The auditorium of the Del Dios Academy of Arts and Sciences was packed with students, their parents and Escondido Union School District staff last Saturday.
The Math Field Day brought together 160 fifth and sixth-graders in teams of six that competed on math problems as teams, not individuals.
After a rousing greeting and pep rally by Superintendent Luis Ibarra, student teams paired off to compete in classrooms.
They were given math problems and worked together to find solutions. Proctors huddled to compile data and grades to come up with the winning teams.
After the math competition, students took part in the “Float A Boat” event.
They were challenged to createa boat out of a 3-inch square of an index card. The boat is then floated on a pan of water and pennies are dropped into it until the boat sinks. The goal is to float the highest number of pennies before the tiny craft founders.
Student teams pressed in close and counted along with supervising educators as the tiny boats filled with coins. Shouts of joy and exasperation resounded in the quad as students saw their team results.
As the teachers and principals who judged the students gathered the scores, the principal of Del Dios Academy gave the Times-Advocate a short dissertation on the school.
Principal Albert Ngosaid Del Dios is not a charter school, but a Specialty School run by the district. Charter schools run under sponsorship of the EUSD, but have their own boards of directors.
The academy has two modules, STEM, Science Technology Engineering and Math, and VAPA, Visual and Performing Arts.
“We want the students to be able to choose a path, so once they do, they’ll get a sense of a smaller school within a school,” Ngo said. “The idea is to make cross-curricular connections” to encourage students to find a field of knowledge that interests and excites them.
When Academy students are studying fractions, teachers make references to musical notation,which uses quarter notes, half notes and whole notes. The school tries to cross-germinate between science and arts curricula.
“We have an environmental science class and we’re hoping to have a forensics class, maybe a design class, maybe plumbing,” Ngo said. “Throughout the school year we bring in people in jobs that are of interest. We’ve had fashion designers, music engineers, a radio producer come and speak to the kids.”
He added, “We have our youth media awards and multimedia events. We try to highlight as many of the arts as possible. We have an arts festival. We try to capture all the different areas.”
Students love it. “Yousee the camaraderie, the school spirit,” Ngo said.
Family members filed into the auditorium for the award ceremony. Bear Valley Elementary won the math competition and Quantum Academy, a charter school, came in second.
Rose – 5th Grade
Erick Cruz Ramirez
Lenin Villalobos Santana
Bear Valley – 6th Grade