Soda Creek math whizzes earn top state honors |

Soda Creek math whizzes earn top state honors

Math coach Sally Lambert works with Soda Creek Elementary School students Indiana Kretzschmar, left, and Suzy Magill on Thursday morning in a school study area. The two students came back with top honors from the Noetic Learning Math Contest.
John F. Russell

— When the rest of their classmates began math work Thursday morning, Suzy Magill and Indi Krentzschmar were pulled from their classroom.

At a higher level in math than most of their peers, fourth-grader Suzy and fifth-grader Indi are brought from a modular classroom to the main building of Soda Creek Elementary to get more advanced instruction every Thursday and Friday.

The duo work on pre-algebra problems with parent volunteer Sally Lambert, who also pulls her son Shane Lambert, a fifth-grader, out for specialized math instruction.

“These kids need to be challenged,” said Sally Lambert, after working with the students on a number of problems at a table in a small nook that once housed the school’s lost-and-found area.

Students like Indi and Suzy, as well as her son Shane, were the reason Lambert began the Soda Creek math team three years ago.

This year, the school had more than 30 student participants in the Fall Noetic Learning Conference, a math contest that schools and school groups register for and compete in, taking the test at their own school but comparing results to others across the state and country.

Students at Soda Creek voluntarily meet before school to work on math problems, with fourth and fifth graders meeting twice a week since September and second and third graders meeting for four sessions prior to the November test.

At Soda Creek, 81 percent of participants were recognized as either an honorable mention — the top 50 percent of finishers nationwide — or as on the Honor Roll — the top 10 percent of finishers.

Suzy, 9, scored an 85 on the contest test, making her the top finisher for the fourth grade in Colorado. Indi, 10, scored a 70 on his fifth-grade test, meaning he tied for sixth in the state in his grade. Shane Lambert tied for fourth in the state with 80.

“It’s just really fun,” said Suzy, who earned a perfect 100 on the third-grade contest test last spring, making her first in the state, and then the country.

Suzy said she’s already pretty good at working on the fractions that the rest of her class are learning, which is why she’s pulled out for special instruction on most days.

Suzy said math will come in handy when she’s a doctor or scientist someday.

Indi, whose dad worked in finance, said strong math skills help people get better jobs.

“The math we do on the contest is way harder than the math we do in class,” Indi said.

Each of the three students received medals and certificates for their high contest scores and were recognized during class Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter how well we do, it’s just for fun,” Indi said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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