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Students earn CMA field trip

How did the teachers at Garden Grove Elementary raise students’ reading scores and make it fun at the same time? They set schoolwide reading goals. If all students in the school achieved their goals, everyone was rewarded with a field trip to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium!

According to Connie Hershelman, Principal at Garden Grove Elementary, the entire school was completely invested in improving reading scores and earning the chance to visit the Aquarium. “Each class set the bar of where they needed to be for reading comprehension,” explained Hershelman. “This process included parents because they had to sign off on a student’s reading log.”

To motivate students, teachers posted photos in the classroom featuring the Aquarium and Cabrillo Beach. Parents also became excited because Garden Grove Elementary is in Reseda and many families rarely have the chance to go to the beach. “One first grade teacher asked her students, ‘How many of you have been to the beach before?’” said Hershelman. “Three out of 24 students raised their hands.”

Teachers and parents kept busy monitoring progress. Reading goals were on track and enthusiasm for a school field trip to the Aquarium was building, but that left one important detail. How was the entire school going to get to the Aquarium?

In order to transport all students in kindergarten through fifth grade plus staff, they needed nine buses. The PTA held bake sales, but that only raised enough for two buses. Hershelman contacted Paula Moore, Executive Director of FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, to see if she had any suggestions.

“After talking to Connie, I knew we had to help,” said Moore. “The students were working so hard to improve their reading skills that a prize trip to the Aquarium had to come through.” Thanks to funding from FRIENDS supplemented by a grant from the Bannerman Foundation, Moore was able to gather enough money for seven more buses.

Students fulfilled their reading goals and the field trip was scheduled. Cafeteria staff members came in early the morning of the trip to help prepare lunches and nine buses arrived to pick up 540 students and 108 adults. An accident on the freeway snarled traffic, turning the one-hour trip from Reseda to San Pedro into two hours. But everyone was too excited to care.

Upon arriving at the Aquarium, students participated in Spring Program on inner Cabrillo Beach. They learned about tidepools and whales, hatched grunion eggs and danced like a jellyfish. Everyone enjoyed the classic Cabrillo Marine Aquarium experience.

“The students had such a great time at the Aquarium. Many of them saw the ocean for the first time,” said Hershelman. “They had so much fun hatching grunion eggs and doing the jellyfish dance. The Aquarium and FRIENDS of CMA made a dream come true. The kids are still talking about it.”


Post Date: Friday, July 20, 2012

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