In CASD … Ralston Questions Educational Value of Amusement Park Trip

CLEARFIELD – The educational value of the sixth grade’s end-of-the-year class trip to Delgrosso’s Amusement Park was questioned during Monday night’s Clearfield school board meeting.

Sixth grade teachers are requesting to take all students to the amusement park May 26. This trip will not require any substitute teachers, and the PTO is covering the cost of buses.

However, the district is being requested to pay the entry fee of $8.50 per student. Approximately 150 students would go on the class trip, if it receives approval from the school board.

During the buildings, finance and activities meeting, board member Gail Ralston reminded that the district is mandated to provide its students 180 school days.

“The really big question here is the value of one day of a child’s education,” she said. If approved, she said the district would be paying its educators to be chaperones in an amusement park.

She also mentioned the possibility of a member of the health staff being taken from the school to go on the trip and that the district was being asked to pay $8.50 per student.

Ralston asked fellow board members if the trip really had the “merits” to count as a school day. She said she’s happy to support students with fundraising but couldn’t vote for this trip.

The sixth grade students have taken this end-of-the-year class trip to Delgrosso’s Amusement Park for a number of years, according to Superintendent Terry Struble.

Elementary Principal Mary Mike Sayers said teachers could incorporate learning opportunities, such as figuring out prices per student, different expenses, etc., and this paperwork may be available at the park.

“They could do math problems based on rides, speeds, etc., and then go out and apply it while they are there. A lot of schools make it an educational trip that way,” she said.

Assistant Principal Andrew Brickley said at larger amusement parks, such as Hershey Park, they hold “Physics Day.” However, the sixth graders have always gone to Delgrosso’s.

According to him, the biggest component is the social aspect for the students and giving them a taste of freedom. He added that most of the students don’t get out of Clearfield that often.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see something other than Clearfield Area Elementary School for one day, but it’s your decision either way,” said Brickley.

Ralston said students – k-12 – have many field trip opportunities provided to them. But she wants to see them leave for something that they cannot receive at school.

“And, I don’t think an amusement park fits that bill,” she said. She said there were many other places near Delgrosso’s that offer a better educational value.

Brickley said he didn’t have any problem asking teachers to develop educational extensions for the trip. He said there are lots of opportunities, and students can have fun and learn at the same time.

Sayers and Brickley said they’d ask teachers to make it an educational trip, and that would be presented when the board reconsiders the trip for approval.

Both Sayers and Brickley also planned to look into the request for the district to pay an entry fee of $8.50 per student for the trip.

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