Challenge Award

2023 Challenge Award Winners/2022 Challenge Award Winners 2021 Challenge Award Winners


The Challenge Awards were created to honor schools that performed well on the state assessments and had high percentages of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including those who live in poverty and often members of a minority group.

Administrators and teachers have started to see the Challenge Awards as motivation to reach for even higher levels of academic performance. The awards help showcase the many positive academic achievements taking place in schools with predominately high-risk populations.

How does a school earn a Challenge Award?

The Challenge Awards recognize schools for outstanding achievements and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas math and reading assessment results and other qualifying factors, specifically the sample size, ethnicity and social-economic status of those taking the test. We also now include graduation rates when calculating high school results and chronic absenteeism rates for middle and elementary schools. The steps used to identify Challenge Award honorees are as follows:

  • A statistical model is used that includes math and reading state assessments scores, the percent of the sample that received free or reduced-priced lunch and the percent that were members of an ethnic minority. Graduation rates and chronic absenteeism are factors, too. The top 100 Kansas schools are then selected.
  • Only schools that have a total percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students above the state average of 46.14 percent are eligible for recognition. 
  • The schools are then sorted into State Board of Education districts.


Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force announces 2023 Challenge Award recipients

The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has named 97 schools as recipients of the 2023 Challenge Awards.

The awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Since its inception in 2002, more than 1,800 awards have been presented to schools across the state.

Certificates of Merit will be presented to schools by Kansas State Board of Education members.

The Challenge Award recognizes schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas Assessment results in math and reading, graduation rates, chronic absenteeism rates and the socio-economic status of those taking the test.

The Confidence in Public Education Task Force is a nonprofit corporation whose primary purpose is to strengthen confidence in Kansas public education and to increase awareness of the positive aspects of public education in the state. The Task Force was created in 1981.

Members of the Task Force include:

  • American Association of University Women
  • Kansas PTA
  • Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB)
  • Kansas National Education Association (KNEA)
  • Kansas State Board of Education
  • Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHAA)
  • Kansas Partners in Education
  • League of Women Voters – Kansas
  • United School Administrators of Kansas (USA-Kansas)

Please direct any questions regarding the Challenge Awards to Tamla Miller,


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