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Do your local schools have an 8th grade trip? And.....


DawnM
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do you know if the cost is the same for every school?

 

I am a little irritated.  I now work in the same district as my kids.  My son is in 8th grade this year and their Washington D.C trip is $600.  The school I work in has the same trip and they are charging $425.

 

GRRR!!!!!!!!

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I hadn't heard of the ubiquitous 8th grade DC trip until I was an adult. Not a thing in the "tier" of public schools I attended. You couldn't have paid me $600 to go on an overnight trip with my classmates in 8th grade. Every day with those people was more than enough.

 

Our class went to Six Flags for a day for our "8th grade trip". $20, plus a packed lunch. Even then, a lot of kids struggled to afford that.

 

Is the PTO of one school subsidizing one trip but not the other? Different number of kids? Seems odd that there would be such a discrepancy within the district.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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My guess would be that the school with the cheaper trip did more fundraising or the PTO/PTA contributed more funds. Another possibility is that the two schools made different choices for hotels, buses or food. If one school has more kids going, they may have gotten better group rates.

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The little school here did a week-long trip to NYC last year (including air fare) for the three 8th graders. Their goal was to raise $10,000. I don't know how close they got to their goal, but the individual families had to pick up the remainder.

Edited by Kinsa
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My niece's school does not do 8th grade trips. They do a high school trip to D.C. And only take forty five students out of the entire student body. Students earn their spot through an essay competition. They have three writing prompts to choose from all centered around American Government/History.

 

The nice thing about this approach is that they end up only taking students interested and serious enough to enter the essay competition. It is expensive to make the trip, but the school helps the kids fundraiser and a couple of wealthy farmers donate a nice chunk each year to help make it pretty likely that everyone selected can go.

 

I am not a fan of the middle school trip as a rule. They are nearly always taken in May and our rocket team is in DC the second week of May for the TARC competition. We take our nice, well mannered team to the Air and Space and have to deal with mounds of wild middle schoolers pushing, yelling, being rude. Sigh.... I always have to control my urge to scream "Control you baboons please!" I wish these trips were saved for upper class men in high school. I think a few more years of maturity would be a good thing.

 

Some of our school districts take absolutely zero trips except for performance groups, and a few will occasionally have an industrious foreign language class raise enough to take a trip. These are all high school groups though.

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My son's charter school has an 8th grade trip. Last year they went to St. Louis, about a 5 hour drive from here, where the visited the City Museum and other places. I believe that they raised most of the money by designing, printing and selling t-shirts (they have a silk screening set-up that the kids learned to use as part of the project.) I think that they still asked for a small amount of money to cover the difference between what they raised and what they still needed, but that no one was left out due to inability to pay. 

My son is a 7th grader this year, and they've already gone on one overnight trip this year: they went camping the second week of school. We were asked for a $20 donation to help cover the expense of bus rental and food (kids packed lunches for day one, they provided dinner, breakfast and lunch the following day) but they stressed that if you couldn't afford the $20 that your child was still welcome. 

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My nephew's trip to D.C. was almost $5000, it was optional. When I suggested to my brother that they instead spend less and take the entire family it was not taken well.

That is nuts! One of the districts planned a trip to Spain for the Spanish club a couple of years ago. Including covering plane tickets and hotels for chaperones it was only $2500.00 for each student for a week flying out of Detroit.

 

We spent a week in Iceland - three people - for $4800.00. Whomever planned that trip to D.C. is insane. We take our rocket team to D.C. for five days and manage it on $1800 for three adults and six team members. The two girls, female driver, and self in one room, and Dh with four boys in the other room. We stay in Manassas at the Holiday Inn or Wyndham Gardens and use the train from the Vienna Street Station. Even if they are chartering a bus and staying in D.C. proper it should not be $5000.00 a piece. Did they hire Gordon RAmsey or Bobby Clay to cook all week??? Wow!

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At our local PS the 8th graders have a class trip to Six Flags (Fiesta Texas) -- cost is around $30 including a meal with scholarships available.  There is also an optional DC trip (usually 5-10 kids out of 150 go)  that is usually $800-1000... my dd did not go.

 

Now dd is in the high school band-- the band boosters raise at least half of the yearly trip costs-- the trip length/cost is also rotated.  This is a 'close' year and they are going 4 hours away to a Great Wolfe Lodge for one night... next year will be a $$$ cruise (but with booster support the 3 day cruise should be around $500)--DH and I are planning on sponsoring (we get a bit of a discount too!).

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Fundraising is not greater at one school vs. the other.  In fact, the one that costs more gets a lot more donated through various sources because the community tends to have more money.  The lower income school say they have a tough time with any fundraisers because the community just won't contribute.

 

 

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Around here pretty much all schools, public and private and parochial all, do an eighth grade WDC trip.  It's as if it's a statewide standard (though of course it is not).  Typically they go down on a very-early-departure bus (my daughter's trip last year left at 4:30 am), stay 4 to a hotel room for 2-3 nights, and come back very late (she returned after 10p).  Both the kids and the parent associations do fundraisers, and they take a bus, and the government sites and most of the museums in WDC are free, so it works out to be less than ~$500, sometimes a lot less (hers was less than $300).  

 

I can't imagine doing a school trip that requires airfare.  Surely there are instructive places to go / things to do within a 4-6 bus ride of just about any place in America?

 

 

 

My niece's school does not do 8th grade trips. They do a high school trip to D.C. And only take forty five students out of the entire student body. Students earn their spot through an essay competition. They have three writing prompts to choose from all centered around American Government/History.

The nice thing about this approach is that they end up only taking students interested and serious enough to enter the essay competition. It is expensive to make the trip, but the school helps the kids fundraiser and a couple of wealthy farmers donate a nice chunk each year to help make it pretty likely that everyone selected can go.
...

Some of our school districts take absolutely zero trips except for performance groups, and a few will occasionally have an industrious foreign language class raise enough to take a trip. These are all high school groups though.

 

 

That is a neat way to select for WDC when it's not within driving distance.  As you say, some kids who are in select performance groups / terrific sports teams / other competitions get the opportunity to travel; doing a civics essay competition is a neat way to open up such opportunities to a circle that might not get such chances, and to focus the trip around that interest.

 

When WDC *is* within driving distance, I do feel like it's worth exposing kids who might not otherwise have an opportunity to go.  There is so much there, with so much concentrated historical record as well as so many institutions so central to our national decision making processes; and once you're there it's really very accessible and affordable.

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Unless you are going on the EXACT same trip with that group (same dates, same buses, same accommodations, same meal plan, etc) you can't really compare.  A lower income school may need to work harder to keep costs accessible.  They may designate more funding to cover.   A single person could have applied for a grant.  There are a lot of ways this could fall out like this.

 

I live in a large urban district.  Many schools (but not all) with an 8th grade do a trip.  The individual trips vary widely. 

Edited by WoolySocks
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My oldest did a trip to Washington DC in 8th grade with her private school.  It was expensive but memorable for her.

 

My boys' charter had an 8th grade trip that included visiting Google in Kansas City or someplace similar.  They did not go.

 

I don't know what the regular neighborhood middle school does.

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The school my ds would've attended if he'd have chosen public school last year takes their 8th graders to London. I have no idea of the cost, but... wow.

 

 

You couldn't have paid me $600 to go on an overnight trip with my classmates in 8th grade. Every day with those people was more than enough.
 

 

AMEN!! :lol:
 

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Ooh, and for your homeschooling connection, a homeschool friend got her charter school to cover their costs for a D.C. trip. They covered airfare (even for her), hotel, and museum entry. She only had to pay for food.

 

Get this, they're putting together a HAWAII trip this year.

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I guess our school district is different.  They do four days of outdoor week for the eighth graders.  Different places each day.  They go to a lake, museums, outdoor games and tie dye t-shirts....etc....

 

It's free.

 

I haven't heard of anybody ever complaining about not taking an expensive trip to DC or other place.  My kids have been happy with this.

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Dude, our school's Washington trip is like $1500, so $600 seems crazy low to me.

 

Our school does multiple trips, including a Utah backpacking trip and a Costa Rica trip, ranging from $1500-3500.

 

My children don't go on these trips.

 

For middle school?  Public?

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Fundraising is not greater at one school vs. the other.  In fact, the one that costs more gets a lot more donated through various sources because the community tends to have more money.  The lower income school say they have a tough time with any fundraisers because the community just won't contribute.

 

Then it may be in the details:

 

Red Roof Inn or Clarion

Add on entertainment like going to a rec center one night for games and pool time ( The rec center where I work has tour groups reserve nights where they alone have the run of the facility)

going to only free admission museums or adding the Spy Museum or Holocaust Museum

Who is leading the tours: does one school have one well versed guide making everything seemless. Are there special activities set up with each museum visit. 

 

There are a lot of details big and small that add up. I could easily see these shaving $200 off a $600 trip. 

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I am very excited though. This year we have grant funding to take our 4H engineering class to Cleveland to the Great Lakes Science Center and John Glen Research if our group is chosen for the special tour. It is just one night out, but for us to have enough funding $80.00 per student which covers the cost of cramming four girls and a female driver/chaperone into one room, and Dh and four boys into the other, packed supper on the way to help save money, it is exciting.

 

Many of the kids in our county have never traveled far. Incomes are very low here, and IF families get away they often camp up north at a state park - thankfully Michigan has amazing state parks with a lot of free activities through the park ranger program. So we have had years when we have had high schoolers on our rocket team who had never been outside the state, and sometimes not outside the tri county area. It was so much fun to take them to D.C.!

 

Costa Rica is just really hard for me to wrap my brain around. We had to fight so hard to get $80 per student for this crazy low budget trip. I simply cannot imagine funding an international trip.

 

Last year we wrote seventeen grant proposals in order to have the hope of enough businesses coming through that we could complete Student Launch Initiative with six students and take them to Huntsville to launch their rocket with NASA.

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Our public school does end of the year field trips and outings but not anything expensive or overnight. Student council goes to Tallahassee state capital & a movie. All students go to Wonder Works in Panama City beach. And students that didn't get a referral all year go to Dave & Busters for the day in Panama.

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My school never took an overnight trip. I dont know about now. I doubt it. We live in a poor area, so Im guessing only a handful of kids could go anyway. As a matter of fact it is so bad they gave the whole county free lunch so many kids qualified.

Edited by Elizabeth86
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My nephew's trip to D.C. was almost $5000, it was optional. When I suggested to my brother that they instead spend less and take the entire family it was not taken well.

My daughter's ten day high school excursion to London was less than that!

 

Around here, D.C. is a daily commute, so a trip would happen during the school day and they pack a lunch. They do some sort of outdoor camping thing in middle school here, but my kids weren't in school at that age, so I'm not sure what the objective is.

 

I find Air & Space unbearable from May-August. The worst was when a boy scout jamboree was in DC. I'm scarred for life over that one. I try to stack our DC trips for the year towards the beginning of the school year before anyone can get organized enough to plan a trip.

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Around here, D.C. is a daily commute, 

I find Air & Space unbearable from May-August. The worst was when a boy scout jamboree was in DC. I'm scarred for life over that one. I try to stack our DC trips for the year towards the beginning of the school year before anyone can get organized enough to plan a trip.

 

 

 

I'm jealous!  I would love to zip over to DC at my leisure during an un-busy time. We have to enjoy the museums only very occasionally, and during busy times.  LOL 

 

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My nephew's trip to D.C. was almost $5000, it was optional. When I suggested to my brother that they instead spend less and take the entire family it was not taken well.

 

 

At a public school? That's crazy (also crazy if that was a private school, unless the trip was multiple weeks long).

 

I don't remember *exactly* when all the field trips happened when I was in school. Since I was in the bilingual program in 7th & 8th grade we had some trips others didn't - the first few days of 7th grade was at 'camp' in NL (different province), in 8th grade we spent almost a week in London (stayed with host families, a few students per family, so that reduced costs I'm sure). Also in 7th or 8th grade we went to Xanten (day trip). I may or may not be forgetting something. I skipped 9th grade, so, no clue. In 10th grade we went to Paris for a few days, in 11th grade to Italy for a week (if you include the bus ride there), I've also spent a couple of days at orchestra 'camp' in NL (same place as the 7th grade 'camp'... the school owned that place or something), and at some point in high school we went cross-country skiing in Germany as a day trip. None came even remotely close to that expensive (Italy cost the most, and was I think 800 guilders or so (which, after converting to euros, doing an inflation calculator from 2000 to 2017, and then converting to usd, is about $600). This was not a public school though (though it was publicly funded), and was considered to be a snobby school. I don't think any of the field trips were mandatory, and for low income people there was always financial aid available, afaik if you were under the poverty line your kid could've gone to Italy etc for free (if you were willing to fill out the forms). 

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Then it may be in the details:

 

Red Roof Inn or Clarion

Add on entertainment like going to a rec center one night for games and pool time ( The rec center where I work has tour groups reserve nights where they alone have the run of the facility)

going to only free admission museums or adding the Spy Museum or Holocaust Museum

Who is leading the tours: does one school have one well versed guide making everything seemless. Are there special activities set up with each museum visit. 

 

There are a lot of details big and small that add up. I could easily see these shaving $200 off a $600 trip. 

 

 

I am guess that may be what it is, although I haven't been able to get all the details yet.  School started yesterday for students, so my son just brought home his info and that prompted me to look  at the new school's info for the same trip (where I work.)  I plan to dig a little bit more, but I was surprised it was so different.

 

My son is going.  He is very excited about it.  I posted about it before when I said he needed to decide between this and a scout summer trip.  It doesn't matter if we have been to DC as a family or if I think it is overpriced, we want him to go and can afford it, so we are allowing it.  The school does do staggered payments, so a $100 deposit is due in a month and then I think you can pay $100 per month, I need to check on specifics.    I just keep thinking of how we were going to send him to private school, so this really is cheap compared to private school tuition and their trips.

 

Dawn

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My daughter's ten day high school excursion to London was less than that!

 

Around here, D.C. is a daily commute, so a trip would happen during the school day and they pack a lunch. They do some sort of outdoor camping thing in middle school here, but my kids weren't in school at that age, so I'm not sure what the objective is.

 

I find Air & Space unbearable from May-August. The worst was when a boy scout jamboree was in DC. I'm scarred for life over that one. I try to stack our DC trips for the year towards the beginning of the school year before anyone can get organized enough to plan a trip.

 

I know! It was just over a week and they were planning to take busses. When I was asked to make a donation I declined. I just couldn't support spending that much on a trip when most of the site seeing was free. I strongly suggested the parents request the teacher find a different tour operator.

 

I figured out what it would cost for my brother and his family to fly to D.C., stay in a nice hotel, and see everything my nephew would have seen on his trip. It was less than that for their family of 5. My brother did not appreciate me pointing that out and said part of it was the experience of going on vacation with friends. I don't think 8th graders need vacations with friends.

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I figured out what it would cost for my brother and his family to fly to D.C., stay in a nice hotel, and see everything my nephew would have seen on his trip. It was less than that for their family of 5. My brother did not appreciate me pointing that out and said part of it was the experience of going on vacation with friends. I don't think 8th graders need vacations with friends.

 

 

Certainly not to the tune of $5000.  :svengo:

 

You'd think that doing a school field trip would have advantages wrt economies of scale.

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I want to know the itinerary of the $5000 DC trip. 

 

What were middle schoolers doing that cost $5000. Seriously. My ds went to Paris in 10th grade for significantly less than that. 

 

I'm quoting myself. I'm just dumbfounded by this. Did they fly from Japan? The big cost is transportation to DC and hotels. Significant amount of tourist, particularly educational tourist stuff is free. I feel like they must have flown first class, stayed single rooms in more expensive hotels and ate at Michelin rated restaurants. Maybe they went to the Kennedy Center and had the best seats for the Mariinski Ballet. I would be really challenged to spend $1000 in activities and food in a week in DC on one person.

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Around here, D.C. is a daily commute, so a trip would happen during the school day and they pack a lunch. They do some sort of outdoor camping thing in middle school here, but my kids weren't in school at that age, so I'm not sure what the objective is.

 

 

The first year they did that in that county was when I was in 6th grade. At that time, it was a 6th grade activity. My school was the first to do it and then it eventually spread through the county.

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Our public middle school has a 6 day Washington D.C./Philadelphia/New York trip. They fly out of San Diego and return to LAX then motor coach to the school. Cost is $2,500. They sleep at well known hotels like the Marriott Marquis in New York.

 

ETA It is optional. It is a very popular trip, but many families opt out. It is fine either way. The best thing you can do is to let your kids in advance of 8th grade what your plans are.

 

At my kids' old Pre-K to 8th independent school in Maryland, they had an 8th grade New York trip.

We had just moved from the East Coast when my then 8th grader joined the public middle school. We let her go because we had planned all along to allow her go to her old school's New York trip anyway, even though the cost was significantly higher. Our younger daughter is also going because we let her older sister go.

Edited by Mabelen
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I'm quoting myself. I'm just dumbfounded by this. Did they fly from Japan? The big cost is transportation to DC and hotels. Significant amount of tourist, particularly educational tourist stuff is free. I feel like they must have flown first class, stayed single rooms in more expensive hotels and ate at Michelin rated restaurants. Maybe they went to the Kennedy Center and had the best seats for the Mariinski Ballet. I would be really challenged to spend $1000 in activities and food in a week in DC on one person.

I agree it was way out of line. I never did get a clear story on why it was so expensive other than they had hired a tour company.
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My kids school uses Education First (EF) Explore America.

 

I replied before and was incorrect on the price of the trip- it is 5 days and $2400 per person- not 3K. Again flying from CO to D.C., and Includes DC as well as NYC. The price includes fee museums in DC, guided night tours, guided tour of NYC and a Broadway show. Plus all meals- some special places.

 

All in all a great itinerary but still waaaay too much $$$ for our family.

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I know! It was just over a week and they were planning to take busses. When I was asked to make a donation I declined. I just couldn't support spending that much on a trip when most of the site seeing was free. I strongly suggested the parents request the teacher find a different tour operator.

I figured out what it would cost for my brother and his family to fly to D.C., stay in a nice hotel, and see everything my nephew would have seen on his trip. It was less than that for their family of 5. My brother did not appreciate me pointing that out and said part of it was the experience of going on vacation with friends. I don't think 8th graders need vacations with friends.

For 5k he can bring a friend too!

 

The first year they did that in that county was when I was in 6th grade. At that time, it was a 6th grade activity. My school was the first to do it and then it eventually spread through the county.

  

 

You know, I think it's still 6th grade and I got the year wrong.

 

Our public middle school has a 6 day Washington D.C./Philadelphia/New York trip. They fly out of San Diego and return to LAX then motor coach to the school. Cost is $2,500. They sleep at well known hotels like the Marriott Marquis in New York.

ETA It is optional. It is a very popular trip, but many families opt out. It is fine either way. The best thing you can do is to let your kids in advance of 8th grade what your plans are.

At my kids' old Pre-K to 8th independent school in Maryland, they had an 8th grade New York trip.

We had just moved from the East Coast when my then 8th grader joined the public middle school. We let her go because we had planned all along to allow her go to her old school's New York trip anyway, even though the cost was significantly higher. Our younger daughter is also going because we let her older sister go.

They day trip to NYC from here too, but it's a loooong day. You're retrieving them from busses at midnight, but they have time for meals, sightseeing, and a show that day. On year DDs theatre group saw two shows on a day trip.

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My 8th grader's public charter middle school does 2 kinds of overnight trips.

 

One is a "learning expedition" that involves traveling in vans to a rural area, collecting scientific data, doing some team-building activities, and staying in tents. The cost of that trip (and other stuff) is covered by the $300 annual activity fee.

 

The other kind is optional, runs during spring break, and ranges from $1500-3000 depending on the destination. This year's choices are Montreal, Rome, and the Dominican Republic (doing reef conservation).

 

Our family went to DC earlier this month. It is a good age to go. No way my kid could have handled those places with a big group though.

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Could be the pricier school is charging an overage in order to pay for more chaperones. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, depending on who those chaperones are. I'd be glad to pay for part of any of my kids' history teacher costs, none of them got paid enough!

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