Iowa Board of Regents

ISD Math Whizzes Compete in New York

"It’s not easy, but I understand it.” Eighth grader Kali Nipper’s confident statement about her preparation for a math competition gained a head nod from one teammate; a shoulder shrug from another. 

“I”m nervous,” said classmate Holly Schroeder. “I hope we win. If we lose, oh well. We will do the best we can.” 

The two girls make up half of the ISD Math Whizzes, ISD’s first middle school team to enter a national math competition for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The National Technical Institute for the Deaf hosted the event April 5-7 on its campus in Rochester, New York. 

The ISD Math Whizzes participated in three of five events: the team round, where the Whizzes worked 10 problems in 45 minutes; the sprint round, working 30 problems in 40 minutes and the target round, where individuals work 8 multistep problems in 24 minutes. 

Highest scoring teams advanced to additional team and individual rounds. The competition’s problems are used from the Math Counts curriculum. 

Students met with middle school math teacher Ashley Villaverde during second trimester weekly, reviewing math applications and practicing solving problems as a team. They found strengths and areas where more study was needed. 

Villaverde was realistic for this first year. “My goal was for the students to embrace the overall experience,” she said. “We want to see our students grow in their confidence and maturity, which will lead to successful postsecondary education, too.”  

Financing for the experience was provided through the team’s families, Sertoma Club, educational funds and a $2,500 classroom grant through the Iowa School for the Deaf Foundation.

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