The Fishing School

The Fishing School

Providing Opportunities for Youth to Thrive

Education is one of the greatest determining factors in the success of a child’s life. Yet sadly, the achievement gaps in DC are among the widest in the country, particularly for children in DC’s low-income communities and communities of color. According to results of the 2016 DC Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, only 17.4% of African-American students in grades 3-12 were proficient in Math, compared to 71% of Caucasian students in the same grades. Similarly, only 19.3% of African-American students were proficient in English Language Arts, compared to 74% of Caucasian students.

The 2016 PARCC scores reflected likewise disparities in regards to income: only 19.8% of Ward 7 and 12.7% of Ward 8 students showed proficiency in Math, compared to 52.2% of students in Ward 3, the highest-income ward in DC. Similarly, only 16.2% of Ward 7 and 13.1% of Ward 8 students showed proficiency in ELA, compared to 59.8% of students in Ward 3. Families in Wards 7 and 8 have the city’s lowest median income of $31,142 and $26,269 respectively, well below DC’s median income of $63,587 (2014). Furthermore, the academic achievement gap between youth from low and high-income families has grown by 30% in the last 30 years. On average, low-income students lose two months of reading progress over the summer, and, once formed, these achievement gaps can be nearly impossible to bridge. We must – and can – do better.

These stark disparities in test scores evidence the compelling need for strong and proven academic interventions in DC’s predominantly African-American and low-income communities. Through a multi-pronged approach, The Fishing School’s programs based on the “Cohort Model” successfully work to address these negative trends and the realities facing children living in DC’s Wards 7 and 8. Our work reflects research which evidences that participation in high-quality, OST programs can help to significantly close the achievement gap. On average, TFS students receive 650 hours of intervention annually between the key hours of 3:15 and 6:00 pm, with focus on academic support, building life skills, and engaging parents. TFS’ model combats the achievement gap by providing opportunities for youth to thrive in today’s society economically, academically, and socially.

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

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