Student, Teacher and Police participants at the two Challenge Day workshop series held in Vacaville in 1997 believe the personal development and educational experience positively impacted their lives. In this research study, designed to determine the impact and value the one day program had on participant’s lives, nine school and community leaders were interviewed and three separate questionnaires were administered to 168 students, 78 teachers, and 19 police officers. Challenge Day is a very powerful and, at times, emotional program that opens participants up and provides a positive vision for interconnectedness and support. The program very deeply explores oppression, the nature of feelings and how we each express and suppress feelings. It also teaches a set of knowledge, attitudes and skills which foster mutual support (individual and collective) and a united school campus and city. Students overwhelmingly report a clear increase in knowledge and skills. They also believe school is made to feel safer as a result of the program. Students report improvements in their relationship with other students and the teachers who attended. Teachers believe that school has become a better place as more students experience the program. They also report that it is beneficial to them if their colleagues attend the program. Police officers report that they believe their image has improved in the eyes of youth and that they have experienced the building of bridges between police and youth. The school principals and assistant principals believe the program has positively impacted the schools’ culture and are inspired by the leadership example set by city officials in establishing the program. They also report that the lessons and topics from the program provide all in the city with a ‘common language’ which helps build professional and social bridges within the community and between the various schools. Approximately 1,800 people in Vacaville went to a Challenge Day in either the Spring or Fall of 1997. This research is of practical relevance to the Vacaville Unified School District, Vacaville City administration, and Challenge Associates, the organization that presents the program. The surveys and results are appended along with the objectives of the Challenge Day Program.


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research