Skip to main content

2019 Challenge Success Update

Would you like to share some input? Please consider taking our Parent Survey.

Through the gracious generosity of the Concord Education Fund, our partnership with Challenge Success (CS) and Stanford University began in 2015.  This partnership and the resulting noble work continues. I want to thank all students, staff, parents, and community members who have participated in our Challenge Success initiative, be it committee work or helping to organize events associated with Challenge Success.  

It is important to recognize that being a teenager in 2019 is difficult and educating students in the 21st century is challenging.  As stated in the Challenge Success mission statement, "Embracing a broad definition of success...." while promoting "student well-being and engagement with learning," requires a collaborative approach, community-wide approach to educating students while nurturing their well-being.  As the adage goes, "it takes a village."

The impetus for partnering with the Challenge Success program is multi-dimensional, but after reading their mission statement in full, it is not hard to see why.  Further, CCHS was one of the first local schools to partner with CS, and the list of schools participating has grown to include several nearby towns since our journey began in 2015.  

Immediately below is a list of Challenge Success-driven changes between 2016 - 2018.  Also, I include two additional changes we plan to implement immediately to help alleviate stress around specific pressure points in the school year.  To summarize these changes, we add a few no school-work weekends resulting in one weekend a month of no homework.  Further, we are instituting reading days before exams so students can focus solely on their assessments.    

  • Reading Period
    • Similar to standard practices in college, we are implementing a two-day reading period before final exams.  The purpose of a reading period is to allow students time to review, prepare, and make connections before their final assessments.  Classes are in session, and the expectation is students will attend.  
    • During the reading period, new material cannot be introduced, no assessments and no major projects may be due. Time will be allocated for the review of course material in preparation for the exam, or dedicated class time to work on final projects/presentations/papers. 
    • Rationale: Feedback from students, parents, and several staff members were consistent.  End of quarter/semester assignments coupled with preparation for exams produced an unmanageable workload.  (Acton Boxborough, Dover Sherborn, and Westford Academy have reading periods in place.)
  • Homework
    • Continue to implement a homework-free weekend each month.  Adding one at the end of each quarter, Kicks for Cancer, and one for Memorial Day in May.
    • Both the district strategic plan and the school improvement plan include homework related initiatives.  
    • Italics denotes Changes for 2019 and beyond
      • September:  Kicks for Cancer weekend 
      • October: End of Q 1
      • November: Thanksgiving
      • December: Winter Break
      • January: Weekend between semesters (end of Q2)
      • February: Winter vacation week
      • March: End of Q 3 
      • April: April vacation
      • May: Memorial Day Weekend
During the 2018-2019 school year, we expanded the Challenge Success Committee and identified four areas of focus that will guide our work this year and beyond.
  1. The 9th-grade transition
  2. Developing a Climate of Care
  3. Balancing Skill Development with Content
  4. Developing Systems of Coordination for long term assignments
Would you like to share some input? Please consider taking our Parent Survey.


Popular posts from this blog

Feel Good Fridays

You know that feeling you get the week before a vacation? You're tired All. The. Time. No matter how loud your alarm is, no matter how much you caught up on sleep over the weekend, you still struggle to get up in the morning. You've been going 100 miles per hour for the past 2 weeks: taking tests, finishing projects, planning your trip, and still making it to sports practice / band rehearsal / committee meetings on a regular basis. And then you hit the wall; there is no gas left in the tank and you are DRAGGING to vacation week. 

It's a sign that our lives are out of balance. We've been going too hard at work and not taking time to rejuvenate. It usually happens before a vacation, when we try to finish up everything so that we can go enjoy the vacation with nothing hanging over our heads. But in our rush to get everything done we have been all work and no play. And it's time to rebalance.

This year the Challenge Success steering committee, with the help of several pa…

College Admission Scandal

What follows is a wonderful reflection from the Challenge Success - Stanford team. It was written by Paul Franz, who is one of their research associates.

News broke yesterday that several wealthy parents have been indicted for spending exorbitant sums trying to bribe their children’s way into elite colleges and universities. The social and news media responses to the scandal highlight the narrative of academic meritocracy and fairness that we like to believe about higher education, and rest on the assumption that admission to highly selective, ‘elite’ schools is a gateway to a happy, healthy, and above all wealthy life. It is, however, untrue that higher education is entirely meritocratic, particularly on academic grounds, and it is also untrue that the selectivity of the college someone attends plays an important role in their long-term success or happiness. Admissions to elite schools is not and has never been entirely meritocratic. Selective admissions arose as a way to keep non-whit…