Award Year: 2019

Challenge Center School

3101 South 4th Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD, 57105-5809

(605) 367-6170

Mrs. Lynn Gillette, Principal at time of Nomination

Choice School

Sioux Falls 49-5 School District

School Website


Our mission is to challenge the high-ability students we serve to become well-rounded, independent learners.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 1%
  • White: 80%
  • Hispanic: 3%
  • Asian: 11%
  • Native American: 1%
  • Two or more races: 3%
Engaging our minds and bodies to grow our intelligence

Engaging our minds and bodies to grow our intelligence

High-ability learners are exposed to new academic heights at the Sioux Falls School District's Challenge Center. Students in grades 2 through 5 who test as gifted on the CogAT (ability) and MAP/ITBS (achievement) are invited to attend the Challenge Center for accelerated learning and deeper inquiry, connections, and research.

Curriculum is rigorous and instills a growth mindset. Students explore rich literature where critical thinking and inductive reasoning promote an open exchange of ideas through thoughtful classroom discussions. Science connections are made through hands-on experiments and, during two interims, in partnership with community leaders such as practicing scientists from the Sanford Research Center. Math is accelerated by at least one year for all students while double acceleration occurs for those demonstrating greater need.

The school embraces a culture of continual improvement for its students and staff. Effective, engaging, and interactive training is encouraged by leadership who makes teacher growth a priority through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs), Data Digs to evaluate long-term instruction and learning, and other research-based opportunities.

While advanced academic ability brings students together, relationship building and an intense focus on social and emotional well-being of self and others is a common thread in the culture. Students contribute to the needs of their community by making fleece blankets and conducting food drives as a means of learning an appreciation for diversity and developing understanding and respect for all. Recognizing unique needs of gifted learners, the Challenge Center is producing well-rounded, independent learners to serve as future leaders in their communities.