West math team equal to task at district competition

       “To my understanding, this is the first time in about five years that D-11 has had a math competition, but I would say that what we did was probably very rare in the sense that we took 11 of the 18 first place awards.” The individual champions on West Middle School’s math team hold up five of the six first-place team trophies that
the school garnered in the competition against six District 11 schools Dec. 8. They are (from left)  Ian Carroll, James
Disney, Jacob Carson, David Lang and Moriah Yeh. In all, West won five individual and six team firsts out of 18
possible at the event. The West team had 27 members in all. 
Westside Pioneer photo
       This information was part of a triumphant e-mail report by West Middle School math teacher Phillip Hutcherson after the Dec. 8 District 11 Math Competition at Galileo Middle School. The event involved more than 400 students from Russell, Holmes, Irving, Jenkins, Galileo, Mann and West middle schools.
       Included in the West awards haul were individual first places by sixth-graders Moriah Yeh (Advanced) and Ian Carroll (Regular); seventh-graders Jacob Carson (Advanced) and David Lang (Regular); and eighth-grader James Disney (Regular). The other six were team awards for each of the six categories West entered.
       “The best thing was, we took all of the students that said they wanted to go,” Hutcherson states. “They went there with the mindset that they just wanted to do the best they could to represent their school. We knew we have been doing great things, but this was still a wonderful surprise to us all. The cheers from the West family were so loud and supportive throughout the entire awards ceremony, it was nothing short of amazing.”
       With 27 participants in all, West did not have enough students to enter all nine categories, Hutcherson explained. The team trophies are travelling trophies, and West will have to win again to retain them at the next district competition this spring. “We are looking forward to having teams for all nine categories this time, instead of just the six that we won,” the teacher said.
       In the scoring, “there was one individual round where everyone had only five minutes to answer 20 questions, and calculators were not allowed,” Hutcherson described. “If more than one student received the same number correct, the person with the most correct in a row won. Afterwards, there were two team rounds where teams were allowed to use calculators (my teams did not have very many - we forgot them).”
       Hutcherson credited the team for responding well to a teaching approach that uses “differentiated instruction and critical-thinking questions to engage my students well beyond the textbooks.”
       In other West news... The school recycling program has been scaled back so that it is now meant for school use only.
       Last spring, the school was asking the community to use the recycling bins outside the school because higher volumes meant money to West. However, the resulting heavy use led to “overflowing conditions” at times, Principal Clay Gomez said. West has also changed to a new recyling company that does not offer the volume reward; as a result, “the school recommends that the recycling bins [along 19th Street] are only for school use,” he said.

Westside Pioneer/press release