Challenge Program

What is the Challenge program?

Challenge program offers services to academically advanced students in grades 3, 4, and 5. The program aims to give students opportunities to understand contents deeper, at higher levels, and apply their knowledge to grade level curriculum and beyond. Challenge program teachers work with grade level groups weekly. They also work with classroom teachers to provide additional support and resources.

Math Olympiads is also offered through the Challenge program and runs after school between October and March. Nominated math enthusiasts are invited to attend and participate in monthly math Olympiads contests. The program is offered at each elementary and middle school where a Math Olympiads coach is available. To learn more about Math Olympiads, visit

What is the selection process for the program?

In order to help identify students in need of Challenge services for the upcoming year, the Challenge

program administers the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) in April of every academic year. The tests are administered in three sessions and include three areas of assessment: verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal. Participation in the testing process is one of the requirements and is for screening purposes only. Students can be nominated by teachers and referred by parents, if they feel students can benefit from Challenge program services.

Accepted students’ academic progress is monitored and students must be able to continually meet required expectations in Challenge and in the classrooms in order to resume participation in the program.

What do Challenge program students learn?

The curriculum model for the Challenge program is Project Based Learning. Project Based Learning is an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based, student-centered system designed to help students explore topics at higher levels of thinking. Students’ prior knowledge is activated as they use their critical thinking skills to discuss topics, take perspective, communicate, and work collaboratively and creatively. Project Based Learning is global learning, through which students grow both academically and socially. Students welcome this engaging system as they take ownership of their learning. Project Based Learning is inquiry-based, experiential and hands-on, discusses citizenship and impact, and embeds social/emotional intelligences.

This system is an extension and enrichment to topics students learn in their classrooms and beyond. It builds upon mastery of fundamental skills learned at students’ current grade levels.

Project Based Learning is aligned with Massachusetts Common Core Standards while connecting to grade level disciplines.