Grant proposal j martin


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Grant proposal j martin

  1. 1. Pathfinder Fieldtrip Grant Proposal The Willow School Jessica Martin
  2. 2. Abstract Student spend hundreds of hours each school year in the classroom gaining skills from dedicated teachers and staff with both limited resources and at times exceptional tools and technology. Depending on the school, students may have opportunities to visit local businesses, museums, and parks or in some cases make journeys to the nation’s capital or a historical site. Many students are lucky to experience one or two field trips a year and many gain greatly from the educational journey and the exposure to real world situations and environments. At the Willow School we believe that students academic and social success are intrinsically linked, and that field trips are not just an opportunity to see something new, but an opportunity to build a foundation for community, ownership, and validation as a necessary member of a community. Each fall the Willow School hosts an exceptional educational three-day field trip through the Pathfinder organization. During the Pathfinder trip, students camp, hike, canoe, study environmental diversity, team build, and problem solve, all while working in Florida’s natural landscape. This three-day trip may only be a few hours from our school’s steps but it feels like another world to our students and their discoveries, challenges, and adventure leave them transformed in a way that could never occur in the classroom.
  3. 3. What’s missing in education? Children in today’s rapidly changing high-tech world experience life at and accelerated pace from just 20 years ago. There are more barriers between community interaction and less dependency on the support of and in many ways interaction with others. Although school settings allows the opportunity for social foundations to build, students are still often left feeling isolated or outcast from their peers. Along with these social growing pains, students in today’s classrooms are further removed from nature and the experience of connection with the environment. Even as we develop greater access to the world around us through the Internet and increased classroom resources, the enriching contact with the animal world and places that connect us nature are diminished. We are reminded by Kellert (2005), that a child’s first experience of wonder and exploration happens in nature.
  4. 4. Natural Education A typical Pathfinder fieldtrip contains a variety of activities. These activities are not just for bonding, but also for creating an inner and outer challenge for students to rise up to and conquer. A key component of the benefits of being in nature revolve around struggle and problem solving. As Keller (2005) notes: The direct experience of nature also extends to the child the possibilities of uncertainty, risk and failure. These realities necessitate adaption and problem solving as well as the need to construct solutions and think critically, all of which are essential to lasting learning and maturation. These conditions rarely arise when children passively watch television, visit a zoo, manipulate a computer screen, or even in most classrooms. (p.86 ) Amidst the many benefits associated with high-tech classrooms and the computer age, concerns arise about the cognitive development children in the high-tech age, as Michael Rich executive director of the Center on Media and Child Health in Boston explains, “Their brains are rewarded not for staying on task but for jumping to the next thing.” Thus developing an inability to sustain attention.
  5. 5. Why Pathfinder Fieldtrips? “For many students if you ask them what happened this year, they will tell you first about something that happened on the field trips.” ~ Felicia North, Math and Science Teacher at the Willow School. 1.Social Connection: Children experience vulnerability, risk, and challenge together as they share their experiences night and day for three days on the trip. 2. Problem Solving and Team Work: Students are given group challenges that involve teamwork, trust and creativity. 3. Critical Thinking with hands-on experience: Students canoe, climb trees, build shelters, and orient themselves in new territories. 4. Connecting and valuing nature:Nature walks, animal observations, water analysis and Native American Culture are woven into the challenges and group exercises.
  6. 6. Let’s have some fun!Day One: Incredible Journey (discovery time), Orienteering, Manatee CSI, Challenge course, and Hootenanny + Drums as Language Day Two: The Beast (group challenge), Enchanted Forest, Adventure Orienteering, Tree Climbing, High Ropes, The Underground Railroad and Native American Life Day Three: Explore Florida Country, Closing ceremony, Final Reflections, and Student Evaluations
  7. 7. Need:The Willow School is a small private not for profit organization that works to not only accept students who are able to pay for their tuition, but also for those who cannot. Every year many students are accepted on full or partial scholarships or alternative funding. However, this funding contributes solely to tuition and not field trips and other enriching activities that the Willow School considers necessary experiences for a wholistic education. Total financial need for 2013 Pathfinder experience: $2,306.50 Of the 23 students participating in our 2013 trip nearly 1/3 or 7 students required financial assistance to participate. Anticipated need for 2014 Pathfinder experience : $2,965.00 As our school grows we can anticipate a greater need for financial assistance on the Pathfinder trips.
  8. 8. Budget Each year the Willow School does its best to raise funds through special events, grants, yard sales, and community dinners. These funds are intended to work on school improvements, supplies, and technology, yet when students are unable to afford the Pathfinder Field Trips, these funds are diverted to those expenses. Three day Pathfinder Program Fees Pathfinder Site Fees Ropes Course Pathfinder Lodging Total Expenses $197.50 $5.00 $127.00 $329.50
  9. 9. Student Evaluation 1. Social Evaluation: Students will experience observational evaluation from their teachers both during and after the field trips. These observations of social skills, collaboration ability, and confidence are often very noticeably changed immediately after the field trip. 2. Personal Reflection: Students will complete a written assignment reflecting on their experience and its benefits for their class. The written essays, which will vary for the age group, will be presented within the weeks immediately following the trip. 3. Future Interests: Another opportunity for evaluation will occur periodically throughout the year as students express a willingness to perform extra projects outside of school. Past projects have included building oyster beds for lagoon preservation, participating in Jane Goodall’s Roots to Shoots programs, joining the Science Olympiad club, and expressing a great deal of genuine interest in our world’s sustainability.
  10. 10. Personal Reflection: At one point in my teaching career my students were all special education students in a separate day school. Enrollment in this school meant that the student had been expelled from public school for behavioral reasons. Many of these students came from lower income families, often with violent or dysfunctional pasts. At one point students had the opportunity to go the zoo. For some of my seventh graders, this was their first visit to the zoo, even though it was a mere 20 minutes away. These memories further validated my desire to assist our field trip program. Although I did not work with a team to complete this grant, I could not have succeeded without the assistance of my coworkers who gave supportive evidence of the program. Our school’s office manager, director, and my fellow science and math teacher all made the task of validating our need so much easier. Since the Pathfinder program is already in place, and participants in the program often speak of their most memorable moments of the year in regard to the fieldtrip, I felt that further validation of our project could be incorporated with a student presentation of their experiences there. I hope that this evaluation method would not only validate the importance of this program, but allow students a chance to reflect on their own experience and growth in a more personal way. I look forward for more opportunities to write grant proposals and more importantly create programs that will serve our students in the most enriching ways.
  11. 11. References: Kellert, S. R. (2005). Building for life designing and understanding the human-nature connection. Washington, DC: Island Press. Richtel, M. (2010, November 21). Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction. Retrieved April 15, 2014, from ml?pagewanted=all&_r=0