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EDUCATION SENSATION


SKATING IN THE SCHOOLS PROGRAM TAKING OFF IN BOSTON by KAMA KORVELA


In the 2005 film Ice Princess, the main char-


acter, Casey Carlyle, applies the knowledge she learned in her high school physics class to im- prove her figure skating skills. Like Casey, Te Skating Club of Boston is combining athletics and academics to show students just how educa- tional skating can be. Te club created Skating in the Schools, a


program that gives middle school children from various Boston-area schools the chance to learn how to figure skate, and teaches them about classroom subjects such as physics, chemistry and engineering. It is designed to be a learning enrich- ment program and is held during the schools’ ex- tended learning hours time. “By combining the on-ice program with


an in-class curriculum, Skating in the Schools introduces a different approach to learning that connects the students’ success and learned confi- dence on the ice with greater success and learned confidence in the classroom,” Doug Zeghibe, ex- ecutive director of Te Skating Club of Boston, said.


Te club works with the Boston Public Schools system, the Boston Parks & Recreation Department and U.S. Figure Skating to manage the program. In addition, the Friends of the Pub- lic Garden, a nonprofit organization in Boston, assists with funding for Skating in the Schools. Te students skate at the Boston Common Frog Pond ice rink. Students are nominated by their teachers to


A volunteer laces up the skates of a middle school student as part of the Skating in the Schools program.


be a part of the program. In addition to skating lessons, participants also receive free skate rent- als, transportation to and from the rink, healthy snacks, a season pass to the Frog Pond and a one- year membership in the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program. Fred Palascak, a former U.S. pairs skater who


participated in the reality TV show “Skating with the Stars,” is the program’s lead instructor. “We are introducing the sport of ice skating to a population of youth within the city of Boston that may not otherwise be exposed to it,” Palascak said.


While Skating in the Schools began in 2011,


Palascak became involved in the program in 2012. As a high school math teacher in Milton, Mass., he sees the need firsthand for this type of community involvement. “Tere was an article in the Boston Herald in


September 2012 that showed how Boston public school students lagged behind other kids in many school subjects, especially when it comes to sci- ence skills,” Palascak said. “Skating in the Schools creates an experience for students to make real-world connections to the science they learn in the classroom.” Te children who participate in the program


are not the traditional students one might expect to be interested in the sport, Zeghibe said. “Tese kids are older than the typical kids


in a U.S. Figure Skating learn-to-skate program,” he said. “Tey also generally have fewer resources available to them to get to an ice rink, buy or rent skates, ice time or coaching.” One of the program’s most memorable par-


46 JUNE/JULY 2013


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