because of the unique people and the small school culture. Also, it is a great academic opportunity because it we, as students, have the chance to graduate high school with our associate's degree, at $25 per semester-long course. honestly, how many students can say they did that? how many schools push for great academics while allowing their students to be such individuals, and while promoting such a strong sense of family / community?
There are so many things I love about this school. The staff knows everyone and are willing to help kids with their school problems as well as any other problems they may have. The kids themselves are all extremely friendly. If you come in as a loner who stays off by yourself and avoids interacting, you will end up with one kid after another coming and talking to you, trying to get you to hang out with them and their friends. When I was going there all the geeks were the biggest guys and the jocks were the littlest guys, so there was never any room for bullying. In addition I don't think any of the kids would tolerate bullying. If a kid is having trouble in a class they can go receive tutoring from an old teacher or even a teacher they don't have. There are so many more wonderful things about this school, but I don't have time to tell any more than a nutshell of them, so if anyone would like to discover the rest of the magic that CECHS holds, they will have to visit it themselves.
When my son interviewed for this school, I don't think he was certain about attending. We went on an information gathering trip. I believe he heard and saw things that appealed to him as a kid entering the completely different world of high school. What he heard he liked. At the introductory meeting, there were kids who currently attended the school. They answered all of the prospective students questions about life at the school. As a parent, I loved the fact that he could take community college courses, stay for an additional year, and graduate with a high school diploma and an associates degree from the community college . . . at no cost to me. This was a great opportunity for him to get a jump on higher education while still in school. My son is a gifted writer and the performing arts high school in our city did not offer a creative writing curriculum. Challenge emphasizes written communications. Not only has he been able to expand his writing, but as part of the Thespian Society, he has had the opportunity to act, direct, and write stage plays. With the help of Challenge, he is well on his way to having a successful career in the film industry. He has found his passion and the school has helped him nurture it.
This is a great small school with caring staff. The students are given more freedom than in traditional schools.
This school provides nothing but opportunities for kids to suceed! Students from all backgrounds have found a place that they can find a common ground; whether it be on the soccer teams, theatre arts program, or studying for their college classes - which by the way are free. The staff is like a family to the students and teach the students at the highest levels. It's just a great place
This is the best kept secret in Houston. Small classroom sizes, amazing teachers, and the opportunity to get an associates degree for fre!! They are opening more early colleges around Houston so others will have this opportunity.
If your child is already an excellent student and highly self motivated, this could be a good place. If your child ever has problems or issues, that is a different story. They seem far more concerned about image enhancement than student success. (Perhaps that is the downside of existing on grants.) The administrative disorganization is a real detriment. A huge disappointment. My child transferred to Lamar where they seem to know what they are doing and the principal is focused on the kids.
Our children both attend Challenge! Coming from a homeschool background, Challenge gave them an excellent transition into mainstream schooling. The teachers care about the students and give them personalized attention. There is a community and family feel to the school, and you always feel welcome there. The kids are happy here, and love most of the teachers. They have found a good mix of friends at CECHS. The student body is very diverse coming from different backgrounds, races, religions, and even different parts of the city. It gives the students a chance to learn about different people. Even with the wide diversity at CECHS, there are very few discipline problems, which gives the students a sense of safety and security. I can't say enough good things about the staff or the principal, Mr. Fuentes! We've been with the school since it began 4 years ago, and we'd recommend it to anyone!
The enrollment at CECHS is at 377 this year. The English department is strong but the Math department has its problems. My 10th grader is in his first college class and seems to be doing okay with it. No sports or music programs but good drama department.
Incredible opportunity for students to receive the highest level education in a small school setting with emphasis on rigor in the curriculum. This HISD school offers a different school experience for students who don't want a tractional, large school experience. The teachers are top notch and dedicated to the students. The students who have graduated have been accepted to top universities and report that after their education at Challenge, their four year college is not too hard. The college hours completed at HCC are free and transfer to Texas public schools. Many of the students can finish high school in four years with 40-60 college hours. This is one of the best kept secrets in Houston.
This is a gem of a school. I've had experience in a pricey private school as well as HISD public schools. Challenge provides the best of both worlds. Our principal is honest and dedicated to our kids. Our new Dean has implemented a Yahoo message board which allows input from the entire Challenge community. Students can discuss and vote on issues democratically. Every student has a voice and a vote! Most of our teachers are incredible and are willing to help any student who attends tutorials. Very strong writing culture. Administration is flexible, open-minded and willing to go the extra mile to try and get students what they need. This school is great!
Hopefully I will need to come back in a week or so and change my opinion, at this time the school shows great disorganization, unable to provide required courses at proper grade level, poor planning, bad scheduling and will require students to attend summer school to get their required 8 credits in per grade level.
Good Academic program, small class size. Needs more challenging classes
They need to make sure the graduating class of '06 as well as those following it, are able to recieve their Associates Degree and all the hours they need to transfer to the college of their choice. The administration is pretty positive, but seems to be giving misleading information concerning the hours and classes that should be available to the juniors and senoirs. There also should be ways of getting ahead as far as the students' colleges hours and double credits go.
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