For the past 31 years, we have served more than 7,600 youth and their families, focusing on three main goals:
- Improving math and reading scores
- Supporting life skills development
- Engaging parents in their child’s academic career
Annually, an external evaluation firm measures the effectiveness of our programs by assessing the performance of our students. The evaluator collects a combination of quantitative and qualitative data from our school partners, students, parents, teachers, and site observations.
View a summary of our impact during the most recent pre-pandemic year of programming:
Student Academic Growth
With help from our school partners and with consent from parents, we use standardized test scores, school grades, IntelliSeeds data, and teacher surveys to assess student performance. Our programs are making an impact.
|2018-19||57% improved their scores||
44% improved their scores
54% improved their scores
|39% improved their scores|
In its most recent evaluation, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) evaluated 24 afterschool programs. OSSE analyzed data from annual assessments, surveys, and self-reported performance reports among sub-grantees for a five-year period.
The Fishing School ranked first in mathematics and second in reading and language arts; TFS ranked as the second-best program overall and was identified as a “best practice” program.
At The Fishing School, we embrace a culture of constant improvement. We have worked with independent evaluator, Stillmeadow Benchmark Associates, for more than a decade to analyze every aspect of our program, annually. The evaluator conducts classroom observations and analyzes data from:
- Parent, teacher, and student surveys;
- Parent and teacher focus groups;
- Student attendance reports;
- Academic performance assessments, including report cards, standardized test results, and IntelliSeeds diagnostic tests
Through this comprehensive data collection, Stillmeadow Benchmark Associates gauges how well our program impacts academic performance, student behaviors (e.g., turning homework in on time, behaving well in class, getting along with other students), parent engagement, participant satisfaction, and more. The evaluation results provides us with valuable insights that we use to improve our student programming, curriculum, and parent engagement.
Student Success Stories
Rachel Black, Licensed Master Social Worker; Penn State University (BA ’15)
“I grew up in DC’s Ward 7, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t going to The Fishing School. I was exposed to so many different things. The first time I went bowling and roller skating, or tried knitting, it was with The Fishing School.
Mr. Lewis started The Fishing School because most crimes committed by students occur in the afternoon when they are not supervised. I wanted to follow in Mr. Lewis’ footsteps and become a police officer, but decided I want to intervene early and prevent children from getting into trouble [later in life]. A lot of kids have trauma and disruption in their lives. They need mentors. They need someone they can trust. They need The Fishing School.”
James E. Huff, Officer, Metropolitan Police
“I grew up on Wylie Street in Northeast DC with my mom, grandmother, older sister, and younger brother. Before I got involved with The Fishing School, I had to find my own activities. I didn’t have anywhere to go after school, and we mostly played sports in the street or in the alley.
I came to The Fishing School when I was about 10 and it opened up my world. They always had fun activities and field trips and gave us snacks. I think the most important thing was that there were always adults around who cared how you were doing. They inspired me.
When I was in 7th grade, I was walking through the hall at school [instead of sitting in class]. Officer Friendly/Mr. Tom Lewis (founder of The Fishing School) saw me and asked why I wasn’t in class. I didn’t have a good answer, so I went back to class! Later in life, I was inspired by Mr. Lewis to serve my country and my community. When I became a police officer, as he had been, Mr. Lewis helped me fill out the application. I’ve been a DC police officer since 2000, and I’ve been back to The Fishing School to talk to the kids.”
Dwight Deloatch Jr, Owner and CEO, H&B Services; Delaware State University (BA ’13, MBA ’21)
“As a former student in The Fishing School’s after school program, I am one of the 7,000 students who benefitted from the heartfelt support of Mr. Tom Lewis and the TFS family of staff and supporters over the last 30 years. I was blessed to have two loving parents to guide me during my youth. However, the time I spent at The Fishing School during those formative years served as reinforcement for the love, training and support provided by my parents. As a college student some years ago and now as a young business owner, every day I rely on grit, perseverance and determination, principles The Fishing School helped make a part of my character.”