District academic competitions = fun and learning

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When it comes to activities that combine learning and fun, it’s hard to top the academic competitions sponsored by the Dallas ISD Student Activities department. And, given the popularity of the competitions, it’s clear that many students already know this.

Last year more than 6,000 students participated in academic competitions such as chess, debate, robotics, math and science matches, as well as competitive contests of knowledge and creativity such as Academic UIL, Academic Decathlon, Academic Pentathlon, Lone Star Challenge and Destination Imagination.

The Student Activities team has prepared a downloadable calendar of events in hopes of involving more students than ever this school year. They want teachers, parents and students to know there are events, matches and contests for a variety of ages and ability levels.

The team has also scheduled training opportunities to equip teachers and coaches with information, study materials, resources and hands-on workshops to help them get students ready to compete successfully. To see the schedule of training dates, go here.

In addition to the joy the competitions bring the students—just look at their smiles as they cheer on their teams or proudly show off their medals and trophies—they also bring academic benefits, according to Student Activities Director Sharla Hudspeth. Hudspeth said that studies and statistics show that students who are involved in extracurricular activities have better attendance, improved academic performance, and an increased level of self-confidence.

“Following every competition, the most common statement from coaches and parents is that their students feel special being part of a team. For some of them, this is their athletic, marching band, cheerleader type experience,” Hudspeth said. “What’s great about the Student Activities Department competitions is that they are all academic based and aligned with the TEKS. Not only is this a fun experience for the competitors, it prepares and gives them the skills for future learning and success.”

Schools that are ready to get their students involved in these activities can get started today. For information, see the Academic Competitions Handbook for Principals, the calendar of 2015-16 activities, visit the department website, or call Student Activities at 972-749-5721.

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