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building school support

Do you feel like the lone voice for chess at your school? Would the program continue if you were not there? Do your colleagues understand why you invest your time teaching chess to students? Building school support for your chess program requires a similar investment of time. The payoff, however, can ensure that students continue to receive the benefits of chess.


Do more than just inform school leaders of the next tournament. Use the school calendar to mark significant achievements by your chess students. Create bulletin board displays that highlight the rich history of chess or its connections to art and culture. Plan content for your newsletters that underscores the academic and social-emotional skills being taught through chess.


Display quotes from your students and fellow teachers. Brad Osborne, a second-grade teacher in Alabama, shares the kind of insight you want to collect from colleagues. “Simply put, chess has given my students an opportunity to recognize their own ability to tap into their metacognitive skills… I’ve seen remarkable growth in thinking skills of all of my students.”  Adding other voices to yours also communicates to students that the skills they are learning are valued beyond the chess club.


Why I teach ChessOffer a brief presentation during one of the regular teachers’ meetings. Invite teachers and students from across the school to attend a demonstration of chess skills. Prepare your chess students to use a demonstration board, white board, or chess set to present a chess problem, explain the concept of checkmate, or share how a chess player makes decisions during a game. Ask another teacher to allow one of your chess students to visit their classroom and give a demonstration.


Start with short term commitments. Ask a colleague to sit in on one lesson. Invite someone from the district administration to attend your class, club, or other special event. Encourage a fellow teacher to handle the logistics for an upcoming event but plan far enough ahead to avoid conflicts in scheduling. These interactions provide others the chance to see firsthand how chess impacts students and how they can assist without having to know anything about chess.

Following these tips can make a difference in how your school views chess . And building school support can make all the difference in preventing your program from becoming one person away from extinction.

Do you have other tips to offer? Share them! Send your comments to

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