Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between a public district school and a public charter school?
- Both receive government funding and are accountable to state and national standards.
- In a district school the district’s governing board makes the curricular and policy decisions for all its schools. In a charter school, the school has made its own curricular decisions and has a contract with the state to deliver that curriculum. Challenge uses its Corporate Board of Directors and School Advisory Council made up of the school founders, directors, faculty, parents, and community members to develop appropriate policies.
- There are no boundaries regulating student enrollment to attend a charter school. Students may attend Challenge Charter School, regardless of their address or location. However, Challenge has a cap to our enrollment, set by our contract with the state. Challenge starts a waiting list when the maximum class size is reached. A district school is obligated to serve all children in their district, regardless of class size.
2. What is Challenge Charter Schools’ AZ Learns Academic Performance Label?
- The Arizona Department of Education since 2005 has determined that Challenge is an “Excelling” School. That is the highest rating any school can receive. In 2011 AZ Dept. of Education changed their performance level identifications to A-F. CCS has been an “A” school since this change.
3. What are the academic school day hours?
- Challenge Charter School hours are 8:30 am – 3:30 pm for 1st – 6th grades.
- Kindergarten is from 8:30 – 12:30 & paid enrichment from 12:30 – 3:20 daily.
4. How many students are in a class?
- Here at Challenge Charter School we keep our class size small enough to provide a thorough and attentive educational environment for each student. An average class size has ranged from 22-28 students. The teacher is allowed to extend by one more student if they agree to do so. In addition, there are Teacher Instructional Assistants in our classrooms as well as specialized area instructors. Therefore, our overall school instructional ratio is approximately 1 to 18.
5. Are the Teachers at Challenge Charter School Certified? & Highly Qualified?
- Yes. All classroom teachers currently employed by Challenge Charter School are certified and meet the NCLB Highly Qualified requirements. Specialized area teachers are chosen based on their content competency and meet the NCLB Highly Qualified requirements.
- We also use Instructional Assistants in our classrooms. These individuals have a minimum of an Associate’s degree (many already have their Bachelor’s degree, and are pursuing their continuing educational goals/degree); or they have at least five years experience in a classroom setting.
- All Challenge Charter School staff members have been fingerprinted and a state and national criminal background check has been done.
6. What District is Challenge Charter School in?
- We are not affiliated with any school district. Challenge Charter School is chartered through the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Our campus is located in the Deer Valley Unified School District’s boundaries.
7. What grades does Challenge Charter School offer?
- Challenge Charter School offers Kindergarten through 6th grade.
8. How long has Challenge Charter School been in operation and where is it located?
- We are pleased to have been offering an exceptional education since the 1996-1997 school year. We have been operating out of our new campus facility since September of 1999. Our address is 5801 W. Greenbriar Dr., Glendale, AZ 85308. We are one block north of Bell Road in between 57th and 59th Ave. The closest major intersection is 59th Ave. and Bell Road.
9. Does Challenge Charter School have Uniforms?
- Yes. All students attending Challenge Charter School regardless of grade must abide by the school uniform policy. At Challenge Charter School the school uniform policy is strictly enforced!
- Our uniform policy provides a well-balanced choice of color and articles of clothing. For your convenience Challenge Charter School has a single provider for our school uniforms. Uniforms are to be purchased ONLY at Dennis Uniforms. They can be purchased at their store (2716 N 68th Street, Suite 4, Scottsdale, AZ 85257), online at www.dennisuniform.com, or over the phone at 602-220-0302. There will be a yearly Challenge Charter School Catalog to choose from, and Dennis has sales throughout the year, especially during the summer.
10. What curriculum does Challenge Charter School follow?
- We are very proud to be the FIRST official Core Knowledge© School in Arizona.
- We are implementing the Hirsch Core Knowledge© curriculum supplemented by a Science and Technology overlay. Core Knowledge© is a highly effective, quality curriculum which is fully aligned with the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. It is an integrated, hands-on approach formulated to avoid gaps and repetition in sequence. Students must achieve basic core knowledge of information before moving on to the next grade. Without this basic core knowledge a student is not prepared with the knowledge needed for continued studies. Like building a pyramid: The foundation must be laid first and strong in order to build the higher levels.
- We also use the Core Knowledge© Reading Arts (CKLA) Program, and the Envision math program.
- Core Virtues©, a character education program, is also a part of our daily curriculum. It incorporates virtue/character education into lessons for each grade daily including but not limited to respect, integrity, loyalty, honor, compassion, honesty, courage, perseverance, mercy, and responsibility.
- Bully-Free Classrooms curriculum is also integrated into each grade level’s curriculum calendar several times throughout each school year.
- The Core Knowledge© Series is edited by E.D. Hirsch Jr. Each book in the series is titled after its grade level: “What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know,” “What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know,” “What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know,” etc. There is a set of these books available for review in the school office. This series can also be found both at your local bookstore and local library. We encourage parents to become familiar with their student’s grade curriculum.
11. Does Challenge Charter School have a preschool program/Full-day Kindergarten?
- Challenge Charter School does NOT have a preschool program.
- Challenge does offer a 4-hour Kindergarten program. Our hours are 8:30 am to 12:30 pm
- Challenge also offers an extended-day Enrichment Program for our Kindergartners. This extended-day program is not a day care environment; it is educational enrichment. The enrichment program starts at 12:30 and goes to 3:20 pm. There is a fee for the enrichment program.
12. How much does it cost to attend Challenge Charter School?
- There is no tuition to attend Challenge Charter School, except if your child is enrolled in our Kindergarten Program and the State has already paid for an early-entry kindergarten program. The State will not pay for a second year of Kindergarten. Therefore you are required to pay tuition.
There are some fees:
- There is the cost of uniforms and fee’s for field trip admissions
- There is a $100 per family non-refundable annual extracurricular fee due at the time of enrollment. This fee is used to help off-set transportation and driver costs for field trips, and counts toward your State Tax Credit.
- The cost for School Lunch is $3.00. School Lunches must be purchased in advance at a minimum of 10 Lunches at a time. Student(s) may also bring their own sack lunch instead of buying a School Lunch. School Breakfast is $1.50 a day. We offer the Free & Reduced National Meals Program. Reduced prices are $.40 (lunch) & $.30 (breakfast). Eligibility is based on family size and income. If you feel you may qualify for the free or reduced meals please complete the eligibility form available from our front office.
- Our extended kindergarten enrichment program fee is currently $250.00 a month, but could be adjusted at any time, and is impacted by sibling and Before & After School participation.
- We ask all of our families to support the Arizona Tax Credit Program each year. Your direct donation to the school is refunded to you whenever you pay your state income tax bill.
13. Does Challenge Charter School have a before or after school program?
- Challenge Charter School does offer a before and after school extra-curricular program from 6:00 am to 6:30 pm at a reduced cost for our students and families. Please check with the front desk for more information about the program and about the associated fees.
- Challenge Charter School works closely with the “Boys and Girls Club” and offers transportation to and from their location at 4730 W. Grovers Ave. For information regarding their before and after school programs and associated fees please call them at (602) 375-0400
14. What types of extracurricular/expanded educational opportunities are offered at Challenge Charter School?
- Challenge Charter School currently provides a full-time Gifted Program that teaches qualified students expanded intellectual studies often correlated directly with subjects currently being studied in the Core Knowledge© sequence (times in history, different cultures, etc.).
- Challenge employs a full time Art Teacher where the curriculum is fully integrated with Core Knowledge activities for all KG-6th grade classrooms.
- The music curriculum is provided by the classroom teacher, and expanded monthly with performance opportunities at our Student of the Month assemblies.
- We have a full-time Physical Education Teacher, working with all of our students on a weekly basis.
- Our full time Technology Teacher works with our computer lab equipment where more than 60 laptops and wireless servers that can be connected to the school’s academic local area network. There are also mini-computer labs for each classroom building, as well as at least one computer per classroom. Projects are also coordinated with each grade activities.
- Challenge kids have the unique pleasure of a Science in the Garden class in which they get hands-on in our extensive gardens.
- Challenge also provides Sign Language class to all of our students during the school day.
- There is a fully functioning on-line weather station and weather club opportunities for students.
- We offer extracurricular before & after school classes on a weekly basis. Some that have been offered in the past and may be currently available include: Dance, Arts & Crafts, Drama, Chess Club, Sign Language, Kids Care Community Service Program, Martial Arts, Native American Arts, Sports, Health & Fitness, Lego Club, Mad Science and Spanish. These classes are determined each semester and there are associated fees; please check with the office staff at the start of the school year to see what is available. (Late pick up fees also apply to these classes)
15. Does Challenge Charter School offer an environment conducive for ALL learners, including those with ENVIRONMENTAL INTOLERANCE’S?
- Children are more susceptible to environmental hazards and each person’s biochemistry is unique. Our Environmental Health Policy is inclusive to ensure an optimum school environment that is healthy for all occupants and conducive to the learning needs of all students. It is free of pesticides and other pollutants. We use unscented and only environmentally safe cleaning products. We are also proud to say that our campus was built using building materials that do not chemically off-gas and make kids sick.
- As part of our Environmental Health Policy, the use of perfume, cologne and other scented personal products is not allowed inside our school building. Please always remember this policy when you will be coming on campus for any reason such as volunteering, visiting, or picking up your children. Also, students wearing these items will be sent home.
16. What is the Challenge Charter School Discipline Policy?
- Challenge CS takes advantage of many opportunities to encourage, reinforce, and reward citizenship. This commitment to positive reinforcement provides for an environment that helps students to make the right choices each day and lessons infractions that require formal School Discipline.
- Challenge Charter School does have a very firm discipline policy. However, Challenge Charter School does not use any corporal punishment, i.e. spanking, paddling, etc. Teachers are allowed to implement discipline policies that are appropriate for their individual classroom environments. If a student is unsuccessful in the teacher’s discipline plan they are sent to the office and subject to the defined school policy. The nature of discipline action taken is dependent on the nature and severity of the offense and number of prior infractions or suspensions. A hearing with the School Advisory Council can be mandated to determine action to be taken or if a student can return to school. Please see the Student Discipline Procedures & Penalties provided in the Policy Handbook packet for further information.
17. How does Challenge Charter School get money/how is the school funded?
- Challenge Charter School is a state funded school. We are funded based on the average number of students we have enrolled in our classrooms each day during the school year. We lose funds and therefore classroom resources for our students if our student absentee rate is over 5.9%.
- Research has proven that days missed directly affect a student’s progress and academic success. As noted above, Challenge Charter School is also impacted by missed days.
- Challenge Charter School has an incentive program that provides awards to students for perfect attendance each semester. Please join us in encouraging your child to strive for consistent & constant attendance!
- Your tax credit donations can provide a direct payment of up to $400 per family of your state tax bill to the school. Please donate! Your tax credit amount even counts as a donation to a tax-exempt organization on your Federal Return when you itemize your deductions.
- Additional funding comes to the school through our extra-curricular programs; Federal Targeted-assistance; and 2 or 3 yearly fund raising events.
18. Does Challenge Charter School have a transportation system?
- Yes. Challenge Charter School is proud to be a part of the very small percentage of charter schools in the United States that do offer a bus service based on available seats, and funding. Our service covers lots of miles daily transporting students to and from school, field trips, and other special events. A copy of our current bus route is available online, on our web page, or at our front desk. These bus stops are always subject to change. In order to take advantage of this service, a transportation request form must be filled out, signed by the parent/guardian, and on file in the school office. This service is a privilege, and has to be earned by good behavior of our bus riders.
19. What should I do if I want my student to attend Challenge Charter School?
- The most effective way to begin to secure a spot for your student(s), prior to the beginning of registration, is to complete a pre-registration form with the front office or download the form from our webpage and fax it into our office at 602.938.5393.
- Once your child has secured a seat at Challenge Charter School, you will be given an enrollment packet to complete.
- Be sure to attend your scheduled enrollment appointment with all required paperwork and the extracurricular fee.
- Make sure your student(s) is here for the first day of school! According to state statute: until your student(s) is in attendance they are not considered fully enrolled and their spot may be given away to another student(s) on the waiting list.
- It is important to maintain contact with the school office. You should keep us current with ALL address and phone number changes. This will help to keep you current on enrollment dates and your student(s) status on our waiting list.
- All new, incoming students will be assessed after enrollment, but prior to beginning of school, to ensure they are registered in the appropriate grade based on the Arizona College & Career Ready Standards.