The Fishing School

The Fishing School

Promoting Youth Development

The Fishing School (TFS) promotes youth development by presenting students with opportunities to take charge of their own environment within a safe program structure.  All TFS programs are based on Positive Youth Development (PYD) principles that promote youth voice, choice, and opportunities to ensure smooth transition from youth to responsible adulthood.  Students are provided opportunities to create their own rules of behavior, brainstorm program concepts, self-select clubs that appeal to their personal interests and talents, provide their input on activities, and participate in staff selection.  In addition, students are surveyed for their feedback about staff, program activities, and other programmatic components.  This data is used both internally and externally to assess the overall impact of TFS programs.

All full-time staff in the programs department are required to complete the 30-hour Advancing Youth Development (AYD) certification and the 15-hour AYD supervisors’ course to train staff on how to support youth’s expressed needs and provide opportunities for true development.

Youth also continue to play a crucial role in the hiring process of our program staff. Afterschool Instructor candidates present a mock lesson to our students after passing a rigorous screening process.  The students’ feedback on the candidates is taken into account when making the final hiring decision.  Upon hiring, all new staff members receive at least two hours of an initial Positive Youth Development (PYD) training and continued trainings throughout the year.  We also use the PYD aligned assessment tool, the Youth Program Quality Assessment tool developed by the Weikert Center on Youth Program Quality, enabling our managers to observe PYD practice objectively and reinforce its use among instructional staff.

For more information about The Fishing School and to get involved, please visit, or call (202) 399-3618.

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