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Academic Booster Club

OLA Chess Club

After requests from several OLA parents, we are happy to announce that the OLA Academic Booster Club is launching a pilot program for a new after-school Chess Club. We are contracting with professional instructors from and students from all grades 1-8 and all skill levels are welcome. Chess sets, boards, workbooks and all related items are provided for the students. There will be one professional instructor for every 12 students enrolled in this program.

Register Here

Each session consists of a lesson, practice game, and individual coaching. From time to time, students also work on puzzles and exercises to sharpen their mental acuity and reinforce the lesson. The time is roughly split evenly between formal instruction and practicing what you learned.

From the folks at Bay Area Chess: “We teach chess as an enrichment class where students can learn about chess as well as successful living. Examining the board before moving is akin to evaluating your alternatives before making a decision. Preparing for a response to your move is akin to preparing for different possibilities in life. We also teach the value of losing and learning from your mistakes and we emphasize good sportsmanship and respect towards others.”

After-school chess clubs are gaining popularity and this is a great opportunity to learn the game for fun, strategy development, and as an alternative to computer-based gaming!


  • Who: Any OLA student in grades 1-8.
  • What to Bring: Nothing. All materials are provided.
  • When: Eight sessions beginning Thursday April 12th thru May 31st. Each session begins at 3:10 p.m. and ends at 4:10 p.m.
  • Where: Upper Hall
  • Why: Learn a classic strategy game, have fun with your friends.
  • How Much: $200 per student. Includes club t-shirt.

Important! The chess club pilot requires one parent per 12 kids to volunteer to watch, assist the instructor, monitor bathroom breaks, etc. during this pilot. Most likely this will be “low intensity” participation but we want to ensure a successful pilot and ensure that we are learning & iterating as we go. No chess experience necessary. The parent signup form is here: Chess Club Volunteer Form.

OLA Lego Robotics Club

Entering its second year, registrati8ons for our Lego Robotics program will open in May 2018 for the 2018-19 School Year. Keep on the look out for an announcement regarding opening of registration for this activity later this Spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Lego Robotics?

A: Lego Robotics is a Lego-sponsored initiative used by thousands of schools and millions of students to learn 21st century skills and turn Lego toys into programmable robots. If your son or daughter ever used/uses Legos, this just adds computers, sensors, and motors to what they already build but creates a pathway to more adventurous science and engineering pursuits down the road.

Who can join?

Do students need prior programming skills to join?

Any OLA student in grades 2-8.

Nope. Lego Mindstorms uses an object-oriented programming tool very similar to Scratch and Tynker that we expect OLA middle schoolers will quickly learn. Lego WeDo uses a graphical programming tool called Milo designed for kids ages 7 and up and is very easy to use.

Why should my son or daughter join?

Lego Robotics provides valuable extensions to math and science skills already being developed at OLA, as well as new opportunities to improve teamwork, collaboration, and creative thinking. Topical themes like artificial intelligence, design thinking, and the internet of things are made into concrete projects that students can relate to rather than less accessible, abstract concepts.

The club also provides opportunities for elected leadership positions for middle school students -- with an emphasis on those applying to high school soon -- along with opportunities for volunteer hours for club members who help as “buddies” for younger students. There will be a heavy emphasis on making the Lego Robotics experience enjoyable and fun, with snacks at every meeting, club t-shirts, prizes, and more.

When does the club meet?

The club meets Tuesdays from 3:15-4:45 in the lower hall starting September 19th

How much does it cost to join?

Club dues are $200 per year, which helps the ABC cover the costs of kits, terminals, storage units, and other expenses we incur to start and run the club.

What if I have sports or other conflicts?

The Lego Robotics Club is designed to be informal! There no (practical) penalty for missing a few meetings. Also, if our pilot program goes well, members will be eligible to participate in club meetings and initiatives in additional sessions held later in the school year.

How do I sign up?

Visit www by Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

How can I learn more?

Visit for useful links.