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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Field Trips: Again, a Source of Confusion

Or are they?

I will be writing a larger story about the annual Garfield field trip for their Marine Biology class.  (The school has been taking this trip for about 40 years and many students have said it was a catalyst to their interest in going into the field.) 

For right now, though, I thought it valid to state how this issue might be an issue for other schools AND the continuing need for the district to be clear on field trip policy.

I am waiting for feedback to my questions from district communications but here's the confusion that I have concern about for these parents (and other parents).

1) Someone told the parents the trip was on.  It wasn't the teacher but someone did.  The parents all put down a non-refundable deposit based on that information only to see the district say no, the trip was off.

You could understand how parents could be upset for a couple of reasons.   One, losing money and two, their child's disappointment that a trip that was on is now off.

2) What I was told is that the district, possibly based on some behavior issues from past trips, decided a "supervisor" from the district had to go on the trip.  I am seeking to clarify what/who that can mean.

Apparently, Garfield could not find someone to fulfill this requirement, so the trip was off.

3) Parents then sought out a group, Post 24, which organizes just such trips.  The "school trip" was now not a school trip as it was now privately organized.

However, the teacher, Jonathan Stever, sought to join the students.  But the district said no because if he were there, then it was a school trip.  (Part of this issue is that the trip is two days on either side of the Spring break so that he would not be at school those four days, just as the students wouldn't be. Naturally, he would be using vacation time for those days.) 

Not only was he told he couldn't go; he was told if he did it would be "insubordination."  I'm not sure I think a teacher who has organized/created curriculum for a long-time trip is exactly being insubordinate in wanting to go.  He is not going but that seemed like a big stick to bring out to make sure he didn't.

So what I find puzzling is the lengths that the district seems to be going to prevent this trip. 

Ah, but then there is the news that the parents of a girl who went on the trip several years back and who suffered an accidental head injury are now going to sue the district over the accident.  (I believe the Times will be having this story published in the next couple of days.)

I wish the district would be clear on this issue.  Parents need to know the parameters about field trips and yet these issues keep coming up.  Whiplashing parents and students back and forth serves no one and frankly, makes the district look like their policies are weak and unclear.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Garfield Garfield Garfield is the number one trouble maker in the district. They just arrested a potential school shooter from Garfield.

SPSP

NESeattleMom said...

SPSP,
How do you know that the details of the threat of the GHS student arrested Friday? (as per Ted Howard's letter to GHS families today)Is that the basis of the student's threat, or is that rumor?

joanna said...

I am not sure of the circumstances of the head injury, but doesn't it make sense that an accidental injury could happen on any field trip or at school. Generally entities such as the school district has insurance to cover such injuries. The rest of the story is just disheartening about the decision making by the district.

Jet City mom said...

Well, it is true people have been arrested over hearsay( myself for instance), but there apparently was threatening behavior.

http://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle-student-arrested-for-threats-that-teacher-reportedly-dismissed/281-521819975

Anonymous said...

Teachers don’t have vacation days. So no, the teacher naturally use vacation. Personal leave days have ruled, including not being used to extend vacations.

-TBD

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks, TBD, that was the better way to put it.

Jet City mom said...

I was a chaperone on a Garfield Marine Biology field trip.
No not the Hawaii trip that is being discussed, I’ve never been to Hawaii.
Personally, even though they have been going to Hawaii for probably 20 years, it is fairly restrictive.
They dont have space for all students in the marine biology classes, and the funds needed are more than many can afford.


However, I do think field trips are invaluable. Along with the Padilla Bay and eastsrn Wa field trips, we have the San Juans right here!
Why not go there? I expected if it was more inclusive the district wouldnt be pushing so hard against it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jet City Mom, I was told that any student who didn't have the funds could get a scholarship. Why Hawaii is a good question but again, the district should make their views clearer AND let schools/parents know in advance.

Jet City mom said...

Yes, if you qualify for FRL you can get financial assistance.

Still a “lottery”to go however, as there is not enough room for all students interested.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, is there ever enough room for all students interested in an interesting field trip? Especially with the district seemingly try to undercut students even going?

Jet City mom said...

No one stayed home as far I knew for the local trips.
If a trip is an important part of the class, then it is an important part of the class.

Anonymous said...

MW, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic with the "is there ever enough room?" comment. I've never heard of a lottery or a limit for a field trip (though I have seen optional field trips that were so expensive only a few could go).

-Pragmatic Xennial

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not being sarcastic; it's just that I've never known that for every field trip, every kid is able/wants to go.

Rufus X said...

Let's clear up some of the mystery regarding this trip.

Oceanography/Marine Science trips to Maui are not vacations; they are enhanced educational opportunities. Garfield and Ballard High Schools have run these trips for Oceanography/Marine Science students for years.

The GHS trip to Maui is open to current Oceanography students; there are a limited number of spots available because of the logistics of running such a trip (ratio of chaperones per students, space reserved at Camp Olowalu). Preference for attendance on this trip is given to current oceanography students; a wait list for other students (aka the "lottery") is maintained and, as spots open up due to cancellation etc, students who applied to attend the trip but aren't current oceanography students are randomly drawn from the wait list to fill the open spot.

Jet City Mom said "However, I do think field trips are invaluable. Along with the Padilla Bay and eastsrn Wa field trips, we have the San Juans right here!
Why not go there?"

Well, for one, the eco-system of the San Juans is different from Hawaii. If you're looking for biodiversity, the closer to the equator you get, the more diverse it is. Also, snokeling in the Puget Sound is not possible, and it's impossible to SCUBA dive w/o certification, which involves significant training & costs. Not everyone going on this Maui trip are SCUBA certified; they will be snorkeling instead.

Jet City mom says "Yes, if you qualify for FRL you can get financial assistance." That may be, but financial assistance is available for those who do not meet FRL guidelines. I have two students who are on this trip, and one was granted financial assistance by POST based on our ability to contribute to their trips x2. Also, there is a beach clean-up fundraiser that all attendees are expected to participate in.

Jet City mom says "I expected if it was more inclusive the district wouldnt be pushing so hard against it." If that is your expectation, you would be wrong. Ballard HS is on this very same trip right now; GHS parents have yet to hear what i's were dotted or t's crossed that allowed that trip to approved as a district-sanctioned trip, but GHS's was not.

If anyone has additional questions, I'm sure there are several parents who'd be happy to answer them here.

Jet City mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said...

I do see Ballard has 27 students in Hawaii.
However, I assume the Maritime program is much bigger than that.

At Garfield for example, there were at least two Marine Bio classes with 32 students or so in each class.
If as you say funds were available to assist everyone who wanted to go, it seems restrictive to limit it to less than half the students.
My student was interested in majoring in Marine Biology and was very disappointed when they were not selected to attend.
I realize that the islands of the Salish Sea are quite different than the islands of Hawaii, but what is the priority here?
To give a few students an amazing opportunity, or to give more students a great opportunity?

NESeattleMom said...

Jet City mom,
It was my understanding when my class of 2016 student was not selected for the trip was that there were a certain number of bunks at the cabins at the study area, and that reason determined how many could go. It also could be the chaperone ratio. It is my understanding that it used to be that UW students who had been GHS alumns of the program were chaperones.

Anonymous said...

What out of town enrichment trips do students with disabilities get to attend? They are entitled to all the same perks that other students get. Do IAs and other special education staff go to these pricey trips to Hawaii? Students with disabilities still are entitled to modification, accommodation, and attendance to all needs on the trips that others can attend. Can students get their accommodations and modifications described in their IEPs in these trips? Are students with disabilities even allowed in the programs with the luxurious enrichment? Are they even allowed in the programs that consider these trips? Are there equivalent trips for students with disabilities if students can’t access these special programs?

I suspect we all know the answer. No. We don’t take IAs to Hawaii!!! Why should they get a vacay at district expense.l? No. Students with disabilities aren’t in our super programs that go on big trips. They aren’t worth it. For students with disabilities... it’s do the minimum. No field trips. No Hawaii. No Marine Biology. No Biotech.

Folks. So sorry. All means all. Until we figure out the basics of equity....

Cancel Thetrips

Jet City mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said...

Im not surprised Garfield got into trouble with their lack of oversight, if they were allowing high school students to be supervised by college students.

General guidelines, are chaperones must be 21, to supervise elementary students on day trips, chaperones must be 25 years or older to supervise middle and high school students for any event.

NESeattleMom said...

Jet City mom,
I am not an expert on it since my student did not go. Maybe they were 25...

Anonymous said...

Garfield’s history of awful things happening on field trips (including the Post trips) is decades old. Let’s not forget the Post advisor and trip leader who killed himself when it came out that he was using the trips to have access to students for sex. Garfield can’t run an adequately supervised field trip - from the rape cases in Africa and the Olympics to the drinking teacher in New Orleans. I get why the district wanted an administrator there to supervise. It is telling that not a single one was willing to go and take on that responsibility.

-TBD

Anonymous said...

If you need me to post links to the various news stories to back this post up, happy to do so.

-TBD

Rufus X said...

"Let’s not forget the Post advisor and trip leader who killed himself when it came out that he was using the trips to have access to students for sex. "
"If you need me to post links to the various news stories to back this post up, happy to do so."

Yes, TBD, please do post a link to news reports of the specific incident you mentioned: POST trip leader who killed himself when it came out that he was using the trips to have access to students for sex. My google searches are coming up empty.

Melissa Westbrook said...

TBD, if I don’t see those links soon, I will delete your comment. Do not post comments like that without backup.

Jet City mom said...

Re the POST teacher.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000203&slug=4002678

Jet City mom said...

It is interesting how they refer to Al Jones as well respected.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000224&slug=4006544

Anonymous said...

And why would adminstrators want to support swanky extras for the few, when so many don’t get big trip opportunities? Pamper the comforted? At a risk to yourself? Doesn’t sound appealing.

reader

Anonymous said...

Here you go:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000203&slug=4002678

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000613&slug=4026522

https://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Garfield-High-again-seeks-principal-after-Day-1055734.php

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/former-garfield-high-teacher-charged-with-having-sex-with-student/

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/700000-settlement-reached-in-garfield-high-field-trip-case/

http://www.capitolhillseattle.com/2014/07/seattle-school-district-under-fire-for-handling-of-garfield-high-students-2012-rape-investigation/

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/garfield-choir-teacher-fired-for-field-trip-lapses/

http://komonews.com/news/local/reports-of-drinking-groping-on-garfield-hs-field-trip-to-new-orleans

And here is past coverage of the some these same issues on this blog: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-tragic-story.html

I would post more links, but I’ve hit the Seattle Times pay wall.

-TBD

Anonymous said...

Tom Hudson - among the issues “requiring male students to shower naked with him during boating and camping trips.”

-TBD

Anonymous said...

That is because he was having a sexual relationship with a cheerleader while he was the principal. They took off together and from what I understand, later married.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19991109&slug=2994216

https://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/State-won-t-punish-Garfield-ex-principal-accused-1084809.php



-TBD

Melissa Westbrook said...

TBD and others, so what is the answer? What is the point of all these links?

Is it to say Garfield has issues?

Is it to say that overnight field trips shouldn't be allowed?

Is it to say that any field trips that are not equitable in all ways not be allowed?

I'm just asking because it seems this story hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

That Garfield has a LONG problem of sexual misconduct between staff and students and of horrible things happening to students on field trips going back decades now. And it isn’t unreasonable to hold Garfield to a high standard because of past issues.

I think they need a leadership change and new leadership needs to go on any overnight trip until a track record of safety and appropriate staff behavior can be build.

-TBD

Anonymous said...

You had written:

“2) What I was told is that the district, possibly based on some behavior issues from past trips, decided a "supervisor" from the district had to go on the trip. I am seeking to clarify what/who that can mean.”

I was sharing what I think past trip issues may be.

-TBD

Anonymous said...

This is anecdotal but I know of at least one Hale kid with a disability who was able to take AP Environmental Science and participate in the field trips. The kid really wanted to take that class and school made it happen.

HP