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CIS on the International Stage: Sharing Our College Bound Success with the UK
(Featured Photo: CIS President & CEO, Debbie Eastburn, with Chris Fegan and Sean Marsh, the organizers of the Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) Tutor Conference in London).
By Debbie Eastburn, President & CEO
Earlier this month, I traveled to London, England to be a featured speaker at the annual Tutors Conference of Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC). CSC is a UK nonprofit that teaches chess in public schools in disadvantaged communities all over England and Wales. CSC focuses on elementary and middle school grades, but they are considering adding a program for secondary school students. I gave a presentation on the goals, curriculum, and results of our College Bound Program. The tutors were impressed by the breadth of the support we provide our students, and by our many achievements. They were especially curious about how we make chess “cool” for students at this age. My answer was that we provide an out-of-school community for kids who enjoy the challenge of chess at an age when peer relationships grow in importance. We give our College Bound students an environment that encourages their chess learning, inspires them to work toward college, and surrounds them with new friends and adults who share their interest in chess.
Also at the conference was Mike Klein, of ChessKid.com, which has provided membership accounts for our after-school club participants this year. Mike was a former CIS instructor back in the organization’s early days.
While in London, I was also able to visit some museums. My first stop was the British Museum where I saw the famed Lewis Chessmen. This is a historic set of Scandinavian pieces dating from the 12th century that was unearthed in Scotland. The pieces are made of walrus and whale teeth. I also visited the Victoria & Albert Museum where I found a very mod outfit on display that is perfect for a chess event!
Thank you to Malcolm Pein and CSC for hosting my UK trip. I was delighted to meet so many more chess educators who are helping children through chess education all around the world. And, as always, I was proud to represent CIS, and was reminded of our place in the world as leaders in chess education.