Advanced Academics  students are also encouraged to participate in a variety of competitions offered  throughout the district at varying campuses and grade levels. These include Academic Decathlon, Quiz Bowl, Academic UIL and Destination Imagination.

Academic Decathlon

Academic Decathlon

Northside ISD offers Academic Decathlon at all of our Comprehensive High Schools. 

Academic Decathlon is a ten-event scholastic competition for teams of high school students. Each high school enters a team of nine students.

Academic Decathlon isn't about mastering a single event, but ten different skills and disciplines. Every Academic Decathlon competition, whether it’s a local round or the national finals, will follow the same multidisciplinary format.

In every competition: 

  • You’ll deliver speeches, one on a topic of your choice and one on a topic you’ve never seen before.
  • You’ll write an essay demonstrating not just what you’ve learned but how powerfully you can argue an idea.
  • You’ll be interviewed by judges asking you thoughtful questions about your past experiences and your goals for the future.
  • You’ll take challenging exams in Art, Economics, Literature, Math, Music, Science, and Social Science.
  • And, at the exciting Super Quiz™, you and your teammates will take turns solving the most stimulating challenges of all from across every subject you’ve studied—while a live audience cheers you on.

Academic Decathlon isn’t not about demonstrating how good a student you already are. It’s about daring to push your limits, to master college-level material and to practice skills, like public speaking, that might be wholly new to you. It’s about the people you’ll meet along the way—the coaches who will mentor you, the competitors who will challenge you, and the teammates who will become your lifelong friends.

As Decathletes, you’ll learn an exciting new theme each year, themes like Russia, World War I, and New Alternatives in Energy: Ingenuity and Innovation. You’ll explore seven subjects connected to that theme, from art and science to math and economics. You’ll learn to move an audience not just with facts and rhetoric, but with confidence. And you’ll never do any of this alone. You’ll be working with a team—a team composed of students with a wide range of grades but a single shared goal.

You should join the Academic Decathlon not because that goal will be easy to achieve, but because it will be hard. You and your teammates may study more than you ever have before, not knowing whether you will take home ten medals each—or none at all. The philosopher Mortimer Adler once wrote, “It is only by struggling with difficult books, books over one's head, that anyone learns to read.” I invite you to become part of a program that you may think is over your head, until you realize you can reach higher as a team. I invite you to struggle. And I invite you to learn—not just to read, but to understand; not just to win, but to lead.

Academic UIL

Academic UIL

The University Interscholastic League offers a wide variety of academic contests for high school students, encompassing many elements of required high school coursework. These contests build upon the academic skills developed in the classroom and offer students an opportunity to stretch their talents above and beyond those requirements.

These activities, which exist to complement the academic curriculum, are designed to motivate students as they acquire higher levels of knowledge, to challenge students to confront issues of importance, and to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of specific skills. Students are challenged to think critically and creatively, exhibiting much more than knowledge and comprehension.

UIL Academic Teams are available at all of our Comprehensive High Schools (activities may vary by campus)

Examples of UIL Academics Contests include:

  • Accounting
  • Historical Essay 
  • Calculator Applications
  • Congress (debate)
  • Computer Applications
  • Computer Science
  • Copy Editing
  • Cross-Examination Debate
  • Current Issues & Events
  • Editorial Writing
  • Feature Writing
  • Headline Writing
  • Informative Speaking
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debate
  • Literary Criticism
  • Mathematics
  • News Writing
  • Number Sense
  • Poetry Interpretation
  • Prose Interpretation
  • Ready Writing
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Spelling & Vocabulary


Quiz Bowl

Quiz Bowl

Quiz bowl is a game in which two teams compete head-to-head to answer questions from all areas of knowledge, including history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, popular culture, sports, and more. There are also tournaments for individual players rather than teams.

Check with your Middle School or High School to see if they have a Quiz Bowl team to join!

Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination is an extracurricular club that is offered on many campuses throughout NISD.

Destination Imagination (DI)  believes that when an educational experience is hands-on, collaborative and fun, students are empowered to take their learning to the next level and are excited to do so. DI provides unique educational experiences across seven project-based Challenge types–Technical, Scientific, Engineering, Fine Arts, Improvisational, Service Learning, and Early Learning.

Destination Imagination (DI) offers an experience, through which kids find their superpowers. Working in teams to solve STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) Challenges, quiet children come alive. Kids who like things their way realize how much better their ideas are with input from their teammates. And if your child hasn’t found his or her niche yet? No problem. DI introduces kids to a wide range of ideas, skills, and techniques while solving Challenges their way. 

DI is an international problem-solving competition for students of all ages. Our student-led STEAM-based Challenges reinforce core social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies—social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making, self-awareness, and self-management.

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