The D51 Challenge Program 

at Orchard Mesa Middle School

Grades 6-8  

2736 C Road

Grand Junction, CO 81503

(970) 254-6320

“Some students require the climate, interaction, and independence found in a program designed especially for gifted students.

 -Autonomous Learner Model

The mission of the Challenge Program

The mission of the Challenge Program is to meet the full-time needs of gifted middle school students across the valley by pursuing high academic and ethical standards in a rigorous, creative environment. Our focus is to provide a challenging, higher-level curriculum, as well as support for social and emotional needs.

What is The Challenge Program?

The Challenge Program is a District 51 program open to any academically gifted middle school student in the Grand Valley.  The program started in 1999 at East Middle School and moved to Orchard Mesa Middle School in the fall of 2023. Students must apply to be in this program; typically 5th graders apply for their 6th grade year and stay for three years. Students only need to apply in 6th grade, but may re-apply in 7th or 8th grade if they are not accepted in 6th grade. There is one core of up to 28 students in the Challenge Program at each grade level.  Challenge students attend all core classes together (Literacy, Math, Social Studies, and Science). However, they attend their exploratory and Advisory classes with the general school population.

How is The Challenge Program different than Gifted and Talented programming?

All District 51 middle schools offer GT Programming facilitated by a 1/2 GT teacher.  GT programming is the planned response to an individual or group of students. Some students require different programming for different needs and strengths. Examples can include acceleration or cluster grouping.

The Challenge Program is predetermined and has set criteria for students to be admitted.  There is a set series of instructions or events with a planned outcome for the group.  Other D51 program examples include:

•STEM at Central High School

•IB at Palisade High School

•Dual Immersion Academy at Bookcliff Middle School