As we continue to move towards a more competitive business model in the world, it is important to take a step back and consider when this drastic change occurred. Being competitive is seen as a trait in the workplace, but has been seen to have less than desirable effects on people causing stress, integrity issues, and much more. So, if it’s such a bad thing, where did this drive begin, and how can we fix the problem before it gets out of hand? A lot of these emotional and academic problems can be found in students across the nation. In response to these developmental issues affecting children, a dream team of child developmental specialists met at Stanford University to hash out solutions to this growing problem. During the conference, groups dreamt up a coordinated action plan for schools and families struggling with the health of their students and children, this plan would push schools to implement alternative success models approved by and aligned with child development specialists.
It is from this original meeting that three concerned individuals got together and developed Challenge Success. Madeline Levine, Ph.D., Jim Lobdell, M.A., and Denise Pope, Ph.D., expanded on the ideas of the original project at Stanford University to create their own business, now known as Challenge Success. Through Challenge Success, these individuals have strived to implement practical curriculum, conferences, and programs all aimed at helping the education community.
Their mission, as found on their website, states that: “Challenge Success partners with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future.” They believe that by following a narrow definition of success, as we are currently doing at the School, does not allow for all students to thrive and only provides a narrow skillset. For the last 12 years, Challenge Success has helped push educators to implement systems that foster elements of the student that are typically not valued in more than 130 middle and high schools across the nation. Traits like creativity, collaborative skills, and thinking on your feet are just some of the many areas in which Challenge Success wishes to focus on and cultivate in students. They state that all of their solutions and programs are research-based and are all aimed at helping to improve the health of students while increasing their motivation.
In response to the implication of Challenge Success at the School, a student committee was put together to better connect the decisions made by Challenge Success and students’ opinions on the matter. The committee is comprised of two upper school students: Xena Wolf, class of 2017, and Andrew Burwick, class of 2018. When asked about what he believes Challenge Success is, Burwick stated, “Challenge Success offers new insight in defining success for high school students all across the world. At Head-Royce, we are looking to combat the students’ workload, mental and physical health, extracurricular schedule and more in order to bring a more balanced and healthy high school experience to students of all ages at the school. Part of what we are doing is making sure that students daily concerns are heard by the faculty in order to facilitate a more dynamic and healthy Head-Royce experience.” Overall, it will be interesting to follow the developments of the relationship between Challenge Success and the School as they unfold.