You Heard It All Before
According to Salome Thomas-EL a Philadelphia inner city School District teacher since 1987. who has received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Armed with only a chess board and a profound belief in their potential, Thomas-EL’s faith and commitment has motivated hundreds of children in Philadelphia to attend magnet high schools, major colleges and universities. Its still not to late to make a difference in the lives of kids, he has 10 ways we can make a difference
- Consider becoming a teacher in public schools. If you are a teacher, encourage a student, friend or relative to become a teacher. There are many alternative routes to teaching, like intern and apprentice programs.
- Visit a school anywhere in the city. There is a school within one mile of every address in the city. Visit a child and make them smile. Many of them do not know that a world exists outside of their own community.
- Mentor a young person. Research proves overwhelmingly that young people who have mentors are more successful than their peers who don’t.
- Donate money or time to school programs. Many programs like our chess team are not funded by the school district. We rely solely on contributions from businesses and community members.
- Volunteer at neighborhood recreation centers or after school programs.
- Participate in career week events at inner city schools.
- Write or call local and state politicians to express your anger about school funding. Let them know your vote will count and be heard.
- Read with your child if you are a parent. Check homework daily and provide a quiet environment at home for your child to study. Consider buying more books and fewer toys. Children look to parents for leadership and examples. Be a role model and promoter of education.
- If you are a member of a church, organize a group of members to volunteer at neighborhood schools as reading coaches. Teachers love to get one on one help for their students who struggle with reading. Research shows that this is the most effective strategy to use when improving the reading of students who are reading below grade level.
- Get involved with activities at your child’s school. Attend parent meetings and conferences with teachers. Students and schools excel when parents are involved and teachers have high expectations of parents and students. Plan to visit the school at least once a month to check your child’s progress. Encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
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