Academic Competitions

Academic Decathlon

The California Academic Decathlon is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes an educational experience providing a format in which teams of nine high school students compete in academic events. All California public and private high schools are eligible to compete. The Academic Decathlon embodies a partnership of business, foundations and individuals in cooperation with the education community and county offices of education.

Elk Grove Unified students participate in the Annual Sacramento County Academic Decathlon competition. The Academic Decathlon competition structure requires student decathletes to participate as a nine member school team against other schools. Each team consists of three honors-level decathletes—GPA 3.75-4.0, three scholastic decathletes (GPA 3.00-3.74), and three varsity decathletes (GPA 0.0-2.99). Students take a 30 minute multiple-choice test in the subjects of economics, language & literature, music, science, art, mathematics, and social science. In addition, each team member presents a planned 4 minute speech, makes a 2 minute impromptu speech, participates in a 7-minute interview, and produces a timed essay. These decathletes, coached by local high school teachers, not only grow in academic achievement, but also learn about teamwork, goal-setting, planning and leadership.

For the 2015-16 school year, two EGUSD high schools placed in the “Top 10” among competing schools:

  • Pleasant Grove High School – 3rd Place Overall
  • Sheldon High School – 6th Place Overall

The Pleasant Grove High School team earned the right to compete in the state Academic Decathlon competition for placing third. District teams also competing in the 2015-16 school year were teams from Elk Grove, Franklin, Laguna Creek, and Monterey Trail High Schools.


MATHLETES is a day Math-A-Thon for all grade 2 through 6 students engaged in math activities in an atmosphere that promotes co-operation, learning, fun & celebration! Math, although a major component of education, rarely has events to support its importance that can include students of all math abilities. Science fairs, drama presentations, music festivals and athletic events are commonplace but a math event…not so much. MATHLETES brings math to the forefront reinforcing that math can be fun, and like other subjects, math is important enough to warrant a special event to participate in and celebrate. MATHLETES truly is a day of math made fun, which helps to build bonds between students, boost morale & build math confidence. The purpose of mathletes is to foster and promote an appreciation of mathematics through testing, competitions, and other mathematical activities.

Science Olympiad

Sheldon High School Science Olympiad team
Photo: Sheldon High School Science Olympiad team

During the school year, a team of 15-17 students prepare to compete in Science Olympiad tournaments held on the local, state, and national levels. These interscholastic competitions consist of a series of 40 individual and team events that encourage learning in biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, problem solving, and technology. Events in the Science Olympiad have been designed to recognize the wide variety of skills that students possess. While some events require knowledge of scientific facts and concepts, others rely on science processes, skills, or applications.

Mock Trial

The GDS Mock Trial competition simulates a trial-level proceeding in which students portray the roles of pre-trial counsel, prosecuting and defense attorneys, witnesses, court clerks, bailiffs, and jurors before a single presiding judge and two scoring judges. It also includes courtroom art and courtroom journalism competitions.

Moot Court

The Moot Court competition simulates an appellate-level proceeding in which students prepare and argue a case before a panel of three judges who evaluate the students on the quality and persuasiveness of their legal reasoning and presentation, as well as their unscripted responses to spontaneous questions from the bench.
High schools throughout the Sacramento region are invited to participate in these competitions. This year’s 2015-16 competition involved 18 teams representing 7 high schools from Sacramento, El Dorado, and Yolo counties. Volunteers from local law firms and other legal organizations served as scoring and presiding judges for the five-day event.

Five of nine EGUSD comprehensive high schools–Elk Grove, Franklin, Laguna Creek, Monterey Trail and Sheldon High Schools—participated in this year’s competition. Elk Grove High School was the winner of the 2016 Gordon D. Schaber (GSD) Mock Trial Competition and went on to represent Sacramento County at the California Mock Trial competition held in Sacramento, CA on March 18th – March 20th.