5 Easy Steps STEM Schools can take to organize great School Trips
5 Easy Steps STEM Schools can take to organize life-changing Educational School Trips for Students this year
While you may know that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Schools across the US are popping upgrowing in popularity everywhere across the USA, you may not know that one aspect to the hands-on learning offered is in organizing great Educational School Tours/Trips for their students. And this is putting those students at a terrific advantage for their futures!
As long-time educators ourselves, we know that there are many obstacles, though, for school communities to organize Educational School Trips, whether that’s due to lack of time, school or family budgets, or just a lack of knowledge of how to put together a great, impactful, safe and affordable trip. With so many obstacles it can be easy for schools to just dismiss the idea.
But, we know that this type of investment always carries with it the most profound learning experiences and opportunities for impacting students and staff in countless ways for life. So, we wanted to share our top 5 ways your school can also organize the trip of a lifetime for your students, teachers, and families!
1. Knowledge is Power
The good news is when it comes to School Trips, the world is literally your oyster! There are 1000s of options for bringing your students on a learning journey outside your school walls. The bad news is there are far too many choices out there sometimes, and it can get overwhelming fast for an already busy teacher to want to go the extra mile to organize such a trip. But, before giving up, know that there is help out there to assist you in choosing what to do to make your life easier! For example, our team at Crosspolination understands the intense demands on your time as a teacher these days! So, we’ve created a quick, editable STEM School Trip Planner and Priority Check List to make your research and planning much, much easier.
The key to organizing a great trip, though, lies in taking the time to properly plan what you want and your priorities and goals for traveling with students in the first place.
So, your first step is to simply make a priority or wish list, and then get informed about your choices to quickly find and compare your best options. There truly is a service and a great educational trip out there for every school, every objective, and every budget. And, the STEM Schools that seem to be offering School Trips for their Students that get the best reviews, comes from knowing what they want to provide their community as a result of taking such a trip together!
Now, let’s get your wish list figured out, too!
2. So many choices, just one is ideal
Recently there’s been a huge surge in amazing teachers sharing their personal travel adventures and transformative experiences around the world on the internet. Our Instagram feed is full of their amazing and inspiring photos. But, traveling with your class requires a different way of planning. And, you can boil down the gazillion choices into a much more manageable priority list simply by asking a few good questions. Here are a few great ones taken from our Trip Planner Check List to start with and consider. Ask yourself:
- What kind of trip will align with our school curriculum?
- While day trips may seem easier to organize (a quick local google search can pull up some great options), not much more planning needs to go into sponsoring a multi-day trip. So, if I were to propose a life-changing multi-day trip to our school, what would be a transformative experience for my students?
- How ‘safe’ is such a trip for the kids?
- Are there reputable companies that can help me reduce the risks with planning and traveling?
- Are these companies willing to help me create a suitable trip plan and budget for my particular school group, or do they just offer pre-set trips?
- Is there an ideal location we would want to visit as a school community? OR
- Is there an ideal destination to bring our school lessons to life in a more immersive way for a great hands-on experience?
- What’s included in Group tour packages generally and what’s not included?
- Have I called and talked with reps from at least 3 companies to get a sense of their customer service? (Important during both planning and your travels!)
- How passionate, knowledgeable, helpful and responsive are the reps from each company? Would I feel comfortable sending my own child or young relative on a multi-day trip with them?
3. If you build it, they will come, (or will they)?
One of the biggest challenges we hear of from our school organizers is that they can get so excited about proposing a trip, even getting great positive feedback from their students, families, and colleagues, but it can be a real struggle to get sign ups. For many reasons families may seem to lack enthusiasm in signing up, when it comes to doing so, but often this is easily prevented with just a few key steps that, thankfully, you have control over.
It’s important now that you’ve chosen a great trip for your students and school to pro-actively get the word out to your community in order to keep the enthusiastic momentum and sign-ups rolling in, after your PTA presentation! Here are a few ways to do that:
- Did you do a PTA Night and Trip presentation to get people excited and kick off the registration period?!
- Did you ask your Group Tour Rep for marketing poster templates, flyer templates to support your outreach efforts?
- Does your Group Tour Company offer easy online registration AND convenient payment plans and options, such as monthly invoicing or credit card payments?
- Have you met with your Teaching colleagues, principals, and Parent Reps to help you with some heavy lifting for spreading the word, such as sharing the sign up link on the PTA page, including the announcement in every school news letter, and sending sign up forms and permission slips home in backpacks?
- Have you clearly advertised to your community the deadlines for sign ups and the amount of seats available (limited seats) on your trip to incentivize rapid action?
4. Plan on Success
Success is all in the planning as they say! And, a school trip is no different. Start from the trip date and work your way back, to create your trip prep timeline and To-Do list for ensuring you and your school takes care of everything you need in anticipation of your trip. Don’t forget you can also involve your stakeholders, such as any enthusiastic parents who sign up early, to be lead chaperones and help with some of the planning and details. And, a quality Tour Group company that specializes in School Group Trips will have Checklists (Download Crosspolination’s here) and great staff you can lean on for support to ensure no small but important detail gets overlooked. Afterall, the last thing you want is for one of your travellers to run into an issue due to a lack of knowledge about your destination! All such things that are easy to prevent if you take the time in advance to plan and seek out a little assistance.
5. Celebrate and Share Your Success!
Finally, the big trip date is here! You have done the hard part, planned and organized for your school community to enjoy a life-changing and memorable experience together to a great destination! Your Tour Group Company is great, your tour guides are fun, knowledgeable, and really have a way with young people! This is no ordinary trip and your parents and students are clearly delighted with each new experience on your journey. Well done!
As you’re traveling, it’s time to share your travel pictures, perhaps on the school social media channels or to your own web page, and in doing so, you’ll also be sharing your trip’s success. At Crosspolination, we know from working with young people that travel is not just for recreation. It’s one of the best experiences mentors such as you and parents can provide and share with students.
So, we feel it’s important to share your successful School Group Trip both during and afterwards for 2 reasons.
“Failing to plan is planning to Fail.”
First, parents want to know (as does your community) that the students are gaining valuable experience from this journey. Once you’ve done the hard work of selecting a great Tour Company and covering the bases of educational value, safety as a top priority, etc. it’s important to show the folks back home who perhaps worked hard to send their kid away from home for the first time, that your idea for an immersive experience has been amazing. They should really consider investing in this kind of education whenever possible again!
Second, by documenting your trip with shared photos or a blog along the way, you’ll have a wonderful record for all those great memories for your group for years to come. This is not just fun to relive for everyone, but it’s also great for helping make future trips easier and more attractive the next time you and your colleagues decide you want to travel with your school.
With the right planning, the right Tour Group partner on your team, and the right priorities mapped out for your trip, you’ll have all the elements of an incredible journey for you, your students, their families, and your colleagues!
Ready to get started? Contact us at Crosspolination so we can help you design your Dream Trip for your school, TODAY!