Field Day Theme Announced

The Annual Challenge Charter Schools’ Field Day will once again be held at Bayswater Park on June 22nd from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is held for the entire student body of K-8 graders and is organized as a joint effort between our K-5, Middle School, and the Challenge Preparatory Charter School and Challenge Charter Middle School Parent Associations. Founder and CEO, Rev. Dr. Les Mullings announced that the theme for this year’s Field Day will be “Take a Stand.”

"Field Day is a long-standing tradition for Challenge Charter Schools focused on fun outdoor activities that bring our entire student body and staff together along with many valuable parent volunteers. It is a celebration day by nature. However, with the continuation of regular violence in our schools, I felt that our theme for the event this year needed to reflect our great concern for the safety of all students.

We acknowledge the changes that need to be made to keep schools safe, and we have reviewed and updated our own procedures for a number of emergency situations this year. Students have a right to go to school to learn and grow, yet many of them now fear for their safety and their very lives every day. To honor those students who have lost their lives and for those who are seeking change and making their voices known, our theme is 'Take a Stand.'

Leading up to the event, I've asked our principals and teachers to engage our scholars in the theme through student projects. I look forward to how our scholars will communicate and respond to this important issue," said Dr. Mullings.

Over 20 activity stations and food will be offered for 800 students, their families, teachers, staff and community leaders to enjoy. Local sponsors such as McDonalds, Stop & Shop, Herman’s Deli, Costco and Chipotle have offered to donate food and supplies for the event.

Dr. Mullings will serve as host to community leaders and elected officials along with scholar presentations around the theme. Over 1500 people are expected to attend this year’s Field Day, and we encourage the entire CCS family to #takeastand with us. Please share the theme and do what you can to promote safety in our schools.

 Field Day 2018 Flyer

Field Day 2018 Flyer

K-5 Challenge Day Camp

There is still time to save on registrations for our K-5 Summer Day Camp. Our annual day camp is from Monday, July 9th to Friday, August 3rd and features fun and educational activities in a safe environment. Campers will learn through arts, technology, sports and will go on field trips around the area. They will also have special entertainment from our school's mascot Champ the Cheetah the last week of camp. Champ heads up Project Character, teaching students important words and concepts to encourage having good character qualities. 

If you register and pay in FULL by June 15th, you save $50 off every camper. Siblings also receive a 10% discount. Only want one week of camp? You must pay by June 28th to get the one week option. Visit the camp website today for details and to download and print your required forms.

We can't wait to see your K-5 Camper this summer!

 $50 Off K-5 Day Camp Flyer

$50 Off K-5 Day Camp Flyer

A Great Big Lottery Night

On Thursday, April 19th, 2018, Challenge Charter Schools celebrated it's biggest Lottery Night in the history of the school. With over 1800 applications, the event was moved from the gym at the school's 710 Hartman location to Far Rockaway High School to accommodate the many families attending that night.

The K-5's mascot, Champ the Cheetah, made an appearance with puppeteer and magician Steve Pennington who warmed up the crowd. Greetings and welcome were offered by Founder and CEO Rev. Dr. Les Mullings who shared a taste of the future plan for Challenge Charter Schools. Mrs. Tameeka Richards, Director of Enrollment and Recruitment, also welcomed the crowd and explained how the evening's drawing would proceed.

After a brief overview of the academic and extracurricular programs from K-5 Principal Nicole Griffin and 6-8 Principal Mavgar Mondesir-Gordon, various staff members and special guests helped draw and read each name which took over three hours. A translator and translation devices were available for families needing any assistance. Families were warmly welcomed by the school's teachers and staff, and Summer Day Camp information for grades K-5 was also made available.   

Each year, Challenge hosts the Lottery Night to fill the empty seats for Kindergarten and any other seats that are vacant in 1st though 8th grade. The seats are filled with a random drawing system with each name given a number in order it was drawn. All names beyond the available seats are placed on a wait list.

An Exciting Time for Challenge Charter Schools

With a rich foundation in music since its inception in 2010, a decision was made to add a wider scope of Performing Arts to Challenge Charter Schools at the start of the 2017-18 school year. Founder and CEO, Rev. Dr. Les Mullings always had a vision for adding high quality arts training to the many enrichment activities available to the scholars of Challenge Prep and Challenge Middle.

To help facilitate that vision, he brought in Jamaican reggae singer, Nadine Sutherland as the Performing Arts Director in August of 2017. The premiere performance for the program, Winter Wonderland, was held in December of last year and featured students from 3rd to 8th grade.

As she began her after school and weekend training of scholars, Ms. Sutherland simultaneously started looking to the community and greater city of New York for strategic partnerships. Sutherland jokingly calls herself a dancer who became a singer, and she quickly recognized that the arts scholars she was coming into contact with would need expert training to be able to get into Performing Arts High Schools.

She visited Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and connected with Cathryn Williams who is responsible for the Ailey Arts in Education and Community Program. Ms. Williams encouraged Challenge Charter Schools to look at their residency program. Now every student in Kindergarten through 8th Grade receive on-site professional dance training every week including Tap, Ballet, West African, and Hip Hop.

Dr. Mullings hopes to continue the training for a minimum of five years saying, “Alvin Ailey is one of the most sought after and sophisticated professional dance theaters in our country, so it was natural for us to pursue a partnership for our scholars. We always seek to develop the whole person in our students, teaching them to thrive and grow to be great citizens. We provide educational opportunities where our scholars shine in and out of the classroom.

“Unfortunately, Far Rockaway has been underserved for many years. In the past, we have been the ‘end of the line,’ an afterthought, but that is thankfully changing. This special partnership with Alvin Ailey Arts in Education helps to give our children the same opportunities that students experience elsewhere,” Mullings concluded.

In late February, Mullings was recognized for his ongoing community work and personal commitment to improving education when he was awarded the Queens Borough Spirit Award from the African American Heritage Committee and President Melinda Katz. During his keynote address at the event, he reminded the attendees that education is not a privilege but rather an important right for every child in America.

Eight years ago, it was the tireless vision of Dr. Mullings to develop and create the school to serve the needs of the Far Rockaway community that resulted in the opening of Challenge Preparatory Charter School. This academic year represents the realization of the full charter as 8th Grade was added for the first time in the school's history.

“We are always looking to improve the learning experience of our scholars, and we take seriously the need for each student to ultimately get a college education. To that end, we have new offerings at our Middle School including Honors courses for 8th Graders and an expanded Athletics program, in addition to Performing Arts. We encourage families with rising Kindergartners to rising 8th Graders who want high academic standards and robust enrichment activities through our electives and after school activities to apply.”

The school is in high demand with over 1800 applications for the upcoming 2018-19 school year. With most of the applications from parents seeking spots for Kindergarten, Challenge Charter Schools is expanding. There are plans to add three additional Kindergarten classes by 2019 with 9th grade to follow for the 2020-21 school year pending authorizer approval.

Challenge Charter students are already benefiting from the expanded programs and connections made through the addition of Performing Arts. Dancer Malachi Kingston received a full scholarship with the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center after Sutherland landed him an audition with the founder. For four years, Dwana Smallwood served as part of the staff for Oprah’s Leadership Academy for Girls before returning to New York to build her thriving arts program.

Following high school application season, several of the rising 9th graders have been accepted at the reputable Townsend Harris High School. In addition, the growing sports program now includes Swim classes in conjunction with the Rockaway YMCA.

“The future is very bright for our school. As we continue to enrich the lives and learning of our existing scholars, we stay committed to the remaining need in the community for better education for all children in Far Rockaway. I am so proud to lead our committed group of teachers and staff in this endeavor, ” said Mullings.  

The application deadline for the 2018-19 school year is March 29th. Challenge Charter School hosts its Lottery Night on April 19th. Dance recitals to showcase what the students of Challenge Charter have learned from the Alvin Ailey program will take place in May.

Mullings Receives Spirit Award

 Dr. Mullings is honored with the Spirit Award

Dr. Mullings is honored with the Spirit Award

Pastor, school founder, and widely-recognized community leader, Rev. Dr. Les Mullings was recently awarded the Queens Borough Spirit Award from the African American Heritage Committee and President Melinda Katz. The award ceremony took place on Monday, February 26th, 2018 at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

The ceremony recognized community leaders who have made an impact on the borough along with the next generation of young leaders. Rev. Dr. Mullings was also the keynote speaker for the event. After accepting his award, he addressed the crowd admonishing them to encourage and support the young people who are paving the way to a better future.

At the event, college scholarships of $1000 were given to a group of 12 exceptional high school students, as well as awards to men and women working across Queens in science, journalism, education, business and more.

“This award ceremony is a testament to the good people across Queens who care about our communities and the needs we see all around us.” commented Mullings. “We have a lot of work before us, and I am honored to be amongst these great men and women and the students that represent our bright future.”

Bricks for Kidz

Recently our 5th grade scholars experienced an in-school field trip using Lego Robotics. Bricks 4 Kidz is a workshop that uses LEGO Bricks to deliver hands-on lessons correlated to cross-disciplinary curriculum objectives. The Bricks 4 Kidz approach to learning is imaginative, multi-sensory and fun, creating a dynamic learning experience for your students.

Bricks 4 Kidz models are the centerpiece of the lesson, which includes an educator-scripted discussion designed to engage students in a discovery process. Their experienced teachers provided everything needed including LEGO Bricks, model plans, and a power-point presentation. 

Our workshop theme was cars and motion. Scholars were highly engaged while learning such important topics as laws of motion, and robotics. Scholars were able to make connections between modes of transportation in the past and present, as well as collaborate with their peers to build a moving vehicle. Scholars got to choose what additions to put on their creations and to make observations about the change in speed while adding accessories to their vehicle. 

Bricks 4 Kidz  is a recognized NYCDOE Provider and for more information you can visit https://www.bricks4kidz.com/. Challenge Charter Schools look for learning experiences like this for all of our scholars as part of our STEM initiatives.

A Man of Service from the Beginning

This week our school family celebrates the many years of service of Custodian Raphael Charles. Mr. Charles, as he is known in our halls, will be retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

 Mr. Raphael Charles

Mr. Raphael Charles

When CEO and Founder, Rev. Dr. Mullings approached Mr. Charles about a job, Challenge Preparatory Charter School was meeting at Golden Maple Elementary while the building at 710 Hartman was being remodeled. When the property at Hartman was ready, the basement and first floor were used for Kindergarten and First Grade.

“When we moved into the new building, it was challenging and there was a lot of work. Mr. Morris and I were the crew at that time. I typically arrived at 6:00am and left about 6 or 7 at night,” Mr. Charles recalled.

Ms. Ward-Brew remembered what it was like then and shared, “In the early days of Challenge Prep, I used to close out the building with the custodial staff.  Everytime Mr. Charles would pass by my classroom, he would scold me and tell me to go home, and I would smile and tell him that I had work to do. He would walk away grumbling and mumbling in classic Mr. Charles style. He continued to scold and lecture me as we left the building. You see, Mr. Charles knew I had a 2-hour commute ahead of me, and he was concerned.  Mr. Charles can scold, lecture, and make you smile at the same time, because you know he cares!”

The work continued as the school expanded. Mr. Charles became a regular “fixture” as grades were added. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Charles came to the U.S. in 1987. He visits his brother, cousins and friends there every couple of years, but he hasn’t made any long-term plans for retirement.

When asked what he will miss the most about being here every day, Mr. Charles replied, “Seeing the kids. Challenge is all about the kids, and I see the teachers doing a great job with these kids. I know that school is going to be taken care of. I know that there are good people that will come and fill my shoes.”

On Friday, February 9th a dinner and celebration will be held at 5:30 PM to express heartfelt thanks for Mr. Charles’ dedication and hard work. Teachers and staff are encouraged to attend the celebration which will be held at 710 Hartman Lane in the gym.

“We will miss Mr. Charles greatly at Challenge Prep. He went beyond his work to show compassion and concern for our students, and I appreciate his many years with us,” Dr. Mullings stated. “We wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Application Season in Full Swing

 Parents gather on Lottery Night

Parents gather on Lottery Night

Challenge Preparatory Charter School is celebrating 8 years of excellence in education in Far Rockaway, NY. In recent years, a Middle School for 6-8 grades at 1526 Central Avenue was added following the success of the K-5 site at 710 Hartman Lane.

Challenge Prep is now taking lottery applications for 2018-19 which are due by 5:00p on Thursday, March 29, 2017. The school provides excellent support services for English Language Learners (ELLs) and Special Education scholars particularly in Community School District 27.

“We have exciting new offerings at our Middle School including Honors courses for 8th Graders, an expanded Athletics program, and a Performing Arts Department with music, theater and dance. We encourage families with rising Kindergartners to rising 8th Graders who want high academic standards and robust enrichment activities through our electives and after school activities to apply,” said Founder/CEO Rev. Dr. Les Mullings.

Families interested in applying are invited to attend an Open House in the coming weeks. Open Houses will be offered in the evenings from 5:00-6:00 p.m. At the Middle School at 1526 Central Avenue, Open House dates are the following Thursdays: February 1st and March 8th. At the K-5 site at 710 Hartman Lane, Open House dates are the following Thursdays: February 8th, March 1st, and March 15th.

The Open Houses at either location will feature a tour of the site, an overview of the educational model, student services offered, and a question and answer session. Spanish translators will be available at every Open House, and additional Open Houses will be added as needed.

The random lottery for all grades will take place on April 19th, at 7:00p at the K-5 site at 710 Hartman Lane. The current application can be found at nyccharterschools.schoolmint.net/network/challengecharterschools once an account is created on the NYC Charter School Center site.

If you have questions about applying to Challenge Preparatory Charter School, please call Mrs. Tameeka Richards, Executive Director of Expansion at 718-327-4040 ext. 512.

 

National Grid Offers Free Smoke Detectors

CEO/Founder Dr. Mullings announced that National Grid will be visiting us this Wednesday, January 24th to provide families with free smoke detectors. To receive a device, you must call or go on the website for an appointment as listed on the flyer below.

Once you have an appointment, a team will bring the smoke detector and install it in your home. Please note, you must be home at your appointment time. 

Smoke detectors save lives, and the lives of our children and families are priceless. We encourage you to take advantage of this program and sign up for your appointment today.

 English Flyer

English Flyer

 Spanish Flyer

Spanish Flyer