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Chess benefits teachers as well as their students. “I discovered that learning chess wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.” Majidah Sharif’s first experience with chess exceeded expectations. She, along with Mary Araujo-Pedroza, attended four evenings of chess training offered by the district. Mary observed, “I was a little apprehensive because I think I had built chess up in my mind as something impossible to learn unless a person were extremely good at math. I discovered that I had not only overthought it but had also underestimated myself. I clearly see that I felt much like my Resource Room students must feel.”

Majidah and Mary both agreed that learning chess was not as hard as they imagined. They also anticipated students would love the game. Chess benefits teachers by creating engaged students. Chess benefits students by introducing important academic and life skills.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) offered the professional development in the Spring of 2019. Teachers learned how to play chess, connect it to the classroom, and develop after-school programming. Chess coaches from Detroit also participated in the sessions conducted by Jerry Nash of Chess in Schools. Coaches and teachers developed new strategies for improving their after-school chess programs.

Kevin Fite, Assistant Director for STEM Enrichment for DPSCD, organized the training. He and Nash visited schools during the day to encourage existing chess programs and gauge interest in new initiatives. District leaders as well as school administrators have consistently expressed support for chess programming.

Chess in Schools partners with other chess in education providers to expand awareness of the benefits of chess for schools. Sign up for Connections, a monthly newsletter, to stay informed about the latest trends in chess in education worldwide.

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