GENERAL CURRICULUM INFORMATION
While at Challenge, each child follows a rigorous learning journey through eighth grade supported by the collaborative efforts of their peers, teachers, and parents. Programming includes standards-based core curriculum enhanced with Integrated Arts and Technology, Spanish, Connections1, and student-selected mini-courses2 and immersions3.
These are multi-aged classes that meet daily. Elementary students start their day in Connections with their classroom teacher, and it is like a morning meeting, while middle school students have the same Connections teacher from fifth to eight grade. In addition to community-building, students learn about bully-proofing, safety, community service, team building, and executive functioning. There are also options for extra help.
These are student-selected courses for exploring individual areas of interest. They extend the Encore curriculum and expand learning opportunities in passion areas such as robotics, science, and writing as examples. In middle school, mini-course rotations occur every six weeks, while students rotate more frequently in elementary school.
Immersion courses happen two times during the school year: the week before fall break and the second-to-last week of school in May. These are week-long, multi-age, in-depth explorations into an area of study. They are original to Challenge and a source of pride in our unique identity. Students choose from a catalog of options which are published in September and April each year.
Grade Specific Information
Students in our kindergarten program also attend a fee-based Kindergarten Enrichment Program (KEP), which allows our students to be with us for a full-day. Students have the benefit of the same teacher for both kindergarten and KEP, so the learning and experience does not feel interrupted. Tuition for the KEP program is due monthly and paid online.
1st – 4th GRADES
Students begin their day in Connections, which is like a morning meeting. The rest of the day is organized around standards-based instructional blocks for literacy, math, science, and social studies, ending with mini-course. Students have a scheduled recess in addition to their lunch, and they rotate through Encore and Spanish classes.
Reading and writing are designed to help students meet and exceed standards using concept-based instruction, workshop models, and best-practice literacy development resources. Math students develop deep understandings of mathematical concepts and skills as they expand their ability to solve complex problems through direct instruction, investigation, and open exploration. Students may have a different math teacher than their classroom teacher. In Science, students learn about scientific principles with inquiry as the foundation. Spanish is four days, every other week, for 30 minutes, and focuses on exposure to vocabulary and culture. Encore stands for "Enriching the Core" and is offered within a rotation of Art, Music, Physical Education, Library, and Technology.
5th – 8th GRADES
Middle school students have five 55-minute periods for their standards-based core classes, followed by Connections and mini-courses. A 30-minute lunch is scheduled before 5th period for Team D, and after 5th period for Team E.
Science – The middle school program is designed to build sequentially on the basic principles of the scientific world. Inquiry is the foundational belief system, and the curriculum is enhanced through STEM projects, mini-courses, immersions, and a Team E Science Fair.
Math – Math instruction is grouped by ability and aligned to Common Core Standards. Up through Math 5, students learn from the Bridges to Mathematics program, and in Math 6/7 through Geometry, the content resource is Big Ideas. In all grade levels, learning is enriched and extended to meet students' needs.
Every student leaves challenge with a solid mastery of computational, procedural, and analytical skills related to math standards through Algebra I. The highest level offered at Challenge directly is Geometry.
Humanities – Reading, Writing, and Social Studies content and standards are combined to weave thematic connections between the disciplines. This approach creates intellectual lenses for students to integrate, evaluate, and analyze information resulting in a greater understanding of themselves and their place within it all.
Spanish - Students begin Spanish 1A in 5th grade and complete Spanish 2 by the time they finish 8th grade. Meeting every other day, it alternates with Encore rotations. At the end of 8th grade, every student is ready for Spanish III at the district high schools. Speaking, listening, reading, and writing in the Spanish curriculum are emphasized as pathways to better communication within a rich, diverse society.
Encore - Encore stands for "Enriching the Core" and consists of rotations within Art, Music, Physical Education, Media, and Technology. These subjects are integrated into the core classes and approached in creative ways to complement and enhance the overall academic program. Middle school students take a trimester each of Art, Music, and PE that alternate every other day with Spanish. In grades 7 & 8, all students take Art. Students also select two of the following options: Music, Technology, or PE. Each class runs for a trimester and alternates every other day with Spanish.