Field Trips for All (by Erica, Erin, Patricia, and Tara)

school-457839_1280This term our team was working with Martin Luther King Jr Elementary school to raise funds for two fourth-grade classes to go on field trips throughout the school year. Field trips are an important part of the school experience, helping children broaden their contextual knowledge and deepen learning by connecting classroom material with real-world experience. Field trips encourage curiosity, expand curriculum and engage students in their communities. Unfortunately, field trips are often viewed as unnecessary extra-curricular activities and are frequently the among first items to get cut from a school’s budget.

With the No Child Left Behind act, and more recently the Race to the Top act, a major portion of school funding is contingent upon enough students meeting set criteria through standardized testing. Such tests are in many ways an unfair measure of achievement, disadvantaging non-English speaking students, special education students, minority and low-income children and their schools. When low-testing schools receive less funding their students lose important education opportunities, support programs, and the most-qualified teachers. In order to save the most-needed core classes and stay open full-time schools are forced to make cuts wherever it is feasible.

This means that some schools must either forego field trips completely, or pass part of their costs on to students and parents. MLK Jr. Elementary has a disproportionate amount of low-income students, many of whose families are coping with NE Portland’s rising housing costs, making school fees a true financial burden. Many students at the school cannot come up with the fees, sometimes so many that the entire trip has to be cancelled. Our mission this term was to try to ease some of that financial burden so that more students could experience the benefits field trips have to offer.

We definitely met some challenges along the way in our fundraising efforts. Because the short-term amount we needed to raise was relatively low we expected it to be easier to meet our goal than it was. Instead we found out that that it can be pretty difficult to get people or businesses to donate when there isn’t a direct benefit to themselves. If we had anticipated how challenging this would be we would have probably coordinated our efforts differently, perhaps selling goods or a service rather than attempting to solicit direct donations. Even though not all of our plans worked out we have raised some money through our GoFundMe page and we still have a Dining for Donations event coming up early next month. So while we may not have met our goal for the school year yet we haven’t been entirely unsuccessful and hopefully can meet it with the upcoming event.

As our time for this project comes to a close, we ask ourselves what else we can do as a community to help our local schools. Ways to help would include:

  • Join us December 14h at Applebee’s Lloyd Center location at 1439 NE Halsey St. for a Dining for Donations event.
  • Check out and share our GoFundMe page on social media: https://www.gofundme.com/king-elementary-school-field-trips-2vpx7fnx .
  • This does not have to be a financial contribution, this could be your time as well, which is very valuable!
  • Research and support local and state measures that support increases to educational funding.
  • Business owners: consider helping your neighborhood school by fundraising for them!
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4 thoughts on “Field Trips for All (by Erica, Erin, Patricia, and Tara)

  1. That was great you guys! Everything you are doing is so important to those children’s education! During our project we definitely ran into some stop signs…. the whole way. But, the next class of students should be able to tackle these projects head on and finish what we started. It is a great feeling to help students in our communities have the same opportunities as others. Thank you for you work!

  2. I hate that extra curricular activities are the first to be cut, such as recces. The place that I volunteered at refuses to do such a thing and it is beyond beneficial to the students. I also agree that field trips are very beneficial as well, I loved them as a child and was more than excited to run home and tell my parents all about what I learned which helped me retain information even better. Compared to coming home from a regular day at school and our conversations being, “how was school?” “school.” “learn anything new?” “no.” I love that you mentioned you experienced a few hiccups on the way because honestly Id be impressed if one group didn’t. collecting $135 is awesome though you guys! Yes we were faced with a short amount of time but I think that you all laid some great foundations for upcoming Capstone students and everything you guys started could be taken and blown up to the extent that you guys were hoping for. GREAT job to you all & Happy Holidays!

    Sarah

  3. I really liked seeing other’s struggles, and I mean that in a good way lol. It’s just nice seeing that other groups were experiencing the same difficulties as my own group was, and it’s also nice seeing that some of those challenges were handled. I like how you guys did a gofundme page, our group considered doing that, but we ran out of time; it’s nice to see that people donated as well! I like the subject you guys had as well, field trips are essential to growing up, it makes elementary a thousand times more enjoyable and actually does motivate students to want to learn. I hope the work continues and is a success!

  4. Great work Erica, Erin, Patricia, and Tara! The video looks awesome! I love that you touch on your initial thoughts about how you all thought the project was going to go. I love the honesty and the very clear passion you all had for this project. Similar to your project, my team also thought it was going to be easier to raise money for projects in our community that seemed like a no brainer. I hope your upcoming “Dining for Donations” event goes well and that you all reach your final goal.

    Thank you to everyone who participated in discussion all term! I wish you all the best for your futures!

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