My first month at World of Inquiry School has been pretty good- a little overwhelming at times- but the good kind, as I’m sure most of us feel one day or another. My main purpose there is raise money for these extended field studies for 7th and 8th graders. World of Inquiry is an Expeditionary Learning based school- meaning that they not only do a lot of learning outside the classroom in their field studies, but the teachers try to tie in all their subjects while studying a central theme. An example of this would be the 8th grade this fall- their theme is “The Skin We’re In”. So, in science class they are reading a book called skin- which discusses scientific facts about skin including how our skin color changes based on where our ancestors were located. They have gone to the zoo to study animal skin and how it relates to their niche, things like that. In social studies they can study how skin color is different based on where we are in relation to the Equator (remember learning about latitude and longitude? things like that which I have not thought about since 8th grade!) they are studying about how skin color has affected our culture and other cultures throughout history, and the Obama family tree, and then they take these things and write about them in English class. In Math they are working on things like how SPF really works (numerically) and charting the data in their findings.
So what do I have to do with all of this? The 7th grade would like to go on an extended field study to Gettysburg PA in late May, and the 8th grade would like to go to Washington DC in late May to really tie in what they have been learning about in their classes in the winter and spring. These trips have the potential to be one of the most powerful learning experiences they have all year, but 80% of the students at our school are in poverty. Therefore, we can not just ask families for the full amount of money it takes to go on a trip, and we do not want to exclude anyone. My job is to make these field studies possible for them.I also help out with local field studies when they need it (zoo, high falls, canal convention)
Therefore, I have been doing a lot of fund raising planning and grant writing. And trip planning! The 7th grade last year went to Gettysburg, so the trip is pretty easy to plan, its just getting the funds for it. Washington is going to be more challenging, but the 8th grade parents are very involved and helpful in fund raising planning and execution. The first grant I applied for was intimidating because I have never done it before, but now that I’m cranking them out left and right it seems easier and less scary.
Some challenges I have come across: the first challenge is that I was told from the get go the 8th grade was going to DC. Not until recently did I find out the 8th grade teachers would actually rather go to the Adirondacks. My supervisor and the principal do not really agree, but can’t just say no right now until they see why they are so against it. Its hard to move forward if you don’t know where you are actually going (literally and metaphorically I guess), plus I just spent a month researching DC when I could have been researching the Adirondacks. Another small challenge is that parents have lives and can’t get back to me when I need them to about fund raising, which delays some of the projects because I can’t put them forward when they have opinions on them (although I recently have been given the go ahead to do things without parents input all the time on fundraisers).
I guess thats it for now- all in all I really like my site and am excited for the upcoming months when we have larger fundraisers which I can write about later.