Amid concerns about student equity, the Tamalpais Unified High School District Board of Trustees approved field trips to Hungary/Serbia, Belize, and London in 2018, at the board meeting on November 15.
As the field trips were being motioned for approval, Board of Trustees member Michael Futterman brought up the issue of equity. “It would be a good idea if we had some kind of a study that would indicate over a period of time demographically who is going on these field trips and where the funding has been coming from and so forth,” he said. “We would get a sense of whether these opportunities are being provided on an equitable basis district-wide.” This idea was met with approval from the other board members.
Futterman also brought the price of each field trip up as an equity question, considering the Hungary trip is $3,400 per student, the Belize trip $3,000, and the London trip $3,500. World Languages teacher Brian Zailian explained that he urges all students to go, using scholarships in situations where money is the problem. He believes the solution lies in “trumpeting it really loudly and getting them encouraged to do it. Some students are just afraid.” Zailian emphasized that he would love to work with somebody to boost the number of students attending. Board of Trustees member Chuck Ford highlighted the fact that there has never been a student that was denied attending a field trip.
The water polo team, and as four chaperones, including athletic director Christina Amoroso will attend the Hungary/Serbia trip. The purpose of the trip is “for the water polo team to compete in tournaments as well as train,” spanning from June 21 to July 5, 2018, according to the field trip request form.
The Belize trip, considered to be high-risk as students will be kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and swimming in the ocean, includes 17 students and two chaperones, including English teacher Michael Levinson. Students will travel from April 3 to April 14, 2018 to “participate in community service, outdoor education, and cultural immersion.”
The London trip is for 28 Tam drama students and 4 chaperones, including teachers Ben Cleveland, Heather Basarab, and Susan Brashear. The purpose is described as to attend theater, workshops, plays, museums and galleries and span from March 31 to April 12, 2018.
All three trips will be paid for entirely by student and parent contributions.