Chess: The Best Move for Students
The next time President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are sitting together discussing education reform, I hope that it will be across the table from one of my elementary or middle school students. If so, there will inevitably be a chessboard between them, and I am certain my students will win every match.
My inner-city students, many of whom come from some of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del., have traveled the country to compete in, and win, local, state, and national chess championships. Gov. Jack Markel of Delaware and former Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, all smart men, have challenged my students to chess matches and lost. A host of mayors, members of Congress, senators, and school superintendents—anyone brave enough to visit city schools and spend time with my students—all made the same mistake of taking them on, with similar results. These are the same children that most of society has forgotten. Yet they have gone on to attend magnet and private high schools, competitive colleges, and graduate and law schools.
Unfortunately, most of our nation's urban and rural students won't have the same opportunities as my chess players because, as a general rule, we don't teach our children to think critically or to think ahead. We don't teach them to use logic and reason or to consider rewards and consequences... Read more
Principal EL’s Newest Book Is Here!
The Immortality of Influence—We Can Build the Best Minds of the Next Generation
“Principal EL is a superstar educator who is revolutionizing how we teach kids and is helping me motivate America to live right now.”
— Dr. Oz
Influenced in no small part by the powerful mentors in his own youth, the award-winning educator and acclaimed author of I Choose to Stay offers a commonsense, inspiring road map to mentoring kids to thrive in today’s challenging world—and creating a legacy of success for generations to come.
In The Immortality of Influence, with a foreword by Will Smith, Salome Thomas-EL has an action plan that all of us—educators, businesspeople, volunteers, relatives and everyday folks—can use to reach out to the young people in our lives. For any caring adult, this book is an essential guide to making a difference—not just for today, but forever.
“If you finish this book and are not inspired to immediately go out and effect change in your community, then you were not paying attention and should read it again.” —Will Smith
Salome Thomas-EL was an award-winning teacher and principal in the Philadelphia School District for over twenty-years and is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Charter in Wilmington, Delaware. He is also an educational and media consultant. He visits schools around the country to consult with principals and teachers and to motivate students to be successful. Principal EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his inner-city students went on to win a national chess championship. He is a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show” and the author of the best-selling book I Choose to Stay. Thomas-EL frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN and NPR Radio and received the Marcus Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia. Principal EL received the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished Martin Luther King Award, was honored as Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best Philadelphian” and was a Reader’s Digest Magazine, “Inspiring American Icon”. Principal EL recently appeared on the Oprah Radio Network.
Praise for I Choose to Stay
“Intensely Moving…The redemptive power of a teacher’s love shines through these pages with prophetic grace.” —Jonathan Kozol