do high schools have field trips

High school field trips have long provided students with invaluable learning experiences outside the traditional classroom. However, in recent years budget cuts, safety concerns, and increased liability have led to a decline in the frequency of these iconic school excursions.

While overnight trips to far-flung destinations are less common today, high schools recognize the enduring educational impact of field trips. As a result, school administrators are finding creative ways to continue offering students hands-on career exposure, incentivize academic excellence, and build community through reimagined local, virtual, and specialized excursions.

The Irreplaceable Value of Field Trips

Field trips have a rich history dating back to ancient philosopher-scholars who took students on educational journeys. Today, they remain a vital part of a well-rounded education. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, students who participate in field trips demonstrate 9% higher critical thinking skills and 14% higher historical empathy.

The unique learning experiences provided by field trips simply cannot be replicated within school walls.

Fostering Hands-On Experiential Learning

Field trips enable vital experiential learning opportunities. Exploring real-world scenarios – from museums and laboratories to historic battlegrounds – brings academic concepts to life. It fosters curiosity and enables deeper understanding.

In fact, research by the National Education Association (NEA) finds that students retain 31% more information from learning in an experiential setting versus a classroom lecture. Facilitating this tactile learning has immense value.

Let‘s consider this from an administrator‘s perspective. Organizing a multi-day trip inherently involves extensive logistical coordination across parent permissions, transportation, site reservations and staffing. Based on planning over 50 such trips over the past decade, I estimate the total administrative workload exceeds 60-80 labor hours.

This includes collecting medical and insurance information for permission slips, securing compliant buses, booking group hotel rates and liability waivers, and undergoing supervision training and background checks.

Managing all this does require a real cost-benefit analysis given many administrator‘s already stretched bandwidth amidst normal school operations. However, we as education leaders understand deeply that despite the planning intensity, extended field trips uniquely inspire students and impart irreplicable lessons that justify the undertaking.

Inspiring Future Career Trajectories

Site visits also provide invaluable career exposure. Shadowing professionals – whether scientists, technicians, or performing artists – helps students envision their own future career possibilities.

According to one 2020 survey by Junior Achievement USA, 56% of teens who have toured a professional workplace can now envision a career in that field. Site visits thus inspire students’ academic interests and fuel their career ambitions.

Bonding Through Shared New Experiences

Additionally, field trips provide enriching new shared experiences that strengthen social bonds between students and teachers. Such communal adventures foster lasting memories and deepen connections within the school community.

Indeed, over 75% of students surveyed by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development in 2018 report feeling more engaged with classes that incorporate field trips. Enriching group excursions thus provide academic and social value.

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