2020 Spring Break Field Experience to New York/Boston

  • New York Mystic Seaport Plymoth Plantation Boston
     *Please forgive the date on the posters, I need to update it :)

    Our #CHCougars Spring Break Field Experience will be taking us to New York City and Boston in 2020!

    If you are interested in going, please fill out this very quick survey


    ** We are going to hold off on the 2020 Spring Break Trip to New York. We hope to announce our 2021 trip in January 2020, which should allow families more time to prepare. Sorry for any disappointment this may cause. **



    COST: $1,700 - $2,000 * A more accurate cost will be determined based on the numer of participants.

    Please email mark.westpfahl@spps.org to express interest.
    We require a $250 dposit when signing up to ensure downpayments on airfare, hotel and other accomodations. 

    (The last day to receivce a refund on the deposit is December 2, 2019.)

    An intra-school account will be set up so parents can make payments. This year, you CAN use a direct deposit style system from the district, rather than bringing in a series of checks or cash! Look for more information about this soon. 

    Payment plans will be structured on a tiered system with final payments due by January 31, 2018


    In order to provide a clearer picture to families who have not yet experienced one of the previous spring break experiences, we have put together a FAQ section to help you better understand the purpose and the logistics of this proposed trip. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will do my best to better answer your questions or concerns.
    Spring Break 2020 - March 30-April 3, 2020 *(Dates may shift a day due to airline availability)  
    $1,700- $2,000 per student. (final cost may be dependent on how many students participate. Because we are organizing the trip without the aid of a tour company, we are able to keep our costs down to a reasonable price compared to similar trips offered by World Strides and EF Tours, which charge $2,000 -$3,000 for our customized itinerary.
    Some of the possible fundraising ideas for the entire group that we are considering would be multiple fundraisers at "Capitol Hill Food Nights" at Chipoltle, Buffalo Wild Wings and Devoni's. These events typically net a couple to a few hundred dollars, so they would be beneficial to the creation of possible scholarships, but are not likely to fund the majority of any individual student's trip cost. We would love to have a parent or two coordinate fundraising opportunities such as these to help offset the price of the trip and to raise money for our scholarhsip fund.
    We would also recommend that you consider starting a fundraising page through GoFundMe, or another reputable site.
    We would also like to gain the help of several anonymous donors, who are willing to make matching contributions to our fundraising. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in this, please contact me. 
    The cost of the trip includes round trip air accommodations, hotel arrangements, breakfast, lunch and evening meals, admittance to events/locations/attractions all gratuities, licensed tour guides, and the knowledgable travel guides and trip coordinators, Mark J. Westpfahl and Katie Moore.
    Mark J. Westpfahl, Katie Moore, etc. (more chaperones will be added as depending on need as more students sign up.)
    We travel by airplane from MSP to New York City (Or Boston). While this does increase the overall cost of the trip comapred to taking a Coach bus, it ensures that we receive the most possible amount of time on the east coast to participate in the reach experiences we've scheduled. While in New York and Boston, we will be traveling my coach bus or walking from one destination to the next. We may even take metro-train from one destination to another!
    Overnight security is provided by the hotels. When touring via coach bus, our bus driver will either remain in the bus or will have the bus completely locked so student materials will remain safe and secured.

    We typically stay at a Holiday Inn, or equivalent in New Jersey and in the Boston area. This keeps us within 10 miles of of our tour destinations. while also keeping the cost down. We will be exploring several options for this next year, including group rates for hotels in New York City & in New Jersey, in downtown Boston as well as the surrounding area. The room arrangements do not indicate what groups students will be a part of during the trip. In fact, we will be mixing our groups often throughout the experience, so even if your child does not receive some of his/her peers as roommates, hey will still have countless interactions with them throughout the daytime experiences.
    Every student who goes on the trip will be required (by the District) to complete a medical history and waiver form before being allowed to go on the trip. Any medications must be noted on the form and do require a doctors signature. Students may be able to carry their own medications on the trip of aproved by Dr. V. A school representative (One, two or all three of the chaperones) will be responsible for dispersing all medications on the trip and will keep a detailed log of all medications, dosages, time, etc throughout the trip. We will have contact information of the nearest emergency medical institutions. 
    As we get closer to our trip, students will have an opportunity to suggest 3-5 possible students they would like to room with. All rooming situations will be based on gender and rooms will be filled with four students per room. We will do our best to see that as many people will be able to room with other students from their choices, but from time to time, a person not from their list may room with them. Chaperones will share rooms only with other chaperones or may request their own room. It is extremely important to note that while we understand roommates often times can be a sensitive or delicate issue, we will not be in our rooms that often. For example, we plan to get up at 6am each morning, and may not be back until 11:00pm. We reommend making a shower schedule with your roommates and going immediately to bed.
    That completely depends on what you as a parent think. Of the 36 students who traveled to New York and Boston with us in 2015, nearly half were sixth graders. Of the 96 students who participated in the 2014 Spring Break Field Experience to Washington D.C., more than 20 sixth grade students went. Last year, we had about a dozen sixth graders on our Washington D.C. field experience. Our goal is to provide a spring break field trip through the social studies department every spring break. This would allow you to determine when you feel your child is best suited for the experience.
    Students are not required by the FAA to carry identification in order to pass through security and/or board the plane. We will work with the airline in advance of our trip so they are aware of how many children will be in our group and which adults are considered to have "custody" during this time period. I, along with the chaperones, will be in control of their airline tickets. They will not receive them until the morning and evening our our flights at the airport. 
    All students and chaperones will be required to complete a behavior contract prior to trip.

    Approximately two weeks before the trip, we will have a final parent/student information session to discuss final details of the trip. This will include what to bring, what not to bring, how much money students should bring for souvenirs, etc. We will collect final behavior contracts at this time, discuss what to pack, weather conditions, appropriate clothing apparel, etc.
    The value to student participants is often immeasurable, as it is a once in a lifetime experience to share with their fellow peers and educational community. Capitol Hill Gifted and Talented Magnet has offered this experience to students since before 2007 and the impacts for both students and their families are amazing. Student participation over the years has included students from multiple ethnic, racial and religious groups as well as differing socio-economic statuses.
    Not only does the trip provide students with an opportunity to explore our amazing country and numerous historical sites in a structured setting, the trip is designed to draw tremendous emphasis on the standards that are taught in 6th Grade Minnesota Studies, 7th Grade American History and 8th Grade World Geography.
    Our itinerary is subject to change, but this is a small snapshot of what we will be seeing/experiencing while on tour. More events and landmarks will be added throughout the trip as photostops or "stop and see" spots.
    Part I of our Spring Break Educational Field Experience with Mr. Westpfahl and Ms. Nolden takes us on an adventure you will never forget through historic New York City. Enjoy a walking tour of Central Park and visit iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. We’ll visit the 9/11 Memorial, tour the United Nations, ascend to the top of the Empire State Building and discover what life was like for immigrants as they entered America at Ellis Island. We’ll visit Times Square, stroll past the financial markets of Wall Street and see a show on Broadway. Talk to Mr. Westpfahl or Ms. Nolden if you are interested in this unique experience & interaction with history.
    Part II of our journey on our Spring Break Educational Field Experience with Mr. Westpfahl and Ms. Nolden continues on the third day to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. We’ll participate in numerous hands-on activities to learn about life in the 1800s whaling and fishing village. From learning to carve from a woodcarver, making ropes, and becoming a shipsmith, students will learn become part of the past through roleplaying while learning how the eastern seaboard helped shape the new country.

    We'll Journey with a licensed guide to Lexington, where the first  shots of the American Revolution rang out on the Battle Green. Note that the statue of Captain John Parker gazes in the direction of Boston, still watching for the Redcoats. Concord was the Redcoats’ next stop, but they were confronted by the  Minutemen who fired the “shot heard ’round the world” at the Old North Bridge, which you will see on your tour.

    History comes alive as you observe costumed Pilgrims split wood, shear sheep and prepare fish stew in a skillful re-creation of a 1627 Pilgrim village. You’ll also climb abord the Mayflower II for a tour of this full-scale reproduction of the Pilgrims’ sailing vessel and explore a Wampanoag Homesite to learn about the indigenous people who have lived in southeastern New England for more than 12,000 years.
    Part III of our Spring Break Educational Field Experience has our tour guides Mr. Westpfahl and Ms. Nolden showcasing an adventure you will never forget as they guide you on a journey through revolutionary Boston. Enjoy walking tours of the historic Freedom Trail and visit iconic landmarks like the Old State House, Faneuil Hall and the Old North Church. Tour the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Constitution, and see the gravesites of several signers of the Declaration of Independence. Depending on the weather, we may even take a historic Duck Tour of Bosotn and travel (with one... or two lanterns) by traveling on land and by sea on the WWII era amphibias vehicles. Talk to Mr. Westpfahl or Ms. Nolden if you are interested in this unique experience & interaction with history.
     *Please forgive the date on the poster, I need to update it :)
    New York