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1049Re: [bvpta] Mexico 2006?

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  • Cathy
    Jun 3 8:03 AM
      Thank you Jenny for spelling out points of controversy. After coming
      face to face with these points each year you'd think there'd be some
      resolution by now. By bringing these issues up front during the first
      planning meeting in Sept. for our 5th grade trips I hope we can find a
      general sense of which trip parents prefer, if any. Ideally our group
      could refine goals for each trip and recruit positive energy towards
      the Sacramento trip and perhaps change it to provide for those goals.
      As an incoming Kinder parent it was made clear to me what the 5th
      grade trip was about and I was aware of the fundraising efforts that
      went into paying for the trip. Perhaps this info is no longer being
      provided? I was not aware, however of the controversy until last year
      when I became a 4th grade parent for the first time and we shared our
      classroom with 5th graders.

      A Mexico trip Handbook was created subsequent to the 2004 trip and we
      are in the process of creating one for the 2005 trip. Review of the
      2004 & 2005 books could answer some of the questions you pose. The
      books are kept in the school office, however the 2005 is not yet
      completed and the 2004 is being used as a template. They should both
      be in the office soon for review. Also, Scott is planning to put much
      of the handbook on the website.

      We can strive for better communication among the whole community.
      Although, I have to say this year phone calls, flyers home, messages in
      Noticias, in addition to e-mails and teacher phone calls, seemed to
      provide for an endless flood of information and invitations for input.
      I seem to remember two PTA meetings where this trip was discussed and
      one with a slide show. We can and will try again next year.


      On Jun 2, 2005, at 4:07 PM, Aldaz, Maria E wrote:

      > This 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
      > them.
      > 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
      > Sacramento?
      > 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
      > beginning?
      > 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.
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: bvpta@yahoogroups.com [mailto:bvpta@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      > Cathy
      > Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 11:04 AM
      > To: bvpta@yahoogroups.com
      > 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
      > was significant.
      > 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
      > rift?
      > We, incoming fifth grade families have much to discuss. Looking
      > forward to it :)
      > With much respect and care,
      > Cathy Ritter
      > 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.
      >> Sincerely,
      >> Glenn Kenyon (4th/5th)
      >> Yahoo! Groups Links
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