K-5 Summer Day Camp

It’s time to plan for summer! The K-5 Challenge Day Camp (CDC) has been offered for seven years to provide an educational adventure shaped by fun and friends, featuring STEAM, culinary arts, technology, field trips, art, tennis, soccer and lots more! The 2019 will be held July 8th through August 2nd for grades K-5.

The highly successful day camp is known for fantastic programming that features field trips, sports, crafts, STEAM activities, and exciting special features including performances by Steve Pennington and Friends for the participants. CDC draws upon the faculty and staff from Challenge Prep as well as the Far Rockaway community to serve as the CDC Team.

The regular cost of the camp is $595. You can save $100 by registering and paying in full by May 31st. Siblings receive a 10% discount. 

Register your child today! It's going to be a great summer at the CDC. 

K-5 Summer Day Camp Flyer

K-5 Summer Day Camp Flyer

K-5 CDC Spanish Flyer

K-5 CDC Spanish Flyer

We need YOU! It's Parent Survey Time

It's that time of the year again: SURVEY TIME! Our Family Engagement Coordinators, Mrs. Wiggins (K-5) and Mrs. Vaughn (6-8) have been working hard to get the word out about this annual and important time of year. New to the survey or wonder why we need every family to participate?

“Every year families take the NYC School Survey to share feedback about our school. Survey feedback can help improve your scholar’s learning,” explained Mrs. Vaughn.

Last year we had over 60% of families respond, but it simply isn’t enough for Challenge Charter. This year, Mrs. Wiggins and Mrs. Vaughn would love to see our K-8 parents achieve 100% participation.

As Mrs. Wiggins expressed, “Feedback is great for Challenge Prep Charter School, as it helps us improve our programs. I encourage each family to complete theirs today.”

Families can complete the survey in person at our school sites (710 Hartman and 1279 Redfern) or online by visiting NYCSchoolSurvey.org. We are hoping to reach 100% by the end of Parent Teacher Conferences on March 19 and 20, but the last day to complete the NYC School Survey is Wednesday, April 3, 2019.

Perhaps the best part is that scholars will be rewarded when his or her family participates. Middle School scholars will receive an Ice Cream Party on Wednesday, March 27th if they have a completed survey by Parent Teacher Conferences. K-5 scholars will receive $10 Cheetah Bucks for every survey completed.

Progress Reports are being shared every week on our Facebook page. As of March 8th, we had 13% of surveys completed. We hope you will take a few moments to fill out your survey today.

Mrs. Wiggins Survey Flyer

Mrs. Wiggins Survey Flyer

Apply for the 2019-20 School Year

We love Application Season at Challenge! It’s a great time of welcoming new families who are interested in our school. This year’s deadline to apply for the 2019-20 academic year is April 1st, 2019 at 5:00P.

Mrs. Tameeka Richards, Director of Enrollment and Recruitment as well as a long-time employee of our school, leads the efforts for the application process.

Richards reflected on this busy part of the year saying, “Every year, I look forward to meeting new families that are so optimistic about what Challenge brings to the community. Annually, the Enrollment team meets families at daycares, Open Houses and on Lottery Night. They all want the same thing for their children, and that is to get their child into our school. The demand for our school keeps me energized and committed to getting the word out there that we are accepting applications, so more families can have the opportunity to experience a great education within a safe and supportive environment. These are the reasons I am so excited every year. I get to open the door to more families and change lives.

Our website has full information on Applying (English or Spanish) including many FAQs. To apply online, go to our portal on School Mint. We also host Open Houses to provide a way for interested families to see the difference at Challenge.

“At these events, families can expect the full Challenge Prep experience. They will get to meet the leaders and teachers that work hard on a daily basis to create the school and environment our scholars love and enjoy. They will experience a day in the life of a CPCS scholar and get a tour of our state of the art facilities,” explained Richards.

Our next and final Open Houses this season are Thursday, March 7th at 5:30P at 1279 Redfern Avenue and Thursday, March 14th at 5:30P at 710 Hartman Lane. Lottery night where all names will be drawn for open seats and the waiting list will be held April 11th.

For inquiries or information about applying, contact Mrs. Richards at trichards@challengecharterschools.org or call 718-327-4040 Ext. 512.

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CPCS Basketball

Our fabulous Coaches Hassel and Reilly!

Our fabulous Coaches Hassel and Reilly!

As CPCS has developed, so has the offering of sports and other after school programs. Under the leadership of Coaches Ryan Hassel and Stephen Reilly, our boys’ basketball team has become another reason Cheetah pride is thriving. With an amazing 4-0 record for the Cheetahs so far, the start of their season is a testament to their hard work.

As they continue to grow in their skills, the Coaches report that the team is working hard everyday and has improved dramatically since they began playing. During practices, the team works on fundamentals such as dribbling, passing, and shooting. With many of the scholars being new to the game, the coaches are making sure they get the basics down before getting into anything more complex.

“We have a great group of boys who challenge themselves and each other to be better everyday,” commented Coach Hassel.

Scholar Demetrius Brown leads in scoring, averaging over 8 points per game. There are four more games left in the season, and plans are in the works to host another home game at CPCS. With limited space in our gym, families of the basketball team and cheerleading squad are invited to join these events for now.

The next away game for the Cheetahs is on Thursday, January 31st at 5:15 p.m. at Merrick Academy. Please join us there in support of our great basketball team.

Go Cheetahs!

Go Cheetahs!



Staff Focus: Eunice Armstrong

A few weeks ago, we welcomed Ms. Eunice Armstrong as our new Director of Finance to Challenge Charter Schools. Recently we had a chance to find out a bit about Ms. Armstrong and how in this key role, she brings her experience and leadership to bear.

Q: What excites you most about being a part of the Challenge Charter Schools staff?

Armstrong: I am excited to be a part of such a dynamic and caring team, from the educators to the administration who work tirelessly to provide a world class education, especially in Far Rockaway.

Q: What is your background in financial leadership?

Armstrong: I have almost 10 years financial experience in the non-profit & charter school sector, particularly with helping these types of organizations with budget management & operational system creation. Grant management has also been a significant part of my experience with city, state, and federal level funding & compliance.

Q: What hobby or activity do you spend time on when you're away from work?

Armstrong: I spend my free time engaged in charity work with some of my favorite organizations like The Bowery Mission.

Q: With the recent holidays we wonder, what is your favorite holiday treat?

Armstrong: My favorite holiday treat is eggnog, perfect for holiday gatherings.

Miracle on Hartman Lane

Our annual Winter Show, held on Friday, December 14th at 9:00 and 1:30, included a retrospect of our history as a school from the beginning to today. The Miracle on Hartman Lane started a little over eight years ago when the vision of Rev. Dr. Les Mullings along with key leaders and community support came to fruition.

Under the direction of Music Johnson, K-5 scholars performed selections by grade and wore clothing to go with the theme chosen for their grade level. Songs included popular hits such as “Holiday,” “I’ll Be There,” and “A Million Dreams.” Music Banks and Principal Griffin served as narrators for the history of Challenge Preparatory Charter School as families filled the gym to standing room only.

Banks reflected on memories such as the opening day of the school on August 23, 2010. Just two years later, the school was rocked by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and had to move to a temporary space in Brooklyn. Even as the school dealt with its own damage and thousands of dollars of lost books and supplies, Dr. Mullings led Challenge Prep to reach out to a community in great need. Looking back, we humbly began with less than twenty employees serving three grades and now have over 100 employees serving almost 800 students.

Great thanks was expressed for Dr. Mullings and his great vision that continues in our proposed expansion for the 2019-20 school year. Several employees and advisors that have been with Challenge since the beginning include Lonzil McClean, Denise Cummings, Jacqueline Ward-Brew, Tameeka Richards, Music Banks, Senior Advisor Michael Estep, and Founding Board Member Ben Waxman.

The show ended with the traditional “12 Days of Christmas” in Challenge Prep style as started by Music Banks years before. Our Middle School Winter Show will end in similar fashion as it is performed on Wednesday, December 19th at 10:00A.

We thank all the families that attended and our great staff for their hard work to create a fabulous Miracle on Hartman Lane.

CPCS Winter Show

We are pleased to announce our annual Winter Show which will take place on Friday, December 14th at 710 Hartman Lane. Two identical shows will be performed at 9:00A and 1:30P. K-2 families are encouraged to attend in the morning, and 3-5 families in the afternoon.

The theme of this year’s show is Miracle on Hartman Lane and our K-5 scholars will be performing seasonal favorites and popular music from diverse genres such as the Jackson 5 and The Greatest Showman.

We hope to see you there!

CPCS Winter Show 2018

CPCS Winter Show 2018


New Art Teacher: Traci Gautier

Our New Teacher articles let you get to know our new teachers as we welcome them to Challenge Charter Schools this year. Ms. Gautier was a long-term sub before becoming our Art Teacher, and we are glad she has joined our staff to teach this creative and important subject.

Ms. Gautier in the art room teaching our scholars.

Ms. Gautier in the art room teaching our scholars.

Why is it important our scholars learn about and participate in art classes?

It is important that our scholars learn about and participate in art because it helps them become more creative, confident, focused and helps them to use non-verbal communication. I tell my scholars all the time when you open up your creative side, you can use it for Writing, ELA and even Math. So when they tell me they can't, I want them to prove to themselves that they can.

What are some of the upcoming art projects for this year? 

One major upcoming project I have in mind is a school wide art auction where the scholars will be able to create artwork and have their artwork bid on by the parents.

What is your favorite color and why?

My absolute number one favorite color is blue! I like any and every shade of blue, it's just so calming and soothing. I painted my son’s bedroom blue, and my dishes in my home are blue. Even my pots and pans set is blue. It's just a color that makes me happy. It makes me feel like I'm on an island or in California LOL.

What one word or short phrase describes your focus for the 2018-19 academic year?

My phrase that describes my focus for the 2018-19 academic year is: "It's not about perfection, it's about effort.” 

Staff Focus: K-5 AP Jasmine Shepherd

At Challenge Charter Schools, we have a number of staff members in support roles to help our scholars and teachers do their very best. Recently, I had the chance to learn more about K-5 Assistant Principal, Jasmine Shepherd and her unique role at Challenge Prep. Shepherd’s own growth through education and mentorship have taught her the value of hard work and perseverance, and she brings those qualities to her work each day.

Messer: In your role as Director of Curriculum and Instruction, what are some of your daily activities, and how do they benefit the school/scholars/teachers?

K-5 AP Jasmine Shepherd

K-5 AP Jasmine Shepherd

Shepherd: I work very closely with teachers by providing them with daily feedback on lesson plans, execution of their instruction, and by deep diving into our curriculum to ensure that teachers understand our curriculum and know the benefits of our program. In addition to coaching and developing teachers, I spend a lot of time researching best teaching practices and preparing professional development sessions to further advance our staff in their craft. The more confident our teachers feel with lesson planning, lesson executing, and understanding our curriculum the more our scholars will benefit.  

Messer: Name a person who was a positive influence on your career and why/what they did to help you?

Shepherd: My mentor who is currently a principal of a middle/high school in Queens has had a positive influence on my career as he has planted strong leadership seeds in me and has supported me through some of the toughest moments in my career. Through his mentorship I've learned to persevere and to work hard for what I want. I've learned from my mentor that there is nothing too hard to achieve as long as I put my mind and heart to it I can achieve it.    

Messer: What excites you most about education?

Shepherd: Being able to see my growth as an intellectual excites me most about education. I've come such a long way to where I am now, simply because I had a great education and have chosen to continue with furthering my education. Education has also allowed me to visit many places through my imagination. I am able to have intellectual conversations with my counterparts about many different topics because of the many things that education has exposed me to.

Messer: What is your favorite hobby or one thing that people might be surprised about you?

Shepherd: I enjoy going food shopping. Food shopping is therapeutic to me as I go through each aisle of my local supermarket looking for great deals on items that my family enjoys eating.  I could spend two hours walking up and down the aisles of my supermarket.