Dawson strives to be a beacon school for Challenge Success where student voice is the fabric of the culture. Our goal is to build and maintain a community where the definition of success focuses on student engagement, belonging, and well-being. We aim to empower our students to advocate for their needs while balancing academics with social and physical well-being and success.
Challenge Success at Dawson
At the Alexander Dawson School, we are challenging the traditional definition of success by believing the following:
Success should be defined on an individual basis - and go beyond grades and accolades
An individual's emotional needs fuels their individual growth
Student voice must drive decision making about how schools can provide a well-balanced experience
Research on schedules, projects, assessment, climate of care, and community education should absolutely influence the design of a well-balanced student experience
Schools cannot be afraid to adapt and must be willing to change
Transforming Student Experiences with Dr. Denise Pope
Challenge Success is a non-profit school reform organization founded in 2003 at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Based on the seminal research of Dr. Denise Pope, Challenge Success promotes the idea that there is a multitude of ways to be successful in life. We must value children for their unique identities and assets rather than focusing on achievement, status, and other external measures of success to which our society is accustomed.
Challenge Success works with teams of educators, parents, and students at partner schools to identify problems and implement best practices and policies in areas such as curriculum, assessment, homework, school schedules, and a healthy school climate. They support parents by providing the tools to help their children regain their balance, strengthen their sense of self, increase their motivation and critical thinking skills, and learn how to deal effectively with the inevitable challenges of life. Lastly, they conduct, collect, and synthesize research, so that the public can make informed decisions that will enable all children to thrive. Challenge Success has worked with over 750 schools and surveyed over 350,000 students in 20 years.
Challenge Success believes that our society has become too focused on grades, test scores, and performance, leaving little time for kids to develop the necessary skills to become resilient, ethical, and motivated learners. They partner with schools, families, and communities to embrace a broad definition of success and to implement research-based strategies that promote student well-being and engagement with learning. After all, success is measured over the course of a lifetime, not at the end of a semester. Dawson has embraced this broad definition of success and aspires to help students find a healthy balance between academic, social, and physical development that is developmentally appropriate.
Read Stanford University’s latest White Paper about how high school students need to value fit over selectivity and challenge the traditional definitions of what a successful college search process and its outcomes look like.
The “Do You Know” resource page offers facts from relevant research in the fields of health, education, and psychology. Challenge Success reviews data on topics such as sleep, cheating, mental health, media, play, and more. Visit the website for a few sample facts and download the corresponding PDF file to read all the facts along with source citations.
Challenge Success was founded in 2007 by Madeline Levine, Ph.D and Denise Pope, Ph.D. Leaders in the arena of education and adolescent development, Drs. Levine and Pope have researched and written extensively about education and adolescent development. Click here for a list of books written by the founders, board members, Stanford colleagues and conference speakers.
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.