Central Heights Elementary School was recently recognized by the Confidence in Education Task Force for its success despite obstacles considered significant by a task force.

The Challenge Award is presented to schools for “making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population.” Nine schools were recognized by the Kansas task force for their work in the area of third-grade reading. The schools were: Central Heights Elementary School, Central Heights, USD 288; Cessna Elementary School, Wichita, USD 259; Fairview Elementary School, Olathe USD 233; Garfield School, Parsons USD 503; Lincoln Elementary School, Hutchinson USD 308; Lyons Central Elementary School, Lyons USD 405; Meadowview Elementary School, Labette County USD 506; OK Elementary School, Wichita USD 259; West Bourbon Elementary School, Uniontown USD 235.

Four of the nine award recipients, including Central Heights, partner with the Kansas Reading Roadmap (KRR), a reading initiative in 60 sites across the state which supports fundamental literacy skills with the goal of having all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade, task force officials said. KRR schools benefit from the Kansas MTSS model which uses data to match instruction during the school day with out-of-school literacy support.

Schools such as the Challenge Award recipients provide in-school, afterschool, summer and family engagement support to struggling readers to help them achieve grade-level proficiency by the end of third grade. Tutors and afterschool staff are the key to making the type of gains celebrated by the task force.

“The Challenge Award is due recognition for the impact the teachers and staff are making in these programs,” Andrew Hysell, executive director of KRR, said. “Despite the challenges they face in their schools, they are changing the futures of the students they work with.”

The Confidence Task Force is a non-profit corporation dedicated to strengthening confidence in Kansas public education and to increase awareness of the positive aspects of public education in this state. The Task Force was created in 1981 to promote cooperation among state education agencies, bring recognition to volunteers serving public education in Kansas, and to heighten awareness of the important role of public education in our society.