A-A does D.C. and Chicago

Friday, January 18, 2019

Despite previous objections, plans for a trip with Alta-Aurelia seventh, eighth and ninth graders to go to Washington, D.C., will move forward with the selected planning company World Classrooms. Music students will also be going to Chicago, a trip taken every four years.

School board members cited previously heard objections to the age of students attending the trip, as well as cost concerns for the $1,800 trip, plans for which will need to soon be in place for those wanting to participate in payment plans over 18 months. The proposed trip would be in the summer of 2020.

“When you look at how many people are on free and reduced lunches here, $1,800 is a big chunk of change,” said board member Nicky Sleezer.

Fundraising opportunities will be available to supplement payment plan options of $106 per month.

Talks about a minimum sign-up requirement were tossed around to ensure the experience is optimal for the students who choose to go, though that has not been decided.

Concerns about age may have forced a couple “No” votes, as the final vote passed 5-2, a departure from most measures that pass unanimously on the school board.

“They’re almost too young,” said Sleezer, to appreciate the experience in 7th and 8th grade.

An alternative of taking one grade every year, instead of three grades every three years, would be possible.

But the older the student, the more scheduling conflicts you run into with sports, work and extracurricular schedules in the summer, the board concluded.

“I wouldn’t want to clobber that opportunity for them if they want to go,” said board member Gigi Nelson.

World Classrooms representatives said that other schools making the trip with the same age range have had no issues with it.

“I’m super concerned that they’re too young going into 7th grade, but if we’re going to leave it on the parents, then we’ll leave it on the parents,” Sleezer said.

The music department will also be taking music students on a trip to Chicago March 13-17, where students will get the chance to see the Blue Man Group, an off-Broadway Mamma Mia!, stunning heights from the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and DePaul College.

“For a lot of our students, Storm Lake is one of the biggest towns they’ve ever been to,” said Corbet Butler. He hopes the trip with 83 students will be a broadening experience for them.

“The kids are going to be in for a great treat,” he said. “They’re very excited.”