1046RE: [bvpta] Mexico 2006?
- Jun 2, 2005This is a big subject. Every year there is so much time and effort put into
this trip by staff as well as parents and every year there seems to be a
certain level of controversy about the trip with the level of fundraising
required, the chaperone selection process, families who can not or will not
allow their children to go without them, etc.
For me there are several things that stand out as trouble points. I don't
know what solutions there are to these but they are recurring problems every
year and every year the 5th grade families and teachers need to address
1. I've heard the Mexico trip is part of the curriculum but I've never
heard an explanation of exactly what part of the curriculum this 5 day trip
fills. And if it is a necessary piece of the kids' education, how will it
be undermined for those kids who can/will not go?
2. The kids who can/will not go to Mexico have Sacramento as an
alternative. Substituting 2 days for 5 isn't exactly equal nor is
Sacramento on par with Mexico. So going back to the curriculum piece, if
the Mexico trip serves a curriculum purpose, exactly how is it replaced with
3. One big selling point for the trip is the independence it fosters in the
kids. That's not a big selling point for latino families. Look at me, I'm
46 and I still live with my parents. :-)
4. There is controversy about the chaperone selection process. If no
changes can be made to this, can it be better explained to parents from the
5. Kids cannot travel with their parents, again not a big selling point for
latino families who rarely allow kids to have sleepovers much less travel
outside the country without them.
6. The level of fundraising necessary for this trip is enormous and a drain
on the community and every 5th grade class is to be commended on always
meeting their goals but how can this be started earlier?
7. Families need to know more details from Kinder that this is an expected
trip and why so that when they get to 5th, they've had 6 years to get used
to the idea. That doesn't happen now as there is no outreach to the whole
community on why it's a must not miss trip for your child.
Again this is a big topic and it seems so often to pit latino vs. non-latino
families against each other. My ideal is that there could be a committee of
various parents/staff who could work together to make this trip smoother for
everyone in the future.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:04 AM
Subject: Re: [bvpta] Mexico 2006?
I agree with Glenn that this year's Mexico trip went very well,
especially for a first trip of this magnitude. I applaud those few
who planned and began the process of establishing relationships in
Mexico for this trip to occur. The gift of their generosity of
endless hours of time, money and enthusiasm lead to the amazing
interactions with the communities we visited. Perhaps there was
fewer participation than in past years due to the fact that this was a
new trip. I also agree with Glenn that perhaps it would have felt as
though we were more gracious visitors to the school community in Cuernavaca
had we brought more material donations. Speaking for Group
1 since I don't know much about what the experience was for Group2,
Josefina remained in the school with her group in Cuernavaca and taught
English class. Apparently, this was a highlight of the day :). A
class assignment for the class in Spanish was to write a letter to the
director of the school to request play space and balls to use during
recess. The problem was that 900 kids in one school all had recess at
the same time in a courtyard smaller than the Buena Vista black top.
Our kids fully participated and supported the effort. Our kids were
respectful of the classroom and their peers and completed with care the
homework they were given at the school to be turned in the following
morning. There was a duffle bag full of balls and books for donation to the
schools and due to the immense amount of first-trip-details,
may not have been distributed in an ideal manner. I believe they were
all donated to the one school in Cuentepec. The distribution of
donations were concentrated to one area and it was the area where there
seemed to be the greatest need and where we made the greatest community
impact -- the village of Cuentepec. Also, the trip allowance not used
by Saturday (I don't know the final amount) was donated to a needy
convalescent center in the area as was all the food we did not eat, which
For next year's trip I would suggest the following:
*Now that we know more about the schools and their needs, we will be in a
better position to distribute donations effectively,
*The Mexico trip this year took quite a bit of focus to create; next year
perhaps more focus on the Sacramento trip from the beginning of the year
would benefit striking the stigma of children who stay back that is applied
to the children of families who choose Sacramento over
Mexico. We need to respect and support all choice.
It is my understanding that one of the key components to the 5th grade trip
(either to Sacto or Mex) is for the kids to experience some independence
from their families and to provide opportunities for reinforcement to their
esteem that they are strong and responsible
kids. Could the carrying out of this component be what is causing the
We, incoming fifth grade families have much to discuss. Looking
forward to it :)
With much respect and care,
4th and 5th grade parent
On Jun 2, 2005, at 8:39 AM, glenkenyon wrote:
> The trip this year went very well. The students who went learned alot
> and had a variety of very interesting experiences. But I am left with
> these concerns:
> 1. Only 29 out of 47 students went on the trip. That is about 60% of
> the fifth grade class.
> This is much lower than any other year in the nine years we've been
> going on this trip.
> Usually we have had over 75% go on the trip.
> Next year's fifth grade class is projected at 64+ students. So if
> there is more outreach and buy in by the parents next year and the
> historical average of 75% is met, then 48 students will be going and
> 16+ students will stay back. The 16+ who stay back is almost like an
> entire 3rd grade class. I am concerned about this. If less than 75%
> go, say like this year's 60%, than means 38 students, meaning that 26
> students staying back.
> That is practically
> an entire fifth grade class. I would say that this is not an
> acceptable situation.
> 2. In all the previous trips (I have been on 7 of the nine trips) we
> brought significant material support both to the schools we visited
> and to an orphanage.
> This year, we
> apparently left some money to an orphanage, but next to nothing to the
> schools we visited. By comparison, the Cuernavaca school we visited
> put on an elaborate show and gave us gifts, food, ect. I had only 5
> books to give them. I was embarrassed by this fact. If this trip does
> happen again, I hope there is greater emphasis on helping out the
> schools we visit. This year I felt we didn't help, but rather we
> impacted them.
> I would like a Mexico trip to continue, but I cannot ignore the impact
> this trip has on our community. While there are many positives, there
> are also many concerns for those who stay back and after this year,
> for the Mexican schools we visited.
> Glenn Kenyon (4th/5th)
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