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Academic Competitions

Student Enrichment Programs

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education sponsors several academic enrichment programs and student competitions throughout the year. 

Language Ambassadors Student Recognition Program

Language Ambassador recognition will be granted to students in TK/kinder, third, fifth and eighth grade who complete a number of activities throughout the year in a language other than English. The activities ask student to learn, interact and create. By engaging in these activities, students develop the skills and interest in language learning needed to earn the State Seal of Biliteracy at the conclusion of high school. By participating in the program, students build competency for local and global citizenship.

Contact Information

Sofia Sorensen, English Language Development Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

Math Contest / Virtual Math Festival

Due to school closures, Math Contest was cancelled in 2020 and 2021, and replaced with a Virtual Math Festival. We hope to bring the Math Contest back May 7, 2022.

The Virtual Math Festival will offer students in grades 5-8 the opportunity to participate in advanced and thought-provoking mathematics in an online, social and cooperative atmosphere. Students will log onto conversation hall, and then choose from different online breakout tables that offer problems, games and/or puzzles with mathematical themes.
As students visit the different breakout tables, they will work with other students on the mathematics problem or puzzle as long as they wish, while an online facilitator provides support and encouragement. Students may choose to visit other tables, and other problems, at any time.

Contact Information

Kevin Drinkard, Math Contest Coordinator
(831) 466-5821 | Email

Laurie Stewart, Math Contest Administrative Assistant
(831) 466-5802 | Email

Mock Trial

Mock Trial Competition takes high school students to the heart of the justice system. Students acquire critical thinking skills and an in-depth understanding of our judicial process as they study a hypothetical case, conduct legal research, and role play at the trial. Mock Trial is a partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Santa Cruz legal community which emphasizes the development of students’ analytical and critical thinking skills.

Contact Information

Michael Paynter, Director, Student Support Services
(831) 466-5729 | Email

Poetry Out Loud County Competition

February 1, 2020 6:00-8:00, location: Bookshop Santa Cruz
Poetry Out Loud is a nation-wide program, originally created by the National Endowment for the Arts, that encourages high school students to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance, culminating at the national finals in Washington D.C. Students compete for awards, scholarships and prizes. County winners compete at the California Poetry Out Loud State Finals in Sacramento on March 10-11, 2019. One student will be selected to compete at the National FinalsCheck out poetryoutloud.org for detailed information.

Contact Information

Audrey Sirota, Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator
(831) 466-5827 | Email

Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair

March 14, 2020, location: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
The Santa Cruz County Science & Engineering Fair provides a competitive academic opportunity for students in grades 4-12. Students design individual or team science projects and compete for awards, scholarships and prizes. Top award winners represent Santa Cruz County at the California State Science Fair (April 20-21, 2020, California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA) and International Science and Engineering Fair (May 10-15, 2020, Anaheim, CA).

Contact Information

Jennifer McRae, Science Coordinator
(831) 466-5727 | Email

Spelling Bee

January 25, 2020, location: UCSC
In partnership with Newspapers in Education/The Sentinel and UCSC, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education coordinates the annual Spelling Bee. Students in grades 4-6 and 7-9 compete locally. Winners from each grade level go to regional and state competitions.

Contact Information

Sofia Sorensen, English Language Development Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

Laurie Stewart, Spelling Bee Administrative Assistant
(831) 466-5802 | Email

Student Authors’ Fair

May 2, 2020 location: Del Mar Elementary School
Sponsored by the Santa Cruz Reading Association and the Santa Cruz COE, the Student Authors’ Fair encourages students to write and illustrate their own books. Students are recognized by the community during the Authors’ Fair. There is no judging or censorship at the Fair. Every book entered receives an Award Certificate. High quality and exciting displays of students’ writing are encouraged. Be creative!

Contact Information

Sofia Sorenson, English Language Development Coordinator
(831) 466-5807 | Email

image of the santa cruz county office of education logo

Virtual Math Festival Engages Students

On Saturday morning, May 9, 65 students and 20 adult volunteers chose to start their day off with math!

standing student and adult

2016 Santa Cruz County Math Contest

359 students in grades 5-8 poured onto the Aptos High School campus to engage in Mathematics.

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