Posted Thursday March 26, 2020


Kitchener-Waterloo Bilingual School Receives High Praise for Math Results from Caribou CEO

COVID-19 Update: The K-W Bilingual School is adopting a Daily Distant Learning Program to address our students' needs for routine, connection and academic engagement.

March 25, 2020 Waterloo - Thomas Wolf, Founder and CEO of world-wide Caribou Math Contests and Chair of Department of Mathematics and Statistic of Brock University sent out a congratulations to the students of the Kitchener-Waterloo Bilingual School for what he termed “rare” results. "Over 900 schools from 35 countries and thousands of kids participate in each contest. Students must achieve perfect scores in a specified amount of time to achieve first place standings," said Wolf.

Photo l-r: Andy Chang, Brianna Bicheru, Keri Walter, Walter Ho, Marvin Ho and Olivia Kelly
Missing from Photo: Clara Schied, Hayden Huang, Edwin Chen and Emily Nicholson

“In January, K-W Bilingual School students achieved 1st rank placements in each of the 4 categories in which they participated: Grades 2, Grade 3-4, Grade 5-6, Grade 7-8. This translates to 10 of their students getting perfect on this test. While 5% of the Grade 2s may achieve this honour, a perfect score becomes increasingly rare for older students as the size of the participant pool also increases to typically over 10,000. Therefore, this is a rare event,” he concluded.

“There has been a decline in Grade 6 student achievement in math over the past five years,” said Lynda Colgan, a professor in the education faculty at Queen’s University, in reference to Ontario. About half of the K-W Bilingual School’s students in Grades 2 to 8 are choosing to write these contests each month and they are testing significantly above the world’s average on these tests.

“We have bright kids, supportive parents, strong teachers, and class size of about twenty. I think we also owe our success to our traditional approach in teaching math. We use textbooks, notebooks, and pencils. Students work out problems on the whiteboard. This is 90% of what we use. And, we give homework. Although students will work together to consolidate learning, most of the instruction is teacher-centred, and we value one-on-one,” says Maya El Kibbi, K-W Bilingual School’s Grade 7 & 8 math teacher. Last year, El Kibbi was recognized by the University of Waterloo for “Excellence in Teaching”, the only elementary teacher to ever be recognized with such an award.

Grade 8 student Edwin Chen comments, “I feel honoured to participate against other kids that have been doing this a long time. There is a guy named Alexandro from London and he’s been in the news before. I like competing against him. It gives me the opportunity to see other people’s abilities.” Grade 6 students Keri Walters adds, “Usually when I write the test, I don’t think about the thousands of others participating and where they are in the world, that would get kind of scary. I just think about the test in front of me”.

“It astounds me that almost half of our student population is interested in writing this contest throughout the school year. Our kids love math and don’t shy away from a challenge. Emphasis is placed on effort and enjoyment,” explains Vice-Principal, Kelly Widmeyer. Widmeyer also noted the recent accomplishment KWBS Students had with the University of Waterloo's Grade 9 Level Pascal Contest, "KWBS ranked second in the region, after WCI with only 1 point difference. This is extremely impressive also for Grade 6, 7 & 8 students!"

“We thank students, teachers and administrators and publicly acknowledge the Kitchener-Waterloo Bilingual School’s rare success in these contests. Congratulations!” Wolf said in closing.

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