The Division supports the practice of curricular, co-curricular or extra-curricular field trips and excursions.
The complete education of the child involves experiences beyond classrooms and textbooks. These experiences may be curricular, co-curricular or extra-curricular in nature.
Teachers and students may, from time to time, need to travel to other communities for experiences unavailable in Fort McMurray. While field trips and excursions have positive educational value, care must be taken to ensure that trips or excursions are organized in a manner that maximizes educational benefit and ensures the protection and safety of travellers.
- Student Travel Categories
All student travel will be assigned to one of three categories (in order of general priority for approval):
- Curricular: Travel relates directly to the students' study in one or more subject areas and participation is on a class basis (e.g. class field trip to Edmonton). Direct curricular ties must be established.
- Co-curricular: Travel develops from the school’s program and/or students’ studies. Similar opportunities may not be available to students within the Division. Curricular ties that are established may be indirect.
- Extra-curricular: Travel relates indirectly to the school's program and curriculum. Indirect curricular ties are to be outlined.
Priority shall be given first to travel within the Division, with travel elsewhere being authorized only when a similar experience is not available locally. In-province travel shall have priority over out-of province travel; within Canada, travel shall have priority over international travel
The Principal may authorize a portion of the costs related to all categories of student travel. Some costs may be the responsibility of the participants, either through direct payment or through fund-raising activities.
- Special Funding for Students
Notwithstanding Section 2, no child shall be prevented from participating in curricular or co-curricular travel due to financial considerations. If a student appears unable to participate due to financial considerations, the Principal may provide financial support from the school budget.
For those field trips requiring Board approval, it is important that approval in principle be obtained prior to any non-refundable financial commitments. Note: Winter, Spring and Summer break days are not part of the required notice days.
Categories Destinations C (Curricular) a. Within the School Division CC (Co-Curricular) b. Beyond the School Division but within Alberta EC (Extra Curricular) c. Beyond Alberta but within Canada d. Outside Canada Trip Approval in Principle Final Approval Approval Authority Ca, CCa X X Principal with recording on the annual plan Cb, CCb X X Principal with notification to the Superintendent at least thirty (30) days before departure Cc, CCc To Principal sixty (60) days in advance To Superintendent thirty (30) days prior to departure Superintendent Cd, CCd To Superintendent 150 days prior to departure To Board sixty (60) days prior to departure Board ECa, ECb To Principal sixty (60) days in advance To Superintendent thirty (30) days prior to departure Superintendent ECc To Principal sixty (60) days in advance To Superintendent thirty (30) days prior to departure Superintendent ECd To Superintendent 150 days prior to departure To Board sixty (60) days prior to departure Board NOTE: All decisions are final.
- Responsibilities of the Principal
The Principal of each school is responsible to:
- Review requested field trips with Associate Superintendent Business and Finance or designate for insurance purposes.
- Develop an annual plan, which provides for anticipated student travel, which complies with this and other Administrative Procedures and provide a copy to the Superintendent by the first week of June.
- Review and ensure that curricular travel has a direct relationship to the Alberta Program of Studies and to ensure that pre-approval and/or approval of activities, sufficient preparation and follow-up occurs with staff, students and parents/guardians. (Field Trip Educational Summary)
- Review and monitor co-curricular and extra-curricular travel to ensure that such travel is an integral part of the school's co-curricular and extra-curricular programs and linked to the Alberta Programs of Study. (Field Trip Educational Summary)
- Review and monitor the risk factors in procedure 11.6 below.
- Gather and file applicable certification for supervisors of extra curricular excursions.
- Maintain detailed files at school level to support student field trips and excursions.
- Keep the Superintendent informed.
- Responsibilities of Parent/Guardian/Independent Student
Successful student travel is dependant on support from parent, guardians and independent students.
- Review information provided by school.
- Provide student medical information, passport/birth certificate if necessary, arrange for adequate insurance for international travel.
- Reporting and support: Inform the school of any changes in medical information of my student and if I become aware of any concerning behavior or notice signs of distress in my child or other students, I will promptly report it to the school Principal or in their absence, Vice Principal. The school provides support services and resources to address mental health concerns.
- Discuss school expectations with students.
- Attend meeting(s) to receive information and give consent in person for Board approved travel.
- Is responsible for the cost to return their student to Fort McMurray if requested.
- Supervision of Students
- The Principal is responsible for the safety of students involved in school sponsored travel and will ensure adequate supervision. A Division teacher must accompany each group involved in student travel. Other chaperones (Chaperones are not students and are of age of majority) whose participation is approved by the Principal may also accompany students.
- The minimum supervision ratio shall be one Staff Supervisor/Chaperone for every ten students.
- In determining the supervision ratio, consideration must be given to the age and nature of the students, and the type of activities planned. A detailed itinerary of each trip shall be approved by the Principal. If the supervisors deviate from that itinerary, they shall receive prior approval from the Principal.
- Individuals other than the supervisors, chaperones and participating students are not part of the school group.
- Use of Privately Owned Vehicles
The use of privately owned vehicles to transport students is prohibited with the exception of vehicles designated at each school, by the Principal, for the transportation of students in emergency circumstances. The Division will reimburse owners of these vehicles annually for the additional cost of increasing their third-party liability coverage to $1,000,000.00. Owners shall assume responsibility for appropriate notification concerning the use of their vehicles.
Preference is for the use of commercial carriers such as yellow bus charters, commercial charters of coaches, and commercial airlines such as WestJet and Air Canada. Note: 15 passenger vans are prohibited. Where the location is remote and the group is small, schools can request to the Superintendent of Schools for an exception. Private vehicles are prohibited. Rental vehicles can be used. Drivers must have a clean driver’s abstract and a valid Class 4 license. The driver(s) must comply with the Drivers’ Hour of Service Regulation which regulates the time on duty and off duty including mandatory rest periods.
Before each use the driver must do a pre-trip inspection of the vehicle. See Field Trip Vehicle Log and Inspection form.
- Trips Outside Alberta (review procedure 2 above)
- Students Capabilities and Capacity
Students must have the capabilities, capacity (such as; behaviors, skills, maturity…) for the proposed field trip itinerary.
- Scheduling of Trips
As far as possible, scheduling for trips is to take place to coincide with non-instructional periods.
- Each activity will have a supervisor responsible for the trip. A Division teacher must be the supervisor or one of the chaperones.
- Ratio of students to adults shall be not more than 10:1 Mixed groups shall include supervisors of both genders. The ratio of paid staff to chaperones, shall not be greater than 1:2.
Proposals for trips must be submitted, with the required detail, for approval according to the schedule as outlined in Section 5 above. Applications must be submitted to the Superintendent’s office at least 7 working days in advance of the Board meeting for curricular and co-curricular trips and 12 working days for extra-curricular trips. Further information may be requested.
- In general, the cost of the trip will be borne by students and personnel accompanying them. In special circumstances, the Division may authorize assistance to the maximum of $100.00 per student or $1,500.00 in total whichever is less.
- Estimated budget information must be provided with the proposal.
- Assessment of Risk Factors
In order to ensure the safety of students and accompanying personnel, areas selected for overseas travel are to be ones in which:
- There has been a history of political stability for at least five years and no indications that political turmoil may erupt within the next twelve months. Information can be obtained from website: www.voyage.gc.ca/destinations/menu_e
- Risk in other areas (e.g. health, transportation, geographical features) is not substantially greater than those that would be experienced by students travelling within Alberta.
- Risk/safety assessment is completed and parents, guardians, and independent students have been informed and completed the consent form.
- Academic Standing
Students selected are to be ones whose academic grades will not be substantially jeopardized by the trip.
The Principal and supervisor of the program will consult with the Superintendent and Associate Superintendent, Business and Finance with regard to insurance, passports, and financing of the trip.
- Students Capabilities and Capacity
- All trip sponsors will be required to submit the appropriate forms for approval.
- The Superintendent reserves the right to waive approval requirements in exceptional circumstances.