November 2018 Challenger Newsletter

 The Challenger Difference

How Conceptual Teaching Fosters Learning

by Hugh Gourgeon, Challenger CEO

Parents want the best for their children, and getting into a good college—and thriving there academically—is a common goal. College acceptance is widely considered to be a gateway to success in the adult world.

It is thoroughly distressing, then, that so many high school graduates lack the skills to succeed at the university level. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reports that, based on recent test results, fewer than 40 percent of American high school seniors are ready for college-level reading and math tasks. College professors are quick to corroborate, lamenting that incoming freshmen lack the ability to think independently:

“They’re not ready. They don’t [know] anything about the way to study. . . . I said, ‘We'll have that quiz on Wednesday.’ There was a panic.

“‘Wednesday? I won’t know it by Wednesday.’ They learn to memorize, to let it go. OK. So we've lost the part where you learn. I should ask you 50 years from now and there are some things you should know.”

The solution to the problems facing so many under-prepared college freshmen begins not in high school but in preschool. It is here that the youngest students get their first taste of learning to learn. Unfortunately, many schools are instead teaching to the test at ever-younger ages and missing crucial windows of opportunity for teaching children to recognize patterns, understand concepts, and apply logic—skills that allow them to take charge of their own learning as they grow. To help students build that framework, the best teachers teach conceptually.

Learn more about why Challenger students don’t need tips and tricks to excel on standardized tests or in academic pursuits.

 This Month

Important Dates

November 12 (G5–8)
Veterans Day (K–8)

November 13 (G5–8)
AMC 8 Math Test

November 19–20
Thanksgiving Feast Days

November 21–23
Thanksgiving Break—No School

November 26 (G3–8)
Class Spelling Bees Begin

Veterans Day (K–8)

Elementary students will commemorate Veterans Day with a special assembly. This day honors the countless American men and women who have defended freedom around the world.

Some students will have the opportunity to write to military personnel currently serving overseas. Others will read or hear first-hand accounts of veterans throughout U.S. history.

American Mathematic Competition 8 (5–8)

On November 13, all Challenger students in grades 5–8 will participate in the American Mathematic Competition (AMC) 8. The AMC 8 is a 25-question, 40-minute, multiple choice examination in middle school mathematics designed to promote the development and enhancement of problem-solving skills.

Over 150,000 students worldwide participate in the AMC 8. We are excited to be able to offer our students this opportunity to demonstrate and challenge their mathematical skills.

Students can prepare for and parents can find more information about the contest by visiting  AMC Resources link.

Students will receive notification regarding their performance on the AMC 8 in mid-January. We hope that by participating in this contest, we can challenge and inspire students to want to develop their problem-solving skills.

Thanksgiving Feast (K–8)

Feast Day is an opportunity to enjoy lunch with your child! On November 20, the lunch caterer will offer a special feast.* If you would like to attend, you may order a feast from the caterer for yourself and/or your child.

If you won’t be purchasing a Thanksgiving lunch for your child, please remember to send one from home. In the next few weeks, we will send more information to you.

*Not available at all campuses

Thanksgiving Feast (PS–K)

Preschoolers and kindergartners will learn about the first Thanksgiving and celebrate the holiday with an in-class feast (as applicable at your campus).

Look for a notice with the food item your child is invited to contribute to our meal. We will prepare this together as we enjoy the blessings of freedom and prosperity.


Science Fair (K–8)

Science Fair fun has begun! Challenger students in grades 3–8 have received their packets and are already coming up with their projects for the 2019 Science Fair. K–2 classes will begin their projects in December. Science Fairs will take place during the last week of January.

Every year, our students continue to produce impressive projects. Please encourage your child as he or she works on this important assignment.

Christmas Sings (PS–5) Christmas Concerts (6–8)

Students are excited to present their Christmas Sings and Christmas Concerts next month. As we get closer to the performance dates, check for schedules, and watch for invitations to these festive events.

I Can Read! Magnet Charts (PS)

As 4-year-olds finish reading the Blending Book series, they’ll move on to the We’re Off! Pre-Readers.

You’ll receive a magnet chart for the magnets your young reader will bring home after completing and returning each new book. This is a fun way to chart your child’s reading progress!

Outdoor Clothing

As the weather gets cooler, make sure that your child is dressed appropriately in outer clothes that he can handle with little assistance.

Please don’t send an umbrella with your child; when combined with backpacks and lunch boxes, an umbrella is difficult to manage.

We will go outside every day possible, despite the cold weather. Label all outerwear pieces just in case items end up in the lost-and-found.

Heard It in the Halls

Sunnyvale (CA) campus—
Four-year-old Arush came home for Thanksgiving Break very excited about the story of the Pilgrims and why they chose to come to a new, faraway land.

The next day, as his family traveled along the scenic California coast, Arush spotted some boats in the distance. “Mom!” he shouted, “the Pilgrims are coming! The Pilgrims are coming!”

Traverse Mountain (UT) campus—
First grade teacher Mrs. Wilde received a note from her student Belen. “I helped an eleventh grade student with their homework and got the answer right!” it read. “Isn’t that epic?”

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