ABC-7 News Covered Our Event! View video here.
Angela Hill's Oakland Tribune column Read it here.
The Education Report Reporter Katy Murphy's Blog on Oakland Schools
Tournament Photo Gallery View images here!
All photos courtesy of Mark Coplan and The Berkeley Chess School
Over 200 children from five Oakland Title One public schools brought their best "game" on Thursday to Berkeley Chess School's Oakland Tournament at Maxwell Park Elementary. Part of BCS' latest outreach effort - the Oakland Chess Program - the tournament was designed to showcase the hard work the kids had put in over the school year, and to show off their considerable school spirit. For almost all of the children, it was their first year of chess.
After disembarking from their school buses, the children sat quietly as Oakland city officials, including Mayor Ron Dellums' education director Kitty Kelly Epstein, Councilwoman Jean
Quan's policy analyst Michael Johnson and Principal of Maxwell Park Dr. Mary Louise Newling offered words of encouragement at the opening ceremony. Oakland School officials were on hand to see the kids make their best moves.
Spirits were high (see photos) as the awards ceremony arrived. Learning Without Limits narrowly trumped Santa Fe to take first place in the tournament, followed by Futures, Maxwell Park and Esperanza. Each school and sixty students received trophies. Students who did not win a trophy received a participatory medal. Students from Learning Without Limits will be officially recognized for their achievement at the Oakland Unified School District's board meeting on May 28th.
A thank-you note from Maxwell Park Elementary
The BCS Oakland Chess Program
The BCS Oakland Chess Program, which began last fall, is designed to help raise test scores at Oakland's underserved schools by training children's minds and igniting a love of learning. A recent report shows the Oakland Unified School District having the third largest achievement gap based on ethnicity in California. Most of the children in our program are on the free- or reduced-price lunch program and are of African-American or Latino heritage.
Oakland's low-income neighborhoods are plagued with violence, juvenile delinquency and gang activity. Through this program BCS aims to develop kids' concentration, memory, strategic and critical thinking, plus the ability to make smart moves in their lives as well as over the chessboard.
The second year of the Oakland Chess Program begins in September, and we hope to eventually expand our program to 30 Title One Oakland schools. We need your help to instill a love of learning in the city's at-risk kids! If you'd like to help support our program, please click here.
A special thanks to The Hellman Family Foundation, The Arthur Rock Foundation, The Irene S. Scully Family Foundation, and our generous BCS parents and friends for making this event and program possible. Thank you for your support.
Thank you, tournament sponsors Peet's Coffee, Trader Joe's, and Noah's Bagels for feeding our guests, teachers, & volunteers!