In less than a month, area schools will end the summer break and welcome students back to their new classrooms. Are your students ready to hit the ground running? Unfortunately, many African-American parents and guardians would have to answer that question with a meek, “No.”
You have no doubt heard of what is called the “achievement gap” separating African-American students, as well as other minority groups, with their white peers. Various research projects have shown that gap to be narrowing but it is still much too wide. What does it mean? In simple terms, our youngsters are not measuring up and keeping up academically. What problem does that create? Lost opportunity for jobs, careers and personal happiness.
Summer is especially hard on the children of our communities. The tendency is to “chill out” over the summer recess. That’s easy to do when cell phones and computers transport the world of social media right to the fingertips of our kids. Instead of reading a book, they are on the phone. Instead of taking a trip to a local museum, they are checking the latest senseless viral video. Many of our young people don’t have access to electronic gadgets so they are pushed even further behind by enduring a summer of wasted days and opportunities.
What about more affluent students? Sure, many have spent too many summer days curled up with their cell phones but there is no arguing these children have made many more trips to museums, aquariums and other centers of learning over the summer. As they start back to school, they are ahead of other children who have not used the summer to both keep up and improve. The achievement gap widens.
Summer 2018 is almost over, but the learning period is not. It is not too late to attack the learning and achievement gaps that continue to haunt our community. Be Someone Inc., a Stone Mountain-based non-profit using the game of chess to teach young people the principles of personal success, is offering a back to school week-long chess camp, Monday, July 30 – Friday, August 3.
Consider this a “warm up of the mind” for our children. Over these five days, we will teach kids how to engage their minds, how to think ahead and how to make strategic decisions that are guaranteed to lead to success. Chess is much more than a game, and our participants will be energized as they return to school. Instead of dreading the new year, they will be eagerly ready to show what they learned at the Be Someone camp.
We owe it to our children to give them the tools to succeed and the ability to chip away at the insidious “achievement gap.” Reservations are now being accepted for the camp that will run daily from to. Be Someone has taught more than 61,000 children – many of them at risk – they can be a success if they learn how to make the right moves, both on the chess board and in life. More information is available at www.BeSomeone.org. Questions are welcome. I can be reached at 770-465-6445.