This article originally appeared in the winter 2011 Harker Quarterly and was reprinted in Harker News Online.

The Harker School has a long history of promoting the morals and character of its students, encouraging discovery of unique talents and passions and giving students opportunities to figure out who they are, and what they love. Recently, Harker added another dimension to its commitment to the whole student when the school was accepted as a Challenge Success partner.

Sponsored by Stanford University’s School of Education, Challenge Success “challenges the conventional, high pressure and narrow path to success and offers practical alternatives to pursue a broader definition of success,” said Butch Keller, upper school head.

“Partnering with Challenge Success is a good
match for Harker. Their mission is to improve
 student well-being and engagement with learn
ing, so the work we are doing at Challenge Success is a reflection of our philosophy, in many ways,” added Jennifer Gargano, assistant head of school for student affairs.

As a first step, Harker sent a team of administrators, faculty, parents and students to a weekend conference in early October. They attended workshops and met with Harker’s Challenge Success coach, Erika Fur.

“Erika is really a facilitator and helped us identify and clearly articulate our own goal,” said Gargano. “In general, our goal is to promote educational excellence and intellectual curiosity while honoring who our students are and their needs at every stage of development. We will meet with Erika in January so we can flesh out the goal and discuss potential action items. Later, we will discuss any steps we need to take to ensure we meet our goal.”

The Challenge Success team will attend the spring conference at Stanford to assess progress at that point and plan for the future to achieve Harker’s goals to best help students help themselves. If you would like more information, you can visit www. You can also read more about the Harker team in Harker News Online; search on “Challenge Success.”

Team members are Gargano; Cindy Ellis, middle school head; Melinda Gonzales, academic counselor; Rebecca Williams, middle school English teacher; Mala Raghavan, upper school chemistry teacher; Helena Jerney, parent (Cristina, grade 11 and John Nicolas, grade 8); Jenny Chen, grade 11 student; and Darian Edvalson, grade 10 student.


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