Teachers and staff are absolutely dedicated to the well being of the children, but I would like to express appreciation to the parents of the school. I never felt alone or anxious at Challenger because I knew that all the parents and teachers knew me and would have been there for me if something were to occur. It was truly a community and family at Challenger, and that is greatly due to parental involvement.
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.
Respect was not only taught from the time of Kindergarten (respect of our neighbors, property and ourselves), but it was all-inclusive. The special education resource department made it so we fully understood and embraced differences of all kinds. When volunteering, I began to see in the children I worked with that they supported each other in challenges they faced, without request from the teacher.
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.
Having moved to the area when my son had already started 2nd grade, we were very pleased with the quality of the education. Kids are sponges at this age so it is so valuable to stretch their knowledge and experiences.
This school has been extremely frustrating. Most learning that my child accomplishes is independent learning - which makes me feel like my child's teacher isn't involved in the learning of my child at all. The school spirit blows, and everyone (including the front office) is extremely rude. I don't know if everyone became snotty after their house prices tripled in value or if all the rude people are all congregating together in one place. This is my children's 4th school and I would rank it the lowest of all my experiences.