GAD Info for Superintendents and Principals

May 2018

Dear High School Principals and School District Superintendents:

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators and members of the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon Advisory Board extend this invitation to your high school students, grades 9 through 12, to participate in the 2018-2019 Season of the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD) program.

This program is unique in that it provides incentive for the average student as well as the academically talented student to become interested in intellectual activities, thereby, opening the door to academic achievement for all students. Academic Decathlon has been shown to help prepare students for college. Please see usad.org to see how the USAD curriculum correlates to the national common core curriculum and content standards.

The curriculum this year, as each year, is exciting and rigorous. The curriculum theme for 2018-2019 is “The 1960s: A Transformational Decade.” Linked here is an abbreviated copy of the curriculum outline and some additional information. Once again you have an opportunity to present a very exciting and challenging curriculum as well as the opportunity to develop writing, public speaking, and interview skills to the students of your high school through this incredible program.

In addition to the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon website (which you are currently viewing), we encourage you to visit the United States Academic Decathlon® (USAD) website (www.usad.org) to learn more about the program nationally.

While on the PAGE GAD website, the left side navigation menu will allow you to navigate through all related pages. The “About” section has a link to a GAD promotional video as well as a video created by our parent organization, the United States Academic Decathlon.
The decathlon curriculum would make a wonderful academic elective course. Offering the decathlon curriculum through an academic elective course would provide an opportunity for a class of students to be exposed to this challenging curriculum. We hope you will consider making this opportunity available to your students.

The United States Academic Decathlon offers the opportunity for 5 schools to represent Georgia at national competition. The state champion and the next highest scoring team in a different size division both earn the opportunity to go to nationals which will be in Bloomington, Minnesota, in April 2019 (GAD registration does not cover this expense). Three other schools, one large, one medium, and one small school compete in an online national competition.

Please review the information provided on our website and consider offering the Academic Decathlon program in your high school. The season participation fee is $200 per district. This fee covers the Fall Workshop for coaches and coordinators, mailings, some state competition costs (excluding travel and lodging) including participation in the Awards Banquet for your district’s winning team, awards, etc. If your school has never participated before, a Coaches’ Manual can also be provided or downloaded from the website. Costs for the USAD curriculum and study material are NOT included in this $200. New schools may be eligible for a one time curriculum grant from USAD. Please notify us right away if your school wishes to apply for this grant. The deadline for your district to register for this season is October 15, 2018.

The PAGE GAD Fall Workshop for coaches, decathletes, and district coordinators is scheduled for August 31st at Kennesaw State University’s KSU Center. There is no fee for coach(es) and coordinators to attend. There is an $18 fee per student. Please encourage participation in this informative one-day workshop.

If you have any questions, please contact the State Director, Michelle Crawford, at gad@pageinc.org, 404-414-3041 or through the PAGE switchboard at 770-216-8555 or 1-800-334-6861. We will be happy to assist you in getting your high school(s) involved with the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon program. We look forward to hearing from you.

Bridge the Achievement Gap

Time and time again I hear stories from coaches, parents, and principals about how this program has made a difference in the study habits of students or had a positive affect on the academic performance of students. One such story was told me by the parents of one of the students participating on a decathlon team this school year. The parents told me that two years ago their son had a GPA below 2.4. After getting involved with decathlon their son’s GPA is now above 3.45.

In just two years this young man who was turned off with school, had no desire to go to college, and did not think of himself of having any academic ability is now excited about learning and plans to attend college after his graduation this month. They credit this change to his participating in decathlon and the study tips his coach and team members taught him. I encourage you to think about decathlon as a possible way to “bridge the achievement gap” for some of those underachieving students in your school. This program is not just for high performing students. It includes those students who have GPAs of “C” or below.