Frenship students compete in district’s academic contest

Elementary and middle school students from Frenship Independent School District converged upon Terra Vista Middle School Monday afternoon for the district’s UIL academic competition.

Amy Harmon, the UIL academic coordinator for Willow Bend Elementary School, said teachers have been planning for the contest since August. Students began practicing after school once or twice a week in September.

At Willow Bend, Harmon said there were 10 teachers signed up to coach students for the various academic contests.

“It gives kids a chance to be successful at something besides athletics,” Cassandra Slayton, FISD’s math coordinator, said of the contest. Her own son competed in UIL events, and she said he learned skills he wouldn’t have otherwise.

Harmon said she believes UIL competition accelerates the academics students are learning in classrooms.

UIL competition gives teachers a chance to work with students outside of the school curriculum and to get to know students better and differently than in a classroom, Slayton said. It also gives students the same opportunity to get to know teachers, she said.

Madison Scully, a fourth-grader at Willow Bend, competed Monday in Number Sense 4, which she said included addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and more.

Madison credited her UIL coach, fourth-grade teacher Nick Bohn, for teaching her math shortcuts in preparation for the timed test.

“Mr. Bohn has helped me a lot,” Madison said.

Now she said she feels she has a leg up on those math skills, which she said were more advanced than what she learns in normal classes.

“I learned a lot more,” she said. “I’ll be a little bit ahead next year.”

Her mother, Amy Scully, said she has watched Madison’s confidence grow as a result of taking part in the contest.

“I don’t think she realized how advanced she was in math,” Scully said. “She got to interact with kids her same age that are on her level. I think she really enjoyed it.”

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