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Old 07-24-2007, 11:08 PM
1 posts, read 14,172 times
Reputation: 13


Hi. I don't personally know any other parents of children in either Challenger or an ALPS program so I don't know where to ask these questions. I thought the people here might be able to help.

My child will be going into first grade. He completed his kindergarten year at Challenger. He was tested and accepted into the ALPS program in the Jordan School District. We're going back and forth on what school to put him in next year. Can anyone tell me what they like/don't like about the ALPS program? How does an ALPS class differ from Challenger and from a 'standard' classroom in the public school?

Between ALPS and Challenger the class sizes are the same. We'll have to provide transportation to and from school either way we go. The biggest benefit I see to public school is the cost savings, but maybe I'm underestimating the benefits of things like field trips, half-day fridays, having parental involvement in the classroom, and not wearing a uniform (which my sons likes doing).

If anyone has switched from ALPS to Challenger or vice versa could you please tell me why you made the change and whether or not you're happy with the decision?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:17 AM
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knowllee, Could u please tell me your opinion about challenger when ur son attended kindergarten?? I'm planning to enroll my son to challenger this year and will greatly appreciate any input. DO u think 1000$/month is worth it??
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Old 07-29-2007, 02:58 PM
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I sent my daughter to kindergarten at Challenger four years ago. I hated it! It was way too academic for my liking. We started a couple of months in to the school year and the teachers were concerned about my daughter not knowing how to tell time. In kindergarten?! Most kids don't learn that til second grade!
My daughter is very gifted so she didn't have trouble keeping up with the others, but I just thought there was too much stress on math, science and not nearly enough arts. The only songs they sang were those little Challenger ditties about grammer rules, etc. They even did a science fair. No kindergartener is capable of thinking up and executing a science project. So mostly it was just the parents coming up with something on their own. I just found that appalling.
There was also 45 minutes of homework every night. Ridiculous. I just really had a hard time coughing up that kind of tuition for a class of 25 students (I don't care how many teachers there are, that is way too many squirmy bodies in one room). Plus no foreign language.
As you can tell, I'm not a fan of Challenger Elementary school. I do like their preschool programs, though, and have sent my other three children there for 3 and 4 year preschool.
I don't have any experience with ALPS, but the fact that it's free sounds pretty good!
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:09 PM
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OK so I taught at West High school where they have an Alps program called the IB program (International Baccalaureate). All I can tell you is those kids where sharp and well-rounded. It is a hard program but most had almost the first year of college out of the way by the time they graduated and many went on to prestigious ivy league schools...Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford etc. Not bad for free. My step-daughter on the other hand goes to Waterford in Sandy which costs around 17k a year. She has attended that school since kindergarten. She is in 10th grade and not any more advanced than any other 10th grader. Besides being a huge fan of the I.B program because of what I have seen, I like that kids can excel in a real-life diverse environment. Unlike Waterford, where there is less cultural diversity and no socio-economic diversity.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:34 PM
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I have a question. I heard they put the ALPS programs in schools within the district with the lower test scores in order to bring up the school average? Does anyone know how the schools are chosen for the program?
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:54 PM
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I thinks this is a case of some kids responding better to different environments. I have an engineering background, not an artistic, so I'll give you my bias up front. One other bias, I am in a family with two working parents, so I place a premium on optimizing the homework time I spend with my kids (so my wife and I can do other fun stuff with them) and not on saving money. For a family with one working parent, I could easily see priorities being justifiably different. Note also that I don't want homework to be minimal, just to be efficient (see more below).

My son was learning much better at Challenger Kindergarten then he has been at ALPs first grade. ALPs has been going ok, but my son is neither a "go getter" nor a super-genius, therefore it seems like he is getting lost in the crowd (25-kid classroom). It didn't help that I think our ALPs teacher seems unorganized (just my opinion and of course not reflective of the program as a whole).

Anyway, I think the Challenger mnemonics, emphasis on fundamentals, and overall structure were great at helping my son achieve his full potential. ALPs has been ok, but somewhat disappointing in my view. However, if you have a super-genius or artistic kid, it could be better to put him or her in ALPs.

On homework: we get in ALPs all these touchy feely projects (pick up some leaves and sort them, build a haunted house, etc) versus basic homework stressing the fundamentals. My son dislikes many of these projects, and I don't think he get a whole lot out of them. Again, it may be because my son and I are higher on an analytical scale and lower on an artistic scale. Challenger had a good number of math problems on its daily homework, whereas ALPs only had a couple. Guess which works better for his math skills.

By the way, I think the Challenger Kindergarten science project was great --- encouraging a love of science and experiments in my son, and it was the teachers not the parents that did the project along with the kids. My tune would change if I have to do the science project, although ALPs was not any better --- replace parent doing science project with parent doing art project.

It is not clear to me what my son has been learning at ALPS, but we retested him at Challenger and at least so far he is not behind (he is forgetting a couple things like telling time, but should be easy to pick back up), so we plan on putting him back in Challenger the next school year. I think it helps that he just devours books --- we get new ones from the library all the time, even though the ALPs teacher doesn't seem to recognize his love or ability for reading whereas the Challenger teachers really congratulated us on how well he was doing (99 percentile reading after Kindergarten at Challenger). We will keep him in ALPs for the remainder of this year and hope to see some more signs of progress. He is pokey, so I can't say that it is all ALPs fault, but whatever Challenger did, it worked for him.
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:19 PM
5 posts, read 34,928 times
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Default Following up

In hindsight, I think it may have been too short a time period for me to correctly judge things. I'll see how the school year finishes up and post more next year. And again, this only our situation. If you take a mosaic of all the different student situations then you probably approach something close to reality.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:20 AM
2 posts, read 23,235 times
Reputation: 11
I had my kids at Challenger and then ALPS. Let me tell you. Challenger is an EXCELLENT school to allow kids to excel and learn the right principles. It is systematic and well done curriculum. Then, I was worried about going to public school and the quality etc.
I made the move to allow my kids to attend APS and that is an excellent program also. It allows to apply Challenger basics plus develop your son's mind to expand his own thinking. I do not regret to allow going to Challenger and then ALPS. It is the best thing I have done for my kids. Our Public School teachers are highly qualified when working on ALPS program. They bring the best of our children to study, enjoy, think, and develop skills that will be good when going to Middle, High School and University. If I had to do all over again, I would not change anything: Put them in Challenger and then Public School under ALPS.
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:41 PM
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Default Alps

Sorry to be so uninformed...can anyone tell me what the ALPS program is?
Is it in all public districts? Do you have to get in by lottery, IEP or some other way?
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:01 AM
2 posts, read 23,235 times
Reputation: 11
ALPS stands for Advanced Learning Program and it is available on only few schools. You have to check with your school district to find out which school offers that. Your kid has to take a test and go from there (if he scores high, most likely he will be accepted). The test is usually a 3 hour test, but again the school district may give you better details. Now, watch out! they do provide a little more homework than regular schools.
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