PSLA at Fowler Students Develop Interpersonal Skills Through Fishing

     Published on 8/31/16   Tagged under:    District News    Academics    PSLA @ Fowler   

In the 2014-15 school year, the SCSD Educational Foundation awarded MSAP teacher Pat Gillette a grant to assist in addressing social and emotional needs of students in a fishing program with cross-curricular components.
Last year, Mr. Gillette taught 9th to 12th grade students in a 12:1:1 community-based special education classroom at PSLA at Fowler. He again applied for the grant, recognizing that the program’s success at MSAP could fairly easily be replicated with PSLA and Fowler students.
Mr. Gillette’s students prepared throughout the school year, practicing casting, studying fresh water ecosystems, researching types of fish and more. Their culminating event in June: a visit to Upper Onondaga Park, where students enjoyed a day of fishing and team building activities.
“It’s fascinating when you take students with behavioral issues and put a fishing pole in their hands,” Mr. Gillette said. “They work cooperatively, they show patience, they show perseverance. And I really feel good about what we’re doing, because we’re showing a bunch of urban kids the easy access they have to the city park. They’re realizing that they can fish right here near their homes.”
After their fishing excursion, students were asked to complete a writing assignment in which they told of their experience and what they saw, touched and heard.
“I want to come back here again,” Yanira Rodriguez said of the park. “I like fishing because it’s fun. The trick is the worms!”
Thanks to the Ed Foundation grant, Mr. Gillette was able to purchase fishing poles and equipment for students that will remain with the school year after year. He noted that with Principal Williams’ support and the possibility of building bus funding into the school’s budget, he hopes to continue the fishing trip again in the 16-17 year. This was one of 19 projects funded by the SCSD Educational Foundation in 14 schools last year, totaling $50,000. The SCSD Educational Foundation has funded more than $750,000 in SCSD projects since 2003.