Grade 8 Trip Update
Dear Grade 7 & 8 Parents/Guardians,
As you are aware we conducted a survey asking students and parents about their thoughts on making changes to the traditional grade 8 trip to Ottawa. Students were surveyed a second time at school using a paper version of the online survey to serve as a control. Once this data was collated and shared with the teaching staff, I created another survey asking our teachers for their opinions and availability to participate in any of the four options presented in the student/parent survey. Prior to starting this process, I also surveyed 20 school principals of similar population demographics to learn about the details of their own grade 8 trips to form a comparison to the Ottawa trip at RCPS.
In my role as a school principal I have the privilege of being able to listen to the individual stories of parents, students and staff. From analyzing the data collected this fall I believe that changing the grade 8 trip destination to a more cost effective trip in a nature camp setting will respond to and meet the needs of our current and upcoming cohorts. Research tells us that now more than ever that our youth benefit greatly by experiencing extended periods of time learning in outdoor nature environments. We hope to inspire our students to lead healthier lives. After having done research into various camp facilities, we have decided to plan a trip to Camp Kitchikewana on Beausoleil Island in the beautiful Georgian Bay Islands National Park, out of Honey Harbour Ontario. The cost of the trip will be approximately $250. Students will engage in outdoor learning, leadership building, learn about the 10,000 years of indigenous history associated with that island and enjoy many camping activities including aquatics such as canoeing, kayaking, and swimming (providing they pass a swim test). This year, we are looking to have the Camp Kitchikewana trip for two nights and three days in June as was done with the Ottawa trip. Next year, our Grade 8s will have their trip in late September or early October to cultivate team building and leadership in order to help set our students up for success early in the year.
We appreciate and understand everyone’s perspective and hope that we can embrace this change with an open mind. The school is working hard to provide a more equitable trip that is responsive to the needs of our current and future cohorts. It is also important to be reminded that overnight trips are a volunteer endeavour taken on by teachers and that every year the staff reviews and assesses if an overnight trip will be possible. Information regarding the trip this year will be forthcoming in the months ahead.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.