Dear Dr. Rudy Crew,
I would like to start by introducing myself. My name is Webber J. Charles and I am an art teacher and chess facilitator at Edison Park Elementary School. I am writing you on behalf of the nearly 250 teachers teaching chess in our school district. As President-Elect of the Miami-Dade Chess Teacher Association, I would like to inform you of the many successes our school district has received competing in scholastic chess locally, state-wide, and nationally. During the 2008 Florida Super State Scholastic Chess Tournament, a dozen Dade-County schools performed brilliantly, receiving trophies in all categories. Nationally, half a dozen Dade County schools have been recognized for their outstanding board play. There are 244 chess teachers and over 5,500 students participating in scholastic chess via the AEP Chess Component, Title I Chess, chess elective courses offered in middle and high schools and school chess clubs. There are more children and families involved with chess in Dade-County Schools than ever before.
Over the past three years there has been unprecedented growth and progress made in establishing chess as an integral component of “quality” education in our schools. It is evident cognitive processes developed by chess has had a profound impact on our students and their endeavors in other academic disciplines. The chess program I have implemented at my school has drastically changed the culture and morale of our student body. Our students are inspired by our chess team’s ongoing success. The newspaper editorials, radio interviews, and the acts of affirmation by constituents in the community are all a result of chess in our school. It has helped our administration increase parent involvement, build a rapport with local small businesses and companies, and most importantly, has afforded our students with opportunities to travel.
During this fiscally challenging period, I understand all things are subject to reconsideration in making very difficult, yet necessary budget reformations. On behalf of the M-DCTA and the nearly 6,000 children actively participating in scholastic chess through the innovative programs our district implements, I call for your full support of all chess initiatives. Chess in our schools is an undeniably growing phenomenon warranting the attention and care of those charged with steering education in the right direction. Choose to support chess in our schools. Do not cut critical chess programs and initiatives which create opportunities for thousands of students to begin to believe they can achieve in our school system.
Webber J. Charles
President-Elect of the Miami-Dade Chess Teachers Association
To Whom It May Concern:
I don't know if chess programs will be cut but I have heard there is a strong possibility. Please don't wait until it is too late. Write letters now and let your voice be heard. We have come too far. There is strength in numbers. Budget meetings are going now.
Webber J. Charles