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USD 428 wins three Challenge Awards
Claflin, Lyons and Macksville schools also cited
Great Bend High School administrators are shown with the 2021 Challenge Award. From left: Daryl Moore, assistant principal; Tim Friess, principal; Kip Wilson, assistant principal; and David Meter, activities director. - photo by Photos courtesy of Great Bend USD 428

Three schools at Great Bend USD 428 received 2021 Challenge Awards from the Kansas State Department of Education, Superintendent Khris Thexton said. Area schools in Claflin, Lyons and Macksville also received these awards that recognize the top 100 Kansas schools that are making a difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population.

The area schools receiving the award were:

• Central Plains Junior-Senior High School, Claflin

• Great Bend High School

• Park Elementary School, Great Bend

• Riley Elementary School, Great Bend

• Lyons Central Elementary School

• Macksville Elementary School


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.

Only schools that have a total percentage of free and reduced-price lunch students above the state average of 46.14% are eligible for recognition. 

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. The Department of Education also includes graduation rates when calculating high school results and chronic absenteeism rates for middle and elementary schools.