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Book reviews for "Thomas-El,_Salome" sorted by average review score:

I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner-City
Published in Hardcover by Kensington Pub Corp (2003)
Authors: Salome Thomas-El and Cecil Murphey
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Average review score:

Moving Memoir!
Salome Thomas-EL's I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner-City is a testament of selfless dedication and commitment to Philadelphia's inner-city community. He opens by recapping his childhood and ever-present internal drive to succeed despite the obstacles in his path. Born into a large family with little money and an absentee father, Mr. Thomas-EL excelled academically and stayed out of trouble as a youth. His record of accomplishment earned him respect from instructors who encouraged him to live up to his potential despite peer pressure to do otherwise. He credits his mother and teachers as having the greatest influence on his life and has made it his mission to reciprocate all the many blessings he has received.

He shares that early in his life he felt he was destined to teach and cites a few early adult experiences that seemed to confirm the inevitable. His innovative academic programs, strong rapport with students, and love of teaching led him to become an effective and influential educator and role model. Mr. Thomas-EL meticulously chronicles the resurgence and accomplishments of the Vaux Chess Team and the strategies that he used to encourage and develop the students' skills for the game and life's hard lessons. As stated in the foreword written by Arnold Schwarzenegger, there is no doubt that Salome Thomas-EL is to be commended for his tireless efforts and devotion to the children of Vaux Middle School. Written in the same vein of Joe Clark's Lean On Me, Thomas-EL's I Choose To Stay is proof that inner-city public schools can succeed and produce great students.

Although Thomas-EL's story is truly inspirational, it is the construct of the book or memoir that distracts from the story. There are some passages and concepts that are repeated and the story's flow stalled in a few areas. However, if the reader is looking for a positive, feel good, encouraging story, then this novel delivers.

APOOO BookClub, The Nubian Circle Book Club

High Expectations for All Children
As a teacher, administrator and now college professor, I have always shied away from the game of chess because I felt that it was too complicated. But being a former math major with the ability to see algebraic patterns this book inspired me to take up the game.
The students from Vaux Middle School were extremely impressive and an inspiration to every educator. As a college professor, who teaches graduate students in education, I often speak of high expectations for all students. I will constantly refer to this book and the students of Vaux as the role model. When you have high expectations for all students and teach them to have the same, they will meet and exceed the standards of high academic excellence. Too often, teachers have low expectations for minority, inner city, and impoverished children. They equate poverty with the lack of the ability to do high level rigorous work.
I will utilize the lessons and stories from Mr. Thomas-EL to continue to motivate teachers in helping all students achieve. Each time the students from Vaux Middle School were challenged to use their brains they were able to extend to the next level. Teachers need to help all students rise to that challenge.
I felt so proud of the students, and I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Thomas-El on publishing this book and on his true dedication to the students of Philadelphia.

Educations Need More Salome Thomas - El's
This is a must. Salome Thomas-El has written a excellent excellent book. I could not put it down chapter after chapter. This book truly symbolizes the passion that Salome Thomas-EL has for his students. This book takes a stand on money and places value with our children. It encourages children to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and realize that life gets easier with an education. I Choose To Stay is an excellent book not just for educators but for everyone. A power and encouraging story about the ultimate fight, our "children". This book showed me that there are still true educators who care, and are not willing to "go" just for the money. This is a must read.

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