Environmental Scientist and Ordway Parent
What is the Outdoor Education Program at Ordway?
The Fourth Graders spend three days and two nights at a camp on the Kitsap Peninsula called Camp Seymour. Students learn about our local environment and wildlife using an exciting hands-on approach. One highlight is when scuba divers collect marine life from the bottom of Puget Sound and bring it up for the students to see. In the past, students have also dissected squids. Teachers and volunteer high school counselors who have been interviewed, selectively chosen, and trained by the teachers, accompany the students and teach the curriculum.
Why Do We Have to Raise Funds to Support Outdoor Education?Last year, the program cost over $25,000. In the past, the Bainbridge Island School District has paid for the program but due to budget cuts, the District can no longer pay for it. Each fourth grade family is responsible to pay for their child to attend. Last year, the cost per family was over $250. Because of fundraising, the PTO reduced that amount to $70. As a community, we recognize that paying over $250 for one child to attend camp is a financial struggle for many of our families.
Why Does It Cost So Much?
The total amount includes the cost of the camp, food, teachers’ stipends, bus transportation, insurance, and costs related to the curriculum, such as payment for materials and scuba divers.
How Does the Cost of Our Program Compare to Wilkes’s and Blakely’s Programs?
Last year, the cost per family for our Outdoor Education program was the lowest amount of all three schools.
Why Do We Want to Continue to Support and Offer the Outdoor Education Program?
Every year, the School District has considered cutting the Outdoor Ed program. Last spring at a parent meeting, Ordway parents overwhelmingly voiced their support for Outdoor Ed and supported PTO fundraising to continue the program. Based upon parental opinion and support, the PTO made a commitment to Ordway’s Administration that it would raise $15,000 to specifically fund Outdoor Ed. This amount is separate from the amount raised by PTO to support all of the student scholarships, enrichment classes, teacher grants, and other items that the PTO purchases for Ordway.
Of all three elementary schools, our parents feel the strongest about ensuring that our students are given this unique opportunity. As a community, we believe that exposing our children to the environment and learning about nature and our connection and effect on the environment is crucial. We understand that this program encourages curiosity, self-confidence, creativity, and love for science.
Additionally, our program fosters a feeling of community and belonging. Ordway is the only school that uses high school counselors. Parents, teachers, and students have all emphasized that the students and high schoolers develop special mentoring relationships that continue beyond the program.
Finally, it is a right-of-passage for many fourth graders, some of whom this may be the first time they spend a night away from home. It builds a sense of self and responsibility and provides them with tools that they can use as they begin fifth grade.
Why Did We Do a Fourth Grade Letter-Writing Campaign This Year?
The Co-Chairs of the Fundraising Committee this year met with last year’s Co-Chairs last spring and reviewed all of the information provided about fundraisers conducted during the past two years. The Fourth Grade Letter Writing Campaign was the most successful fundraiser last year raising over $3,000. Because it was such a successful event, involves the students and teaches them how to write a letter and address an envelope, and does not require much volunteer time, we decided to do it again this year.
When Will Outdoor Education Happen This Year?
The fourth graders will attend the program from April 8 – 10, 2013.
How Can I Support Ordway’s Outdoor Education Program?
You can do the following:
* Make an on-line donation on the PTO website.
* Volunteer at one of our fundraisers this year. For more information, contact co-Chairs Sonja Fritts at firstname.lastname@example.org or Suzanne Fisher at email@example.com.
* Submit art work and/or attend the Art Auction on March 16th.
Save the Date: Art Auction March 16th!
Announcing Ordway’s Art Auction on Saturday, March 16th at 5:30 p.m. at Grace Church. Featuring art created by local artists and individual student and classroom art. $15 admission. Food, wine, and beer will be served. One drink included with admission. Proceeds benefit Ordway’s Outdoor Education Program.
Calling All Artists!
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
We are surrounded by it, we dream it, we create it, we enjoy it – ART!!! A call to all artists to participate in an evening of celebrating the creativity in all of us! On Saturday, March 16th Ordway Elementary PTO is hosting an Art Auction at Grace Church derived of artwork from our great community. We invite you to participate by creating something you would like to donate for auction. This is an opportunity to share your creativity with the world; to create an art piece as a family to donate, or as an individual. Students are also encouraged to participate. This is your chance to help out our school by sharing a bit of your joy! Proceeds benefit Ordway’s Outdoor Education Program.
All art forms are welcome: woodwork, ceramics, sculpture, fibers, print, photo, paint, drawings. The deadline to submit your art is February 22. Please include your bio, typed on a 5 x 7 white card. Contact Sonja Fritts at firstname.lastname@example.org for drop off information or if you have any questions.