Issues that arise between two students are not handled well or effectively leading to issues continuing on for far too long until they hit a breaking point before they are addressed. We've battled this on multiple occasions as my 'nerdy' children are not viewed by teachers or students well. Wrong handling by administration early on has caused by open daughter to shut down and hold issues inside rather than tell us whats going on. They victim shame quite a bit and dictate rather than teach.
High student count allows too much to happen behind their back leading to social breakdowns and too much violence between students. Their response to issues rivals the police departments rather than a teaching/learning environment. Common sense has no place in this facility.
Complete disconnect between school and parents from what we have found. School is extremely slow to respond to parents. Wife volunteered at other schools, but they took over 6 months to respond here. Both children abhor going (a first for them). They've been bullied and abused and they they get in trouble for trying to help their sibling out by protecting them at recess and threatened with expulsion (Daughters hair yanked out, son stepped in to help as teachers were not paying attention to students and he gets in trouble for helping his sister - I think not). Son and daughter called out for reading difficulties in areas he has excelled in other schools, and they still come home nightly and would rather read than watch TV, yet the teachers can't 'get them to cooperate' in class with reading? Really makes me question a lot. They may have decent academic reputation, but their social responses are horrid. I now understand why there is a failure of the social structure up here - complete lack of supervision during common times. We are moving out of this area solely because of the school.
As stated in my review, homework may seem rigorous at times. I look back and realize that we were expected a lot at each grade level, but we were encouraged and supported through all the academics. Knowing that, I realize how important it is even at a young age to know how to put aside time to do work that may be challenging or that you do not want to work on. Teachers are more than willing to reach out and assist with organization and homework techniques.
My family moved to the Issaquah area in 2000, when I was seven years old. I have three brothers (1 older, 2 younger) who have also attended Challenger up until the 5th grade year. As a prior student who is now a thriving young woman, I look back with immense gratitude for the incredible education that myself and my brothers received.
All three of my brothers were in the speech-language therapy program. We all tested into the gifted (SAGE) program of Challenger, and through our various interests had experiences with various clubs, teachers, and academic programs. I know I speak for them as well when I say that we felt nothing but welcomed, supported and overall loved by everyone from the teachers to the administrative office. I ended up volunteering at Challenger throughout my high school years, and if I walk into the hallways and proudly state that I am an alumni, I know that I would be embraced warmly.
The difference between Challenger and so many of the other fantastic Issaquah schools is that we are a family. The parents look out for the other children, the teachers treated us all with kindness and respect and encouraged our growth. The academics may have seemed rigorous at times for elementary education, but it prepared us to be excellent readers, writers and critical thinkers in our further schooling. My brothers and I are now successfully succeeding. As my youngest brother is now accepting college letters from Harvard, UW and Stanford Universities all while being the most respectful and kind, and loving young man, I wanted to reach out and thank Challenger for the years of support in our childhood developmental years. My gratitude is not an exceptional case. Many of my friends throughout the years at Challenger I am still in touch with today, and I know that the people who come out of this school are well rounded and kind and supportive due to the nurture we received here.
We've had our daughter in Challenger for almost 4 years. Teacher quality is excellent, with only a few exceptions of mediocrity. Academic demands are rather tough for Elementary school, but reasonable; there is ample time to catch up, if you fall a bit behind. Our daughter has made significant academic progress each year, without being too stressed-out. The school is in a low-traffic, residential area with good possibilities for biking to and from school. There is ample space for play during recess, and after school in the park-like surroundings. Each year there in an International Fair with exhibits from the many countries that are represented by the student body. There is also a rather ambitious Science Fair. After-school services are provided each school day and during summer vacation.