At just six years old, Bella was one of ASAP’s youngest participants at the 2018 Philly Girls Play Chess summer camp. Although she had less experience than the older campers, Bella’s determination, desire and passion to play was unrivaled. In fact, she was only in kindergarten when she asked her father if she could play in her first chess tournament. Bella was competing in her first ASAP Chess event in January 2018 at the Annual ASAP-PECO Checkmate Violence tournament. It is one of the largest competitions of the year with more than 250 students. Following Checkmate Violence, Bella went on to compete in over five tournaments leading up to the girl’s camp. By the time summer rolled around, she was ready to take on new challengers and learn new skills. Little did she know, at the mere age of six, Bella would be embraced by a community of strong, female chess players of all ages at various levels of play, united by their passion for the game.

A new analysis by researchers from the University of Washington eScience Institute, in partnership with CRPE and ReSchool Colorado, shows a recurring trend that students who are black or Hispanic, and those who come from households with lower incomes or less-educated parents, tend to have less access to out-of-school opportunities that might affect their learning.

The White House announced a five-year strategic plan for STEM education, setting forth what it calls a “North Star” that “charts a course for the Nation’s success.” “It represents an urgent call to action for a nationwide collaboration with learners, families, educators, communities and employers,” the White House plan reads. The administration’s goal is threefold: for every American to master basic STEM concepts, like computational thinking, in order to respond to technological change; to increase access to STEM among historically underserved students; and to encourage students to pursue STEM careers.

Apple today unveiled new resources designed to bring coding education through the Everyone Can Code program to even more students around the world. Starting today, customers can register for thousands of free Hour of Code sessions, available at all Apple Store locations around the world from December 1 through 14. The company also introduced Swift Coding Club materials to help teach coding outside of the classroom with Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn programming language used by professional developers to create world-class apps. And to help prepare and develop students for the workforce, the company unveiled new Advanced Placement curriculum and App Development with Swift certification.

Borrowing ideas from adult versions of the game, escape rooms are an increasingly popular style of K-12 teaching that educators say offer a creative way to get students engaged with material and excited about problem-solving. They include the classic game components — teamwork, clues and prizes — with an educational twist aligned to traditional classroom lessons and curriculum standards.

In so many ways, our schools are built for an earlier version of American society and economy. Structural changes can help make them work better for children and families. School schedules put pressure on families struggling to construct a sane, healthy life for their children. A recent Center for American Progress brief asks the obvious question: Why not set up the school day to mirror the workday? The brief proposes that education leaders find ways to align the school day with families’ work schedules. The direct benefits are multitudinous. First, an expanded school day would give kids more learning time. Second, more learning time could help schools give students a wider range of educational experiences.

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