State Funds $255K for Chess Programs in Maryland Schools

Twenty-Four Programs Throughout State To Receive Funding For Chess Programs

BALTIMORE (July 19, 2007) - The Maryland State Department of Education today announced 24 programs that will receive up to $10,000 each in grant funding to support a Chess in Maryland Schools program. The announcement took place at the MLS Learning Inc. chess program, located at Crossland High School in Prince George's County.

Statewide funding, totaling $255,000, was made available through a budget appropriation during the 2006 General Assembly. This is the first time the Department has made funding available for chess programs in Maryland.

The MLS Learning chess program is the only program to begin operating this summer; the remaining 23 programs will begin in the fall. There are 52 students representing elementary, middle, and high school participating in the MLS Learning chess program. Overall, an estimated 750 students will participate in programs funded by the Chess in Maryland Schools grant. Any local school system, individual school, community-based organization, or not-for-profit organization that had a desire to offer chess instruction to students in Maryland schools was eligible to apply for one of the grants to support an existing or new chess program. The chess programs can occur before or after school, during the instructional day, or during the summer.

The funded programs represent 12 jurisdictions (11 counties and Baltimore City) throughout Maryland totaling 37 participating schools - nine high schools; 10 middle schools; and 18 elementary:

* Anne Arundel County - 1 program (Severna Park Elementary)
* Baltimore City - 7 programs (Chinquapin Middle; Diggs-Johnson Elementary; Dunbar Middle; Dr. Roland Patterson Sr. Academy; George Washington Elementary; Glenmount Elementary; Westport Academy)
* Baltimore County - 2 programs (1 - Deer Park Elementary; Deer Park Middle; New Town High School; 2 -Arbutus Middle)
* Calvert County - 1 program (Beach Elementary)
* Caroline County - 1 program (North Caroline High)
* Garrett County - 1 program (1 - Accident Elementary; Friendsville Elementary; Grantsville Elementary; Northern Middle; Northern High; Route 40 Elementary)
* Montgomery County - 5 programs (Broad Acres Elementary; Eastern Middle; James Hubert Blake High; Oak View Middle; White Oak Elementary)
* Prince George's County - 1 program (MLS Learning Inc at Crossland High)
* Queen Anne's County - 1 program (Sudlersville Middle)
* St. Mary's County - 1 program (1 - George Washington Carver Elementary; Great Mills High; Green Holly Elementary; Lexington Park Elementary; Park Hall Elementary; Spring Ridge Middle)
* Wicomico County - 1 program (Parkside High)
* Worcester County - 2 programs (1 -Berlin Intermediate School; 2 -Snow Hill Middle; Snow Hill High)

"I am thrilled that the Department is providing this funding to support Chess in Maryland Schools," said Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. "Participation in an extended learning chess program can assist students with developing critical thinking, self-esteem, social skills, and other necessary skills to be successful in school and in other aspects of life."

The grant funding, up to $10,000 a year per program, may be used to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of chess programs; including purchasing curriculum and supplies, costs associated with training staff and volunteers, and costs associated with tournaments and trips to enhance student's chess experience.

"I strongly believe that Chess Programs are valuable to learning," said State Senator Ulysses Curry (District 25, Prince George's County), who was instrumental in getting the funding for this program. "Some research suggests that there is a connection between scholastic Chess Programs and improved academic performance."

Grantees will be required to operate a program for a least 20 students and participate in a MSDE program-wide evaluation. The evaluation will examine the chess programs' impact on students' attitudes toward approaching critical thinking and problem solving activities, appropriate social interaction skills with peers and adults, perceived self-esteem and self confidence, and chess playing knowledge. In addition, each program should seek to provide opportunities for parental involvement in the chess program and increased parental knowledge about chess.

"Prince George's County public school students will benefit from this investment. We are fortunate to have local and state officials who demonstrate their support for programs that will aid us in accelerating student achievement," said Dr. John E. Deasy, Prince George's County Public Schools Superintendent.

For more information about the Chess in Maryland Schools program or to apply for one of the grants call 410-767-0034 or visit the MSDE website at

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