Blue Ribbon School

Our Philosophy

Challenger Basic School was founded on the principle that parents and staff will work together as partners to provide an education that encourages students to learn to think for themselves and to pursue academic excellence to the best of their abilities. The back-to-basics curriculum, accelerated pace of studies, and high expectations for academic achievement, behavior, and respect for themselves and others require a firm commitment from every parent, student, and teacher.

Our Mission

The mission of Challenger Basic School is to provide a quality education in every area of the curriculum. Implementation of the "Spalding" reading method will develop skilled readers, critical listeners, accomplished speakers, spellers, and writers. Students will reach their full potential and be lifelong learners through this enhanced back-to-basics approach to learning.

Our Curriculum

Challenger Basic School is an Arizona charter school that is committed to the foundational basics that has kindergartners able to read within a few months. It also has most students learning at advanced levels of 1-2 years ahead. Challenger is committed to seeing the students excel through back-to-basics teaching.

A solid foundation of fundamental and higher-level thinking skills is provided through a structured curriculum that is consistent within each grade level and sequential throughout the grades. The kindergarten through sixth grade curriculum is taught using whole-class instruction and approved teaching methods and is not interrupted for non-curricular programs or activities. A sequential curriculum will be utilized in the areas of Language Arts, Math, and Reading. New material is introduced each year which builds upon the previous year’s curriculum. Quality teaching strategies will infuse the relationship of the subject matter with real-world situations.



Spalding’s “The Writing Road to Reading” and SAVVAS is the adopted curriculum used for phonics. Phonograms will be articulated through daily oral and written practice.

We encourage parents to purchase a copy of the Spalding flashcards. Total cost is $20. Cards are available in the office.


The Spalding spelling program has a strong phonetic base that is emphasized daily. The program consistently teaches spelling, language rules, and vocabulary development. This is an integral part of the Language Arts curriculum.

Vocabulary development will be emphasized during spelling and in other content areas. Dictionary skills will also be taught. The upper grades will implement Greek and Latin roots as a part of the ELA instructions. The younger grades will implement dictionary skills and academic vocabulary.


Instruction in reading is an essential element and is a daily part of the curriculum. SAVVAS and Spalding’s “The Writing Road to Reading” are the programs that are utilized for reading. The students will learn to identify different text structures and apply specific mental actions through quality literature. Reading selections include classics and literature sets with wholesome ideals. Each room has its own library where students can access grade level books. Independent classroom reading is designed to encourage students to read books that offer a variety of subjects that extend and enhance what is being read in class.

Detailed book reports are required throughout the year. The number of reports are determined by each grade level. Book reports will be on books approved by the teacher within each student’s personal reading level. Failure to complete the required book report is considered a missed long-term assignment. Students will not be allowed to repeat book reports from previous years.

During the school year as a part of homework students will be required to read a specific number of books, pages, or minutes. This is included in the homework grade.


In accordance with grade level expectations, each student will participate in creative writing experiences as well as written book reports, research papers, informative, narrative, and argumentative writing pieces. Teachers will encourage students’ creativity while maintaining high expectations for organization, supporting evidence, conventions, and neatness.

Each Challenger student is expected to be able to express himself in written form in a grammatically correct manner that emphasizes clarity of thought and preciseness in spelling and penmanship. A variety of writing experiences are provided at each grade level, using the adopted Spalding’s “The Writing Road to Reading”, and SAVVAS.


SAVVAS and Shurley English are the programs implemented in the CBS language curriculum. Workbooks are utilized as part of the daily practice when learning the fundamental aspects of English grammar, its rules, and usage. Composition and poetry are an integral part of the program.


Mathematics is taught daily and receives a great deal of emphasis. The program uses oral drill and written practice sheets and stresses memorization of math facts. Metric and modern math terms are included. The textbook used is Saxon Math and supplemented with other sources. A timed math facts test will be a part of the weekly testing 1-6 grades.


Each student will memorize and recite for the teacher and class one selection of either prose or poetry once a month.

Social Studies

This program emphasizes the study of history and geography. Memorization of important geographical and historical data is required. The State standard inquiry process is part of the program. The textbooks and curriculum implemented are:

Other supplemental material will be implemented as well. Constitution Week and Founding Fathers Week are celebrated.

AZ-SS 3 Dimensional Science

The disciplinary core ideas are physical, earth and space, and life sciences. The program uses phenomena and inquiry as well as hand on experiments. Grades K-5 will implement Mystery Science.


The Spalding handwriting program is taught in all grades. Cursive writing is introduced in the latter part of second grade. Neatness and legibility of penmanship are stressed through daily drill. Spalding’s “The Writing Road to Reading” is the text used for handwriting.

Citizenship / All Things E.Q. (Emotional Quotient)

Honesty, respect, responsibility, courtesy, emotional quotient and the meaning of citizenship are taught as part of our social emotional learning curriculum. Teachers set examples for students through mini lessons and teach them through acknowledgment and praise.


A structured general music appreciation program is taught in all grades. Each class will perform once a year. These performances are required and grades will be reflected based on attendance and participation. Dates for the programs are given ahead in order for families to plan accordingly. Please notify the music teacher well in advance if your child is unable to participate so an alternate assignment can be given to make-up for the missed performance. Noncompliance of either of these requirements will result in a lower grade.


(3-6 grades) Challenger’s computer curriculum supports our school principles and emphasizes the use of computers as tools to en- hance classroom learning. Computer usage is aligned with Challenger’s educational curriculum and goals.

Physical Education

Each child at Challenger Basic School participates in a structured physical education experience. The physical education program is designed to teach children important physical skill development that will carry over into day-to-day life and help promote good health.

PE excused activities: A doctor’s statement will be required for children who need to be excused/restricted from P.E. activities for more than a week. For less than a week, a note from the child’s parent/guardian will be sufficient.


Art appreciation is a part of the basic program. Art is used to emphasize holidays and seasons and, where appropriate, is incorporated into other areas of study. Art activities are kept to a minimum and emphasize traditional art concepts. Throughout the year the school also provides “Art in the Classroom” which has meaningful lessons taught by parent volunteers.