Last week I went on a school field trip. Unlike the majority of field trips this year, the planning for this trip didn’t unfold over the course of a few hours or days. This trip was weeks in the planning. Also, unlike most other trips this year, which have been within a few miles of the school, this trip took us 117 miles away. We drove in two cars to the Fairhaven School in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Having exchanged a number of emails with Fairhaven over the last six weeks, they were expecting us and gave us a warm welcome followed by a guided tour of their two buildings. We were then set loose to explore and visit.
Collectively we observed how they run their Judicial Committee and School Meeting, tried out their swing set and see-saws, got a guided walk through the woods to their stream, learned how to sign up for and use one of their computers, ran around outside with new friends, compared notes of how we handle keeping our respective buildings clean, heard how they evaluate and hire staff, shared amazing and bizarre Judicial Committee stories, perused the posted information on their bulletin boards (they’re planning a prom!), learned what their Tribal Death Clerk’s duties are, talked and talked and then talked some more.
We left for Harrisburg and home in the late afternoon, stopping on the way at a farm-to-table restaurant found online beforehand. We arrived back at school after 8pm, tired and happy.
At our next day’s debriefing we agreed there wasn’t a thing we wished we had done differently in planning or implementing the trip. We came home full of ideas of things we’d like to try at The Circle School – with getting a swing set at the top of the list – but also we returned with a newfound satisfaction with many of our existing practices and resources. In the end, while we noticed many differences between our schools, there were even more similarities and our visit was collegial, comfortable, fun, and inspirational.
Now we look forward to planning a similar welcome to our Fairhaven visitors in the next few weeks!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Tribal Death Clerk, an elected official, is responsible for proper burial of dead animals occasionally found in the Fairhaven woods.