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Our educational philosophy (why we do what we do) drives our curriculum (what we do) and proven teaching methods (how we do it). The results are impressive and evident in a Challenger student’s confidence, skill set, and happiness earned from her individual success.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education identifies a limited number of schools as “Exemplary High Performing” institutions, who thereby earn the prestigious National Blue Ribbon award.
Our Berryessa campus in California received the National Blue Ribbon award in 2021. We congratulate the administration, staff, and students for successfully demonstrating the effectiveness of the exceptional curriculum and proven teaching methods that are utilized at all Challenger campuses.
The National Blue Ribbon School award acknowledges and validates the hard work of Challenger students—who must consistently rank in the top 15% across multiple academic subjects—and educators for attaining exemplary achievement. The award recognizes Challenger as a model for effective school practices in curriculum and instruction, student and family engagement, school leadership, and academic success.
Challenger emphasizes the bedrock of knowledge: reading, composition, math, history, and logic. We promote individual and independent thinking and teach traditional American history and values. Learn more.
Challenger students’ standardized test scores not only surpass the national average by a phenomenal margin, but they also rank well above other private school test takers. Learn more.
Please call the campus Headmaster for information or to arrange a conference with your child's teacher.
Challenger teachers are carefully tested, evaluated, and coached on an ongoing basis. We look for teachers who are well-educated, have mastery of their subjects, and have a natural love for children.
We then ensure that our teachers utilize our proven teaching methods in the classroom. In all subjects, teachers help students further develop their natural ability to identify essential similarities among seemingly different things. Teachers acknowledge students as they demonstrate their ability to do so correctly and independently.
Most Challenger graduates go on to accelerated high school programs and then to distinguished colleges and universities. No matter where graduates go, they have the foundation and thinking abilities that allow them to pursue any endeavor they wish.
It is true that there are differences in how children respond to specific subjects and lessons. Some succeed easily in math; for others, writing comes naturally. But focusing on learning differences distracts from the essential similarity in the way human minds work.
Our minds classify information. We incorporate this fact into our effective teaching methods, which help even the youngest minds identify essential similarities among different things. As children learn to recognize patterns and apply principles on their own, our teachers respond with praise for their achievement. Our teachers use Challenger’s proven, comprehensive method so that students learn how to think clearly and find joy and self-worth through achievement.
The core of behavior management at Challenger is to require the student to recognize and successfully accept responsibility for his behavior so that we can together develop strategies to correct the behavior.
At the discretion of the Headmaster, and in close coordination with teachers and parents, elementary students who demonstrate a need to review, practice, or learn foundational concepts may be enrolled in our Basic Keys group.
No, Challenger School does not follow Common Core mandates. As an independent private school, Challenger has always had a challenging curriculum, much of which is proprietary. Our students achieve far beyond state minimum requirements. Each year, our students take the IOWA standardized test, which is an effective indicator of how our students compare on a national scale.
Extended Classtime is available for kindergarten–grade 8 students between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Half-day kindergarten students may enroll in the extended session adjacent to their program. Extended Classtime is structured and organized. Activities vary and may include games, crafts, robotics, and foreign languages as well as outside play, homework time, and snack time.
Preschool students enrolled in all-day programs may arrive as early as 7 a.m. and stay as late as 6 p.m. at no additional cost.
Challenger School is not a charter school; Challenger School is a private school.
Charter schools are not private schools; charter schools are public schools.
The fundamental difference is this: private schools depend upon the funding they generate (typically from tuition), while public schools (including charter schools) are created, funded, and maintained by public funds (money provided by the government).
Charter schools may give parents a sense of local control. But in the end, charter schools, because they receive state funding, are subject to the same public school mandates that often lead to poor academic performance (as demonstrated in standardized assessments). We prefer to teach children how to think rather than what to think.
There are a few private schools, like Challenger, that are committed to functioning in a free market and, as a result, refuse all sources of public funds. Challenger prefers the freedom of innovating and working independently from government programs. This freedom allows us to deliver the exceptional and unique education that our customers expect and value. Challenger parents choose to pay us to educate their children the way they prefer. We acknowledge their commitment and our responsibility to deliver.
To duplicate public libraries that parents have already paid for with tax dollars—and can easily access within their communities—doesn’t make fiscal sense for Challenger or our customers. We choose to avoid the significant investment, which would translate into a substantial increase in tuition—something we fervently strive to avoid.
A Challenger education includes dozens of books that students read, study, and keep. Students actually begin to build their own personal libraries with the books provided by Challenger.
Furthermore, we use our time with students carefully and make the most out of the short instructional time we have with them. Rather than spending valuable, scarce teaching time to have students select books for personal reading, we suggest that families manage this outside of school time. We maintain and distribute a Recommended Reading List to encourage students to read independently during the summer and outside of school time.
At Challenger, we use computers not to teach computer programming, per se, but to teach students to analyze and improve their own thinking. Students do this through the practice of conceiving a project solution, breaking the whole into its essential elements, and then putting those elements together in a certain order. Computers are simply a tool in that process.
Our purpose in teaching using a computer ties into our larger goal of teaching students to think conceptually.
2021 National Blue Ribbon School