Skating in the Schools
Skating in the Schools is an educational enrichment program offering Boston youth an opportunity to learn how to skate and about the science of skating. The program gives students professional instruction in a sport that many have never tried before, offering an optional science curriculum with concepts drawn from physics, chemistry, technology, engineering, and sports science. Students benefit from learning a new exercise while experiencing the real-world application of science.
The program is managed by The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy and supported by The Skating Club of Boston, Boston Public Schools, City of Boston Parks & Recreation Department, and Friends of the Public Garden. The skating lessons are given at the beautiful Frog Pond skating rink on historic Boston Common.
The program is directed by Fred Palascak, a former national skating competitor and international performer with over 20 years of coaching experience. He is a licensed educator in Massachusetts. The skating lessons are given by top-level skating instructors from The Skating Club of Boston Skating Academy.
Skating in the Schools was founded by The Skating Club of Boston in 2011 to reach out to students in the City of Boston and give those without the means, an opportunity to learn to skate.
The program also strives to address the need for applied instruction in the sciences. According to a September 2012 article in the Boston Globe, test results showed that “26 percent [of Boston students] were proficient in science, compared with 54 statewide.” (Boston Globe, 9/19/12)
The Skating Club of Boston addressed both needs by creating a flexible program that offers skating instruction with an optional science curriculum examining the principles behind skating. Students learn to make real-world connections with what they are taught in the classroom.
To date, Skating in the Schools has worked with four schools (Washington Irving Middle School, Mather Elementary School, Neighborhood House Charter School, and Boston Green Academy) in the city of Boston.
Skating in the Schools provides schools with three different programs that
usually run from November to March. Schools choose the program that best
meets their needs.
1. On-ice Recreational Skating Lessons
Skating in the Schools provides skating instruction, skates, transportation to and from The Boston Common Frog Pond, and a healthy snack for all students. In addition, students get a season pass to the Boston Common Frog Pond and a one-year membership to U.S. Figure Skating. The skating lessons are given by top skating coaches from The Skating Club of Boston.
2. On-ice Recreational Skating Lessons + In-class “Science and the Sport of Ice Skating” Course
Skating in the Schools provides the skating instruction described above, paired with a course designed to connect students’ skating instruction with concepts in physics, chemistry, technology, engineering, and sports science. The importance of nutrition and fitness is also taught throughout. The course curriculum is flexible and designed to meet the school’s needs.
The Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale chose a 20-week program for 20 seventh and eighth grade students in the 2012-2013 academic year. This included one hour of on-ice lessons and one hour of classroom instruction per week. The classroom curriculum was designed by an experienced teacher in cooperation with school administrators and science teachers.
“It was really fun. In the beginning I was unsure. It seemed inevitable that I would love this program, and I did!”
3. Skating in the Schools Field Trip
The program provides a day field trip, which includes on-ice recreational skating, paired with one lesson from the “Science and the Sport of Ice Skating” course.
Skating in the Schools makes it a goal to reduce absenteeism and misconduct among its participants and to improve academic performance, especially in the area of science. By teaching students to skate, the program strives to expose students to the pleasure and discipline of learning a new sport and the value of exercise and good nutrition.
“The students had a lesson with a world-class skater and coach who developed a lesson using the engineering and design process in conjunction with skating principles. The class was taught in accordance with the Common Core Science Strand of the Massachusetts State Standards.”
The Skating Club of Boston
The Skating Club of Boston founded Skating in the Schools in 2011. It considers the program an important form of outreach to the city of Boston, its home for the past hundred years. Many professional skating coaches from The Skating Club of Boston volunteer their time to instruct Skating in the Schools students.
What Students Get
- Free skating lessons given by top instructors at The Boston Common Frog Pond
- Transportation to and from The Boston Common Frog Pond
- Season skating pass to The Boston Common Frog Pond
- One year’s membership in U.S. Figure Skating
- Academic enrichment through science curriculum
- Healthy snack
What Schools Get
- Chance for students to have fun and learn to skate at no cost to school
- Optional weekly classroom science curriculum covering several topics, including the physics and chemistry of skating
- Emphasis on the importance of nutrition and exercise
- Choice of three programs to be designed according to school needs
- Improved attendance, grades, and study habits