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2019 Challenge Success Update

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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.

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