Program implemented to reduce stress

Maddox de Bretteville, Sports Editor

   Many students have become too focused on school. Therefore, they rarely have time for social interactions and are not developing the skills necessary to be successful in day-to-day life. High schoolers and even middle schoolers are spending too much time on busy work, resulting in all focus test scores and grades.

Fortunately, Challenge Success is trying to change that, breaking the loop that students find themselves stuck in. Challenge Success, a program by Stanford University,  reaches out to high schools around the country, to students succeed outside of the classroom and in the real world.

“It partners students, the community and families altogether to embrace a broader definition of what success is. It is getting a little bit away from just focusing on test scores and grades,” said Economics teacher Mark Alvarez.

   Challenge Success was first discussed in 2007, and 11 years later, it is having a visible effect on students. The program aims to alter specific school policies and homework as well as improving school culture and creating a more accepting environment. The program’s methods are backed by research and have been effective in influencing practices at many schools, by: implementing later bell schedules, changing grading policies, and reducing homework.

   “It redefines the parameters of what is a successful student; it doesn’t always have to be that 4.0 plus GPA and all those community service hours— there are also other ways to look at success, like the ability to work together and demonstrate versatility as it relates to tasks in school,” said principal Dr. Jason Allemann.    

Challenge Success could mean huge changes are coming to LBHS. Because of the recent calendar change, there is one less student day, which means that the bell schedule must adapt to meet the minimum instructional time requirement.

In addition to reducing stress at school, Challenge Success wants to change how a student makes decisions and deals with the pressures of going to college. However, the application process should be about getting into the right school that’s the best fit for the kid, not those that are prestigious and well known.

The program, like anything else, can only succeed if it receives support and feedback from the community. The LBUSD community must help students take a break from grades and test scores to encourage healthy development into adulthood.

“If the community as a whole has a different definition of what success is, it puts a little less pressure on kids to go to that number one school they can get in to,” said Alvarez. “It’s a task worth pursuing.”