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The Fishing School

The Fishing School prepares public school elementary and middle school students for success in high school and life by improving their academic performance and life skills; and engaging them and their parents in intensive, multi-year, and research-based out of school time and parent engagement programs and activities.

What We Do

We believe that children succeed in school when they are provided supports in math and reading; develop sound life skills; and when their parents are engaged. We also know that sustaining high quality interventions over a long period of a child’s life can produce the greatest results.

Youth receive high quality interventions through after school programs; summer programs; and Saturday, holiday, and virtual activities for middle school youth. Simultaneously, the youths’ parents and key family members are provided a host of supports and opportunities to engage in their child’s academic progress. Our school- and community-based programs are infused with technology to build 21st century skills, and supported by nonprofit and corporate partnerships to augment the resources we cannot provide alone. This approach, combined with strong school-day partnerships and a heavy emphasis on data analysis and outcomes, brings about strong and sustained results for children in our city.

Our Goals:

1. Improve math and reading performance
2. Improve school success and social skills
3. Improve identification of personal talents and careers
4. Increase parents’ introduction of math and reading activities at home
5. Increase parent engagement in school activities
6. Increase parent engagement in support services

Target Population:

• Title 1- eligible DC public and public charter schools
• All 1st to 5th graders in public schools
• 6th to 8th grade Fishing School continuing students
• Parents of Fishing School program students


Innovation and What We Know Works

Over the years, our focus on academic achievement has yielded strong outcomes for children. In November 2013, our programs were ranked first in Math and second in Reading outcomes for youth, out of 24 programs funded by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), as determined by an independent evaluator. In 2011-12, 57% of elementary and 45% of middle grades students in our program improved in Math, and in 2012-13, 66% of teachers reported that our middle grades participants improved their homework completion. During 2012-13, an average of 61% of participants in our program improved in Math and 53% improved in Reading.

Our innovative Cohort Model program design provides intensive, extended intervention through after school and summer camp programs for the same group of participants and their parents/guardians from 1st through 8th grades.

We use evidence-based curricula; hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)-based activities; life skills; in-person and virtual support to middle school students; and expanded engagement of parents as stakeholders in student success.


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