Field trips: good for the soul, valuable learning

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Students board a school bus headed for Barrett Elementary early Wednesday morning off of Dunne Avenue near Butterfield Avenue.

1. Scrutiny is healthy, but field trips aren’t just about having fun

The scrutiny field trips are under by the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Trustees is fine. Taking at look at operations and practices is healthy.

But trustees should understand that field trips, while not essential, are enlightening. A field trip can really open a student’s eyes and mind to the world around them.

High school teachers who take students on some exceptional field trips have a point when they complain about the bureaucracy involved in approval. In addition, there’s the discrepancy between missing classes for an educational field trip and missing classes for athletics.

Reducing the red tape for field trip approval should be one goal for the trustees, and making sure athletics isn’t taking more classroom time away than is necessary should be another.

2. Reducing red tape for approval should be a goal for GUSD

That said, in taking a look at the field-trip list, the value is evident. The Future Farmers of America go to a state Leadership Conference; students from Christopher High visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles; Gilroy High’s choir competes, is critiqued and performs; and all fourth grade students head to Mission San Juan Bautista to learn about California history.

GUSD doesn’t lose any state funding because students go on field trips, and most related expenses are paid for through fund-raising efforts.

There’s a paradigm shift in our understanding of how students learn which supports field trips as a path that leads to understanding and real learning.

3. Internal field trips to the Gilroy Prep School would be helpful

In the field trip realm, our suggestion is to review, support and consider an addition: field trips for teachers and administrators to the Gilroy Prep Charter School to check out the various techniques being employed there.

Education is evolving. By and large, the field trips that are happening are worthwhile and serve multiple purposes. It’s not just enrichment, it’s truly education.

Let’s make sure that’s clear to everyone in our community.

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