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woman teacher studying something on paper

A Teacher’s Guide to Student Travel

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Student travel is a huge topic for teachers and while we don’t pretend we can fit all the deets into one brief blog post, we do hope to illuminate a basic framework for planning that can benefit all teachers.

Whether you’re a newbie, a seasoned educator, student travel requires a steady hand and this post seeks to steady the hand on the controls.

A teacher’s guide to student travel may not be comprehensive, but it’s succinct and helps you plot a course in the right direction.

Finding the Right Destination

Walking into your classroom and announcing the destination you’ve chosen isn’t going to be popular with most of your students.  Rather, choose 3 destinations and then treat your students to a brief tour of each and its attractions.

This gives your students the opportunity to chime in and to dream along with you.  Encourage group discussion on this item.  You may even want to hold a simple essay contest, inviting students to reveal their favorite of the 3 destinations in 500 words or less!

Finding the right destination involves student buy-in, which generates enthusiasm and excitement.

Budget Matters

Once you’ve got your destination nailed, you’ll need to turn to the budget.  This must prepared before you even think about reaching out to administrators for approval.  They’ll need to know the bottom line.

Remember that the biggest line items in your budget are going to be transportation and accommodation.  Sewing these up first lets you see how much “play” there is for other items like site tickets and special outings.

Give Your Trip a “Shape”

Your trip needs to have a curricular objective to get it past those administrators we just mentioned.  But its shape can be determined to mesh with that and even, expand on it.

Depending on the class you’re taking, you’ll want to highlight an aspect of the curriculum that matches the interests of your students and is perhaps, a little off the beaten path.

Adding a little mystery that serves to illuminate what you’re teaching in new ways is a gift to your students.  You’re teaching them to move beyond the obvious and to personalize their learning with insight.

Itinerary, then Approval

Once you’ve got the previous 3 items in hand, you’ll need to write up an itinerary that’s faithful to curricular goals, but which highlights the effectiveness of the chosen destination for imparting the knowledge you need students to absorb.

Go well prepared, taking with you all the information you’ll be asked for about your tour provider, chaperones, guidelines for behavior and other necessary supports.

Remember that administrators are charged with ensuring that the goals of your educational district are satisfied in all you do.  Make their job easier by giving them all the information they’ll need to grant you the approval you’re seeking.

Junior Tours

Junior Tours has been making education exciting with student travel since 1967.  Founded by a teacher, we support educator goals with experiential travel that makes learning fun.

Ready to take your classroom into the world?  Contact us!

Universal Studios Theme Park in Orlando

The Hottest Spot for High School Senior Trips: Orlando

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With a nickname like “The City Beautiful”, Orlando has a lot to live up to.  And that’s why it’s the hottest spot for high school senior trips.  Orlando is a breathtakingly beautiful point on the US map and one which doesn’t disappoint when it comes to adventures, unique experiences and discovery.

Your high school pupils have worked hard to get where they are now.  They’ve done their homework.  They’ve excelled.  Now they’re ready to join the real world of careers and achievement.  What better way to celebrate than taking them to the hottest spot for high school senior trips:  Orlando.

Theme Parks for Days

When it’s time to celebrate, there’s nothing more exciting than a visit to one of Orlando’s many theme parks.

Both the Disney and Universal Studios have major franchises here, broken down into areas of interest to ensure that every student coming along gets their most cherished theme park experience checked off the list.

From EPCOT’s Geosphere to The Magic Kingdom’s thrilling rides, Disney takes you wherever you want to go, offering theme park experiences that run the gamut from Hollywood to wildlife and water.

Universal Studios rises to the adventure challenge with a journey through the world of film and television and some of the most incredible rides ever conceived.  Enjoy a singular experience with the Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort and celebrate the union of technology, art and music with these internationally acclaimed performers.

Under the Spotlights

student performance group in Universal Studios, Orlando
Your performing arts students are treated to exceptional opportunities to perform here, with audiences who come from all over the world.

Across the selection of theme parks hosted by Disney, you’ll find manifestations of their renowned Disney Performing Arts OnStage program.  See your students shine, showing off their hard-earned chops in choirs, orchestras, marching bands and even dance performances.

All this and the chance to shine even more brightly by taking advantage of the selection of professionally-led workshops on offer.

And once they’ve learned something new, they can amaze themselves by competing against other student groups at Festival Disney.

Wet, Wild and Spacey

Take your high school seniors to where the going gets wet at the Wet n’ Wild theme park, which replicates ocean waves they can even surf on.  But if that doesn’t float their boat, your scientifically minded charges might find what they’re looking for at the famed Kennedy Space Center.

Students will learn the true story of how the USA forged new frontiers in the cosmos, launching astronauts into the mysteries of space.  They’ll see how satellites have changed the way we live and leave with a sense of pride in our nation’s answering the challenges of the universe.

Junior Tours

For over 50 years, Junior Tours has been treating students to unique educational experiences.  We bring destination knowledge and superior vendor selection to your high school senior trips, coupling educational opportunities with the thrill of adventure and the joy of discovery.

Ready to share Orlando with your students?  Contact us for a free sample itinerary and quote.

hand drawing a lightbulb and bags of money on a chalk board

5 Keys to Fundraising Success

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Junior Tours was founded in 1967 as a student travel resource.  We’re focused on teachers and the success of their students.

Fundraising is a big deal when it comes to creating opportunities for all students to enjoy student trips, regardless of economic circumstances.  But it’s a tough row to hoe when you’re not sure which way to turn to raise money.

Successful fundraising is a kind of an art form.  Convincing people of the value of what you’re raising money to support (in this case, student travel) is about communication, preparation and making all the right moves.

This post shares our 5 keys to fundraising success.  Follow them and watch that trip fund overflow!

1. Know What You Need

You can’t fundraise effectively without having drawn up a detailed budget.  Budgeting is one of the first steps toward organizing a student trip for this reason.  Important to note, also, is that it’s one of the mechanisms that wins you administrative approval.

Be sure to include items beyond transportation and lodging.  While those are your big-ticket items, you’re also going to need to feed your kids and pay for entrance to educational attractions that support your curricular goals.

2. Create Urgency

Setting clear goals to meet by certain dates is a great way to light a fire under your fundraisers (students and parents alike).

Draw up a thermometer to start your fundraising drive.  As you hit landmark goals, mark them on the thermometer, so everyone can see how well you’re doing.  Talk about the thermometer and how it’s going to take everyone’s best efforts to reach your financial goals.

Create urgency and watch the money flow in.

3. Fundraising Chair

We know that teachers are almost superhuman, but we also know that you need support.  In the case of effective fundraising, you’ll need someone to take charge of this aspect of the trip.

Choose an engaged parent with a reputation for getting things done.  It’s been proven repeatedly that putting a parent at the helm of fundraising gets results and a better response.

4. Get Together

Once a month, get your fundraisers together to talk about progress and kick around ideas.  This is a habit which builds communal accountability and provides the opportunity to share successes and fresh input.

At the same time, update your fundraisers about the status of the trip.  Let them know you’ve booked accommodation and share with them the attractions you’ve confirmed them for at their destination.  Building excitement raises funds!

5. Get Personal

Parents and students raising money need your encouragement, so make a point of meeting with individual members of your fundraising group to talk about how things are going.  Hearing concerns and sharing ideas reminds your fundraisers that they’re not working in a vacuum.

The leadership you provide your fundraisers plant the seeds of success and a well-financed student trip!

Junior Tours

For more than 50 years, Junior Tours has been supporting educators with superlative student tour planning and coordination.

Let the adventure begin!  Contact us for a free sample itinerary and quote.

students entering school bus

Basic Chaperoning – Making Parents Glad They Volunteered

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Because Junior Tours was founded by a teacher who wanted to create a student tour resource that made educators’ jobs a little easier, we know about chaperones.  We know who they tend to be and the assumptions made about what they’re there to do (from both teachers and chaperones).

This blog is about sharing some knowledge about chaperoning to ensure that you’re making parents glad they volunteered.  It’s too often the case that parents and teachers allow their assumptions about the roles in play guide their on-tour actions.

The problem with assumptions is that they’re rarely accurate.  Let’s look at some ways to make chaperoning more fun and less stressful.

The Most Obvious Person Isn’t Always the Right Person

Most teachers in today’s classroom work with special needs kids.  These students need a little extra support.  But it’s not always the case that the chaperone who’s the parent of a special needs child should be put in charge of this cohort of your students.

Keep in mind that “special needs mom” has needs of her own.  Automatically charging her with managing all your tour members who need extra support is not going to make her want to volunteer again.

Do the Groundwork

You know you need behavioral guidelines while you’re out touring.  That much is clear.  But being diligent about ensuring your students understand and internalize them is a process.  A handout with bullet points is soon forgotten.

Preparing your students to follow the guidelines you’ve set out is the kind of groundwork your parent chaperones are going to love you for.  Kids who respond to directions are going to be lot less work for them and lot less stressful to shepherd.

Try an interactive approach to the guidelines.  Bring them up frequently in class and ask students to respond to questions about what’s required of them while you’re on your trip.  Leave no room for doubt that the behavioral guidelines you’ve set out are to be followed to the letter.

Fresh Horses

All schools have their tried and true parent volunteers.  They’re the ones who show up for every fundraiser, school concert and PTA meeting.

But if you’re serious about student travel and ensuring that you have the right people in place to support your vision with quality chaperoning, then you’ll need to be in perpetual recruitment mode.

Your default is “charming”, so your approach isn’t the issue.  The issue is that parents get burned out.  Bringing new members to your chaperoning team is all about happy, experienced chaperones sharing with others how great volunteering on your trips is.

And that comes down to savvy chaperone management.  Basic chaperoning – making parents glad they volunteered – starts with what you do to understand the roles of the chaperones at your disposal.

Being there for chaperones by preparing your students adequately is a great start.  But ensuring that your chaperones aren’t overwhelmed, exhausted from out-of-control student behavior, or just done with volunteering, is smart teaching.

Junior Tours has been creating quality student travel experiences for over 50 years.  Contact us.

Garment Center NYC

What to Do on a Student Fashion Tour of New York City

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If you’re planning a fashion tour, your students will really enjoy New York City. NYC is a must for all the fashion freaks!

Among all the places, you should see the ones we are mentioning here. Get immersed in the magnificent world of fashion.

Garment Center Shops

The Garment Center is the focal point of New York fashion industry. Here in these few blocks, there is a variety of shops and stores.

It is the home to thousands of fashion businesses. Seeing so many different textiles and accessories can appear to be too much, but no – you will definitely find what fits you!

This is the place where you can see the famous designers at work, such as Calvin Klein… How about that?

Parsons School of Design

This is very famous private art and design college, the top one in the United States, founded in 1896. It’s offering students innovative ways of education to unleash their creativity and prepare them for the future.

It offers both undergraduate and graduate courses in fashion design, graphic design, interior design, curatorial studies, textiles, urban ecologies, and more. It’s known for its alumni — famous fashion designers and artists.

Who knows, maybe you will enroll in this fascinating university?

Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

This is a public college in Manhattan, focused mostly on art and design.

FIT has a museum which is one of the rare ones specialized in fashion. Its permanent collection is around 50,000 fashion pieces dating back to 18th century.

It has the collection of textiles, clothes and accessories.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The popular “Met” is the third most visited museum in the world, and the biggest one in the United States. It has more than  7 million visitors per year.

Its permanent collection has more than two million art-pieces, consisting of the works from antiquity through modern art. It was opened in 1870 with the thought of bringing art to American people.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

This historic national landmark gives a peek into the lives of immigrants who lived at 97 & 103 Orchard Street decades ago (even back to 1860s).  It also offers tours with actors who portray residents and their customs. Get to know more about American history!

For more info about student tours to NYC, contact Junior Tours.