United States Academic Decathlon
United States Academic Decathlon®

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Issue: #1Fall 2012


 Joe Jones   


Joseph "Joe" Jones has a long and distinguished career of responsibility and leadership working to provide and improve education opportunities for students.


Mr. Jones has 40 years of experience in public schools, pre-college and the university levels. He began pursuing his career by working as a school custodian to pay for his college education. He then served four years as a classroom teacher followed by two as a middle school counselor, five as a Junior High School Vice Principal, and five as a High School Principal. Mr. Jones has also served as a part-time instructor of graduate students in teacher education and school administration, and as a nationally distinguished lecturer.


For the last 20 years, Mr. Jones has held a position with the Association of California School Administrators - first as a Professional Services Executive, then as Director of Member Services. He currently serves as the Assistant Executive Director of Member Services and Legal Support Team, assisting California superintendents and administrators with due process, contract development, legal problems, conflict resolution, interest-based bargaining, site-based decision making, and sexual harassment workshops designed to give educational leaders the tools to resolve problems at their work sites. He also serves as ACSA's liaison to numerous state and national associations and boards. He has a long history of public service, and is a recipient of many awards.


For the past 17 years, Mr. Jones has served as the Executive Director of the Willie B. Adkins Scholars Program which is an after school college preparatory program under the Vallejo City Unified School District that works to increase the number of African American students that enroll in college. Mr. Jones is a former elected school board member and is also a co-founder and board member of the Mare Island Technology Academy (MIT), a public charter school in Solano County.


Mr. Jones' experience includes high level responsibilities and exposure in local, state and national education environments. His work with ACSA gives him a statewide view of the problems and solutions confronting public education and he has extensive working knowledge of the State legislature on issues, policy and legislative action impacting public education. He has served in the following capacities:


  • Fairfield Measure C and Vallejo Measure A oversight commission member
  • Vision 20/20 Strategic Planning Team | Vallejo City Unified School District
  • State Department of Education Secondary Education Reform Task Force
  • California liaison to the National Associations of Elementary and Secondary School Administrators
  • Liaison to California School Board Association
  • United States Academic Decathlon® board member
  • Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)


Mr. Jones' commitment to public and community service is demonstrated in the following ways:


  • Recipient of the Jefferson Award Nobel prize for public and community service
  • Continentals of Omega Boys and Girls Club | Outstanding Service to Youth Honoree
  • Small business owner
  • City of Vallejo Economic Development Commission and Inter-Agency Committee on Schools
  • Solano County Planning Commission (past member)
  • Greater Vallejo Recreation District Board of Directors (past board member)
  • Camp Fire Boys & Girls of America Solano Council (past board member)
  • Rotary International (former member)




As of July 25, 2012 all copies of the Pantheon Press version of Doctor Zhivago that were available through USAD were sold out.


Teams that are not able to access the Hayward and Harari translation of Doctor Zhivago should use the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of the novel (ISBN-10: 0307390950; ISBN-13: 978-0307390950).


USAD's language and literature test writers and reviewers are aware that students may be reading different versions and translations of the novel, and they have assured USAD that students will not be put at any disadvantage if they read the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation.


The spelling of character names used in test items, however, will be the spelling used in the Pantheon Press version of Doctor Zhivago. In some cases, the spelling of names may differ slightly from one version of the novel to another (though they are phonetically the same). A table of characters is included in USAD's Language and Literature Resource Guide, which students can use to familiarize themselves with the Pantheon Press spelling of character names.




Is your team already online with USAD on the Online Training Site?  If so, we have some exciting news. 


Beginning October 25th, Coaches and students will be able to purchase additional practice questions to assist them in studying for upcoming competitions. There are over 3,800 questions that will be divided into three release dates. Questions will be released in units, which will progress in terms of the difficulty level of the questions.

  1. Unit 1 - Automatic Stage Quizzes - release date of October 20, 2012
  2. Unit 2 - Conceptual Quizzes - release date of December 13, 2012
  3. Unit 3 - Comprehensive Tests - release date of January 24, 2013

Each unit release is $125.00 per team or all three for $330.00 (up to 9 students) or $440.00 (10 to 34 students). Students may also choose to purchase these units on their own for $24.95 per unit or $69.95 for all three units.


If you and your team are not connected to the Official Online Training Site and would like the opportunity read below:


USAD has an amazing Online Testing and Training Site accessible to AD teams as well as individual students!
The USAD® Online Testing and Training Center is a powerful USAD® competition resource for students to work with daily to prepare to match intellects with students from around the country through Academic Decathlon® Team Competitions.
This amazing site is accessible to AD teams as well as individual students. In addition to an abundance of online practice test questions, the training center includes additional study features, such as Online Flash Cards, Online Quick Quizzes, Online Scrimmages, Head-to-Head Challenges, and an Online Puzzle Maker. CLICK HERE for more detailed information.
Coaches may request a FREE TRIAL of the Online Testing and Training Site through USAD® (info@usad.org). Please provide coach's name, email address, high school, and state. The subject line should read "Online Training Site Trial." Please indicate if you want the trial as a coach and student or just as a coach.


Similar to the Online Essay, the Online Speech component will allow teams to present their prepared and impromptu speeches in front of scoring judges. Students will be presenting in front of a computer camera where they will see the timer at the appropriate timing cues. Impromptu topics will be displayed on the screen and timed appropriately. A moderator will be required to be in the room with the student to monitor and operate the computer. Once the student has completed the speech, the moderator will click the button to forward the speech to the archive library where the judges will pick it up.


The Speech component is being offered this year to states for all online competitions. 


Speech will also be offered at the National Online Small School competition in April 2013, on a voluntary basis only this year. Overall team and individual scores will not include speech scores. However, awards will be given to the top speech scorers. 



Do you have students who want to continue the journey of  competing after the team is eliminated from official competitions? Or alternates that aren't able to compete at the state competition?  Or do you know any students that want to participate in the Decathlon but have no team at their school or are home schooled?  This is the ticket for them!


Students will compete in all seven objective tests. Competitions will be held on the official USAD online testing site. Most competitions will be held on or after the last state has completed its competition. Students who have a team at their school will not be allowed to participate until their school has been eliminated with one exception - alternates may participate in the Round III Individual Competition.


Students who participate in the Round III Competition will have the opportunity to attend the National Competition in Minnesota and participate in an Individual division. The National registration fee for the individual students is $250.00.


Students participating in all four online competitions (Round 1 - 4) will pay $38.95, three competitions (Round 2 - 4) - $32.95, two competitions (Round 3 - 4) - $27.95 and one competition (Round 4 only) - $19.95. If students need USAD materials, the cost is $125.00, which includes the curriculum materials and four competitions.


To register go to: http://usadic.org/.  The link is also  posted on the USAD website under the student section and on the home page.


  Practice Materials available from USAD


  • STUDENT EXERCISE BOOKS - Provides students a synthesis of material presented in the Resource Guides and offer students a chance to test and reinforce their knowledge of the curriculum through a variey of exercises and activities.
  • PRACTICE LEVEL TESTS - Tests are constructed at easy, medium, and hard difficulty level.
  • MUSIC LISTENING QUIZZES - Quizzes will focus on 30-second musical excerpts from the USAD® 2012-13 Music CD.
  • SUPER QUIZ™ RELAY POWERPOINT TESTSTests are displayed in PowerPoint Slideshows similar to what is used at the National Competition.
  • SUBJECT AREA FLASHCARDS - Sets of flashcards are created in all seven objective subject areas for teams to use in strengthening their fast-answer skills.
  • PRACTICE COMBO QUIZZES - Quizzes will focus on topics in sequential order of the subject outlines.
  • PRACTICE SPECIALTY TESTS - Tests will focus in depth on a specific portion of the subject outlines.
  • ESSAY EXAM BOOKLET - Essay prompts will focus on the SuperQuiz and selected literature.
  • IMPROMPTU TOPIC BOOKLET - Impromptu speech topics are created in a variety of formats to help students prepare for the speech event.
  • NOVEL CHAPTER QUIZZES - Quizzes will include a variety of question styles to help students master the 16 chapters in this year's novel.
    • ONLINE PRACTICE TESTS - Tests will focus on each subject area, section-by-section of the Study Guide.
    • ONLINE SUBJECT ASSORTMENT TESTS - Tests consist of an assortment of questions from each of the seven objective subject areas.
    • ONLINE BONUS TESTS - Tests go beyond the scope of the USAD® Resource Guides.
  • ONLINE TRAINING MARKET - available only if you have access to the Online Training Site

Full descriptions of these products (except the Training Market) can be found in the USAD Materials Brochure which can be downloaded from the USAD website.  Teams can either order the practice test materials as hard copies to be shipped to their school or can order PDF's for download.




Practice Test Corrections


All corrections to the USAD® practice test materials are posted on the USAD® website in the coaches' section http://usad.org/coaches/loginCH.asp and will remain posted until after the National Competition in April 2013.


Curriculum Updates and Corrections


All corrections, updates, clarifications, etc., to the USAD® curriculum materials are posted on USAD's website in the student updates http://usad.org/students/Curr_Updates.asp as well as the coaches' section of the USAD web site http://usad.org/Coaches/LoginCH.asp and will remain posted until after the National Competition in April 2013.
The coaches' section requires a user name and password.
Please contact the USAD office (info@usad.org) if you do not yet have a user name and password. Downloadable PDFs of all revised pages are posted alongside the updates and corrections.





At the September USAD board meeting, the USAD Board approved a recommendation to allow states to bring a second team to the 2013 Nationals in Minnesota, with the caveat that the total number of teams attending the competition is not to exceed fifty.


States may set their own criteria for the selection of the second team. However, teams will be submitted to the USAD office using team scores from the seven objective tests only. Teams will be slotted by scores to attend the competition until all fifty slots are filled.  Teams will be placed in the appropriate divisions by school enrollment.  Check with your state director for clarification regarding your states criteria.




USAD will be conducting Super Quiz™ Relay a little different at the 2013 National competition than in prior years. Super Quiz™ will include six subjects (Art, Economics, Language & Literature, Music, Science and Social Science). Each student will respond to one question from each subject for a total six (6) questions per student and fifty-four (54) questions overall. The total possible team score for the Super Quiz™ Relay is 6,000 points. No individual student scores will be given for the relay. Please note that students will still be taking seven (7) multiple choice tests to achieve individual scores. States may choose to host Super Quiz™ in this manner for their state competitions or proceed as in previous years.




Each year,
USAD hosts National Online Competitions for Small, Medium, and Large schools from each participating state.  The participating teams are chosen according to preset criteria following their state AD competitions.    

The National Online Competitions offer more teams the opportunity to continue on to another level of competition after their state finals.  Students compete for medals, trophies, and scholarships in all AD events
EXCEPT Speech and Interview.  

Please contact info@usad.org if you have questions or would like additional information regarding the National Online Competitions.

Are you looking to gain greater support for your Academic Decathlon® program from your school administration, parents, or the larger community?


USAD Promotional Videos


USAD has produced three short promotional videos. The videos target: 1. Students and parents, 2. Schools and Administrators and

3. Corporate Sponsors.


Videos will be posted on the USAD website by the end of October.


Common Core Standards


USAD's curriculum aligns with the Common Core Standards, which have been adopted by forty-five states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Common Core High School Mathematics Standards consist of six broad categories, and USAD's 2012-13 Mathematics Curriculum addresses, at least in part, five of these six categories. In addition to the content standards, the Common Core High School Mathematics standards emphasize eight practice standards, which address the manner in which students approach and reason during their learning of mathematics. USAD's 2012-13 Mathematics Curriculum addresses six of these eight practice standards. USAD's 2012-2013 language and literature curriculum in concert with other USAD subject areas addresses all ten of the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading for students in grades 6-12.


More information about how USAD's curriculum addresses the Common Core Standards and National Content Standards can be found on USAD's website:




The Kristin Caperton Memorial Award was created by the USAD Board of Directors to honor a Founding Board member who demonstrated great dedication and commitment to the Academic Decathlon®, even during the final difficult years of her life. This award is presented each year to a competitor at the National Finals who has demonstrated particular strength of character, perseverance, commitment, inspiration, or team leadership, while overcoming unique obstacles or unusual circumstances which have made his/her efforts even noteworthy.


Please email info@usad.org if you would like to request a 2013 nomination form. CLICK HERE to access the form available for download on the USAD website.


Any student currently participating in the United States Academic Decathlon® may submit a design to be used for our National competition April 25 - April 27, 2013, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Please submit an original design to info@usad.org by December 1, 2012.
When submitting the logo, please put in the subject line "National Logo"

The design chosen will be used for t-shirts, lapel pins, programs, etc. If chosen, the design will belong to USAD and may be altered to accommodate printing. The design must be appropriate and include only USAD information.


The design can be focused on the theme "Russia" or Minneapolis, Minnesota or a combination of both.


The design must include the competition dates, city and state hosting nationals and should measure 9 x 7 inches (or 7 x 9 inches) and should be provided to USAD as a full-color EPS or high-resolution jpeg. (EPS FILE FORMAT IS PREFERRED.)


The student whose design is chosen will receive $150.00 by May 31, 2013, and t-shirts displaying their logo for their entire team up to nine students and one coach by May 15, 2013.


Please provide the following when submitting your design:



City, State and Zip

Contact Phone

Email Address

School Name

Grade level

Coach name and email address


The winner will be notified by February 15, 2013


USAD is continuing its online middle school competition program called the Academic Pentathlon.  CLICK HERE to access more detailed information about the program.  Consider helping recruit middle schools in your area...it's a GREAT way for you to recruit for your high school AD team! 
United States Academic Decathlon®
P.O. Box 1834
Council Bluffs, Iowa 51502-1834
(866) 511-8273 Toll Free