The academic bowl which serves as the heart of the plot of this story takes place at Epiphany Middle School in Epiphany, NY, where paraplegic teacher Mrs. Olinski chooses four students from her 6th grade classroom to compete.
Another important setting for a subplot of the story takes place at Nadia's father's house with the retirees from Central Village, in Florida. This is where the sea turtle project takes place.
I do not believe the actual date is ever specified in the book, but it assumed that the story and its many flashbacks take place in modern times.
In addition to Epiphany and Century City, some of the action takes place in Albany, New York where the Academic Bowl is held.