This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Challenger School-Traverse Mountain1
Posted January 27, 2015
- a parent
Numbers don't lie. Challenger School students as a group are reported to receive high Iowa standardized test scores.
If you want to pay a school to coach your child your child to score well on standardized tests, Challenger could be your school.
But if you want your child to be self-confident, love learning, and to think independently, Challenger should not be your school.
Before enrolling your child at Challenger, a quick internet search will yield an enormous number of poor and even damaging experiences from Challenger parents and students alike. And again, numbers don't lie.
We recently moved to Utah and considered enrolling our children at Challenger. We have seen Challenger marketing materials touting the schools as fun with strong academics. We visited both the Sandy and Traverse Mountain locations - just dropping into both schools. We were not impressed with either school. The atmosphere at both locations felt forced and restrictive. When we walked out of the tour with the Challenger rule book, we knew we needed to do more research. The negative reviews on this web site seem to largely agree with parent comments on other web sites. We will not enroll our children in either of these Challenger Schools and are looking at other private and public schools.
I am a very proud Challenger parent and know the Baker family well, and am offended a person would write these reviews. A friend told me about some of the recent reviews on this website, and I could not stand by while someone is mouthing Challenger. I doubt this person is truly a Challenger parent. I have had children and grandchildren attend Challenger back in the days of Orem, and have seen Challenger go through its transitions, most notably the transition from Orem to Traverse Mountain, and each change has kept the level of excellence I expect of Challenger. I have no idea what these reviews are referencing. I know Barbara's granddaughter teaches at the school, so I find it odd that Barbara's own family does not embody her mission and ideals. I hope whoever wrote these reviews finds something in their life that will make them happy.
The recent reviews on this site are a direct consequence of the change in administration and teachers at Traverse Mountain. These reviews are based on negative experiences, not rumors. Challenger's decision to hire a young military man with no educational background to run an elementary school is appalling. Leading soldiers is nothing like running a school. They have lost sight of the fact that they are educating children and should care more about increasing the knowledge and the confidence of these children than they do about increasing IOWA test scores. Unfortunately, it is clear that increasing test scores and revenue are all that matter at this school. We were a committed Challenger family and it was extremely difficult to make the decision to leave. When I saw the damage that this school was exacting on my child's self confidence and self esteem, I decided even the most poorly rated of the public schools would be preferable. Barbara Baker's mission to create a better system for educating children may finally be damaged beyond repair. I would strongly advocate that parents look elsewhere unless drastic changes are made in both teachers and administration.
My family has been with Challenger School for years. It is STILL an amazing school! My children are so happy! There has been many changes the last year, but in my opinion they are not all bad! They lost some good teachers BUT so many amazing teachers are still there! Why must change be a bad thing? My kids have been in public school and in Challenger school. At public school they couldn't read, didn't have confidence, and hated going! At Challenger they are reading grades ahead, they know they are smart and they love it!!!!!! The results speak for themselves! Many of the reviews here have been fueled by gossip and assumptions. I hope that other parents take the time to come to their own conclusion. Changing things like drop off is not the end of the world!!! I realize how lucky I am to have my kids attend the best school in Utah. Challenger is still my school!
What a sad sad state of affairs at Challenger School Traverse Mountain.The school had something good going on here for the past few years and then they decided to throw all of Barbara Baker's hard work into the trash. Come to this school and you will realize that children are no longer seen as children , but as liabilities...and when a school does that they show they basically just don't care about the kids.They no longer believe in developing strong ,independent kids..they even have to have strict supervision when they walk down from their class rooms to the office. The new management just wanted to make a point so even things that were working smoothly for years like pick up and drop offs were changed leading to traffic jams and crowded parking lots. The curriculum has been changed with more forced down kids throats and no planning has gone into it. If you are new to this school you will never know the difference. The exodus of kids due to rude teachers and management is a good example. Hoping some one from corporate reads this and decides to bring back Barbara Bakers vision back into this school .
The fact that there are few local private school options is the only reason Challenger Traverse Mountain has any grade school students left. They believe so much in squeezing the very best test scores out of children that they have lost sight of the true goal: creating an atmosphere that fosters learning. We would gladly jump from this sinking ship if we could find a reasonable alternative. Anyone out there interested in starting a new private school? We know a lot of great former Challenger teachers!
We believe we did not leave Challenger - Challenger left us. We wanted our children to learn in a happy positive environment. Challenger TM had many great teachers who cared about all of their students. Now students are bullied by teachers who use yelling, shame and fear to teach. What a shame and waste of a strong curriculum. Barbara is likely turning in her grave over the hash the "board" has made of her life's work! We would be happy to come back if and when Challenger corporate realizes that test scores are not nearly as important as letting the children act like children. Learning should be fun but it takes a caring teacher to truly deliver results.
My daughter tells me to come and pick her up after 5:45PM every day. She is upset if I come to pick her up earlier. She loves her teacher. She tells me that her teacher is fair and nice. She loves the enrichment classes, special Spanish, soccer, and art. She talks every day about how fun is to go to Challenger Traverse Mountain. She loves the new head master, Mr. Spainhour. She told me that the new head master is fair and nice. I am happy with the changes.
The changes at Challenger Traverse Mountain are numerous and for the most part negative. Despite the assertion of one "parent" that nothing important has changed, the results are impossible to ignore. Very few of the experienced and positive and helpful teachers have remained. Intelligent parents are concerned about the message that this mass exodus of great teachers sends. These teachers obviously left over concerns about the new headmaster. If the exodus was a message intended for Challenger, the message has clearly not been heard yet. If the message was intended for parents, the numerous transfers of Traverse Mountain Challenger students to local charter schools shows that smart parents are worried enough to move their children and take a chance on a charter school instead of relying on Challenger's "breathtaking results".