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Enumclaw High School Band and Orchestra Produce a CD/DVD to Raise Funds for a Student Trip to Orlando, Florida

By Howard Clemens

Many high school bands, orchestras, and choirs have to raise money in the fall and spring so they may travel and perform in cities across the U.S. such as Orlando, FL, Washington D.C., and New York City. This year, I was particularly impressed by a story one Band and Orchestra Director, Lynda Alley, of Enumclaw High School in Washington, told me about her successful fundraising efforts. By recording and selling a fall concert CD/DVD, the school group was able to raise $15,000.

From April 5-9, 2010, Enumclaw high school band and orchestra will travel to Orlando, Florida to perform at Disney World. On April 6th, the high school band will perform in the Future March at Epcot Center and the symphony orchestra will perform on the Waterside Stage in Magic Kingdom. Both groups will partake in the “You’re Instrumental” workshop, a real recording session where students will underscore an animation of choice with their own soundtrack.

The story of how this particular high school band and orchestra raised funds for the trip to Disney World is heartening, and shows real drive and enthusiasm on the part of the band director and the students. Lynda Alley, Band and Orchestra Director at Enumclaw High School, said, “We engaged the services of the RM Project, a company that specializes in making films and soundtracks of student performances. RM Project made a soundtrack and film of our band performance during our fall 2009 concert.”

Alley says the high school band was so enthusiastic about the project they rehearsed and successfully recorded material that would normally be presented in June for the October 21st and 22nd concert.

The RM Project did not require upfront fees for production, but took a percentage of the proceeds as agreed upon in the contract. The production company recorded the fall concert and within two weeks presented master tracks for review. Once these were approved, the final CD/DVD was delivered in two weeks. Alley said, “The final project was packaged completely professionally, as if it rolled off the shelf at Best Buy. The DVD/CD’s are printed in full color, with a 24-page color companion booklet. The back and front of the jewel case is in full color featuring the artwork we requested, and the CD includes a bar code for retail distribution.” Alley added that the sound quality is perfect, as if it were recorded at “Carnegie Hall.”

Freshman through senior aged students were asked to sell the CD/DVD to parents, relatives, friends and associates. Students were actually relieved that they did not have to sell wrapping paper and magazines. Instead they were asked to do something that dovetailed with their musical work. Alley commented, “In many ways, students are more sophisticated than when I was in high school. I think most high school students find it demeaning when they are asked to sell items that have no connection with what they are attempting to achieve as students and musicians.”

Students who were motivated to sell more CD/DVDs were rewarded with an incentive based program. If they reached certain sales levels they received items aligned with their interest in music such as: music notation software, Apple Computer music products and music download gift cards. Students’ ultimate reward was attending the trip to Orlando in the spring and performing at Epcot Center or Magic Kingdom.

Parents were especially receptive to the program because it yielded $15,000 in funds in just six weeks. This took pressure from the booster organization to raise the funds. In previous years, the booster organization ran all of the concessions at the home athletic events, and was still unable to raise this much money.

In addition to student sales of the CD/DVD, the RM Project put up a website to generate more retail sales and as a place to sell digital downloads. Alley indicated, “This was a great way to sell the product to out of town friends and relatives of our program. The RM Project also contracts to coordinate uploading the CD/DVD on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other online services where music downloads can be purchased.” Even though Alley declined the second option for online sales, she intends to incorporate this into the spring 2010 recording project. She said that Enumclaw High School will produce two recordings per year for the foreseeable future.

From a fundraising perspective, the recording and distribution project was a great success. The project also garnered student musicians and the band director exposure in CD/DVD format as well as online. With Educational Travel Consultants as their chosen tour company, students will have access to all four parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom between April 5-9th. A security guard will also be provided for the group from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m. everyday.

To book a student performance tour or any other type of travel trip email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online.

Teachers and Tour Escorts: A Working Relationship Can Produce Fun and Educational Student Trips

by Howard Clemens

When planning and executing student trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, FL or other U.S. destinations one of the primary components for a smooth and fun trip is good communication between a tour escort (also known as a tour director) and the teacher who is sponsoring the class trip.

Some student trips can be quite large, with groups ranging from 100 to 150 students, while other class trips may number between 40-60 students. No matter how large or small the group and how many buses are needed, a trained tour director is a necessary part of the journey and can make the difference in whether the student trip is well managed or not.

An educational tour company with experience in taking school groups on tour will always provide a tour escort as part of the overall cost of the trip. The tour escort is the representative from the educational travel company whose main task is to keep an open dialogue with the teacher when schedule changes or deviations in the itinerary are suggested or needed, among other things.

A tour director is not in charge of the trip. The teacher is the person who fulfills this role and takes ultimate responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the student group. The tour escort’s role is to assist the teacher when a decision needs to be made, and to inform him or her about any potential charges which may be incurred for making decisions that do not coincide with the planned itinerary.

Here is a breakdown of the role a tour director will play on a class trip and the responsibilities of the teacher or school group leader:

Tour Escort
• Introduces him or her self to the teacher before the trip via a personal telephone call.
• Uses the itinerary as a guide for the entire class trip.
• Keeps the group on schedule and manages any issues that may arise that will affect timeliness in attending scheduled events, destinations, eateries, etc.
• Acts as a liaison between the attractions, hotels, restaurants, bus driver, and other stops on tour.
• When requested by the teacher or group leader the tour director may assume more control of the group. For example, a teacher may be away on a personal phone call, trip to the restroom, or overseeing a problem with a student or group of students. The tour director will act as a temporary group leader when the teacher’s attention is elsewhere.

Teacher
• He or she is the group leader of the class trip and maintains control of the students.
• The educator dialogues with the tour escort and makes final decisions on adjustments to the itinerary or schedule.
• A teacher will consult with the tour escort on any potential or actual financial changes that may occur due to modifications of the itinerary.
• When disciplinary problems arise with a student or group of students, the teacher takes the lead role in intervening and correcting the problem.
• If there is a problem with the venue or schedule, the teacher is informed by the tour escort how the issue will be resolved and makes final decisions on the outcome of the situation.

The teacher and tour escort relationship is always more effective when both individuals keep the lines of communication open. An adept tour escort is a proficient communicator. An educator has to have excellent speaking skills to manage a classroom on a regular basis. When both of these key roles are working in unison, a student trip to any destination is a quality educational experience remembered fondly by all.

Writing Assignments that Complement Class Trips to Washington D.C. and NYC

Educational travel tours headed for Washington D.C. or New York City are an excellent way to stimulate active learning. Visiting historic sites such as the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. or taking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Boat tour in New York City are just the first step in the learning process.

Writing Assignments Help Students Learn about NYC and Washington D.C.
Creating a post trip writing assignment that requires students to assimilate the information learned on a visit to Washington D.C. or New York City is one way to ensure that students have grasped the information conveyed on student tours.

Student tour groups get excited about visiting historic sites and learning about the way the U.S. government is run or the manner in which immigrant families entered the country. Experienced, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides make all the difference in any student tour. In both Washington D.C. and New York City, tour guides must be licensed in order to lead groups around the city. A high quality student tour company will only work with tour guides who are licensed.

Teachers and educational tour planners should contract with student travel companies that have excellent reputations and a long history in working with school groups. Working with an experienced educational travel company will ensure that information conveyed on a tour is in sync with academic standards and learning objectives.

In order to maintain high standards, licensed tour guides in New York City and Washington D.C. are required to pass certification tests which are designed to measure their knowledge of historical and cultural information about the city where they lead student tours. If a tour guide is licensed, then the student travel group is sure to receive accurate historical information about the sites. Another advantage of working with licensed tour guides is their ability to accurately answer questions from student travelers about historical sites.

In addition to selecting a qualified educational travel company that employs licensed tour guides, creating a post trip assignment related to one or more of the destinations on the itinerary are an effective way to help students process the event.

Here are some brief ideas for writing assignments that may follow a class trip to Washington D.C. or New York City. Teachers will want to give students the details of these assignments before the tour, so they can take notes while they visit these sites. These writing exercises are designed for the high school classroom. Teachers should feel free to modify the assignments for specific learning and curriculum objectives.

Washington D.C. Writing Assignment Idea After a Visit to the Capitol

Instruct students to write a 500-750 word essay about their visit to the U.S. Capitol. Highlight three observations that stood out on your visit to the Capitol. What did you learn about American democracy that you did not know before your visit? Explain in detail. Describe any of the representatives, pages, aides or people that you may have met or seen on your visit. What are their functions in the democratic process?

Writing Exercise Idea Following a Tour of the White House:
Ask students to write a 500-750 word essay about their trip to the White House.
On your visit to the White House, which room were you drawn to the most, and why? Describe in detail the furnishings, art, and function of this room. How does this room play a role in diplomatic or political relations? Why is this particular room of the White House important and included on the tour?

New York City Writing Assignment to Follow a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Write a 500-750 word essay that brings together at least eight different facts about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In your own words, describe why these two significant New York City landmarks are pivotal places in American history.

These writing assignment ideas are designed to inspire students to look and listen closely while on tour. They are specifically designed for high school educational tour groups visiting Washington D.C. or New York City. For more information about scheduling a student tour (with a licensed tour guide) for either destination or any U.S. city, visit The Request a Quote page and take a few minutes to fill out the form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Preparation Tips for Class Trips

When student travel groups embark on a class trip to a destination far from home, it can seem like a daunting endeavor. Over the last 25 years of planning class trips to a variety of U.S. destination, I have found that pre-trip planning and organization can be key to a smooth trip.

Student groups need to be given clear instructions in planning for a class trip. These student tour groups will manage their departure from home and arrival in another city much better than those who do not receive directions.

Class Trip Suggestions

I am going to detail some basic preparation tips for class trips that assist in creating a tour that proceeds on schedule and allows student travelers, chaperones and teachers to relax and derive maximum enjoyment from the journey.

1. Luggage rules for airline carriers have changed over the past two years. To avoid extra baggage fees students are best advised to limit their luggage to one suitcase and a small carry on.

2. Students should bring a minimum amount of cash with them. My educational travel company recommends $50 total. If students require more than this on tour, then credit cards, bank cards, or travelers checks are a wise alternative.

3. While taking a student tour of the destination city, we strongly advise that students stay in groups of four or more and with their assigned chaperone.

4. Eating and drinking is allowed on most buses. Should the bus driver decided to discontinue this privilege, then the student travel group must honor this request. Encourage all members of the student tour group to keep the buses clean.

5. These days, many students have their own cell phones. For those who do not, hotel phone numbers are listed on the itineraries. Parents should retain a copy of the itinerary so they may reach their children easily.

6. While staying in hotels, long distance phone calls and pay television are turned off. The group sponsor may elect to allow students to pay for movies at the front desk, but the student must be accompanied by an adult. Local phone calls made from the room are paid for by that room’s occupants.

7. Hotel rules need to be made and ultimately enforced by teachers. This includes curfews (which are usually set at 11 p.m.), room assignments, and room-to-room calling.

8. If a security person is retained for this class trip, then this person will meet the group sponsor to be apprised of the rules and implementation.

9. If problems occur on the class trip and a tour escort is unable to solve them, the educational travel company should be contacted directly.

My educational travel company provides a list of preparation tips for class trips prior to departure. I recommend teachers copy this list and give the written tips to the students that are traveling.

If students and parents are made aware of these class trip suggestions, the majority will follow these requests. Wherever their destination may be, we feel these guidelines help create a safe and enjoyable class trip.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information on class trips to a desired destination, or take five minutes to fill out our online form and Request a Quote today.

A Band Trip to New York City

New York City is a desirable student travel destination with many educational and recreational opportunities to offer. It is also a great city for student groups who would like to perform in highly visible venues. While planning band trips to New York City, keep in mind there are some excellent choices for students performance groups. The itineraries I offer student groups who want to travel to New York City and perform there include a performance date as well as visits to the same highlights and attractions in the city any student group would find of interest.

I am the owner of an educational travel company that specializes in performance trips to New York City, Washington D.C., Orlando, and other U.S. destinations. I have spent over 25 years creating exciting visits to these destinations crafted specifically for performance groups. My company specializes in high school band trips, orchestra trips, choir performances, ensembles and more.

In this article I will outline a sample itinerary for a band trip to New York City. This sample itinerary will give trip planners, students, teachers, and parents a clear picture of the type of performance trip a group may take to the Big Apple.

High School Band Trip Itinerary

New York City: Day 1
A high school band trip to New York City begins with a guided tour of the city with a professional and certified tour escort. The sites visited include Trinity Church, South Street Seaport, Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Chinatown, Central Park and other points of interest. After this tour of NYC is complete the group will visit the American Museum of Natural History, have dinner at a restaurant, and journey up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Educational travel groups may elect to take in a Yankees or Mets Baseball game as well.

New York City: Day 2
The highlight of day two is the performance by the high school band (or other type of performance group) at the United Nations or Lincoln Center. Student performance groups may also select the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island) as a venue. Choirs may perform at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. These well-known venues are a great chance for the high school band to reach out to a new and different type of audience than the one available to them in their own hometown. Scheduling this type of performance takes six months to one year advanced planning, so educators planning a trip like this need to keep this in mind. After the high school band performs, the group is taken shopping along 5th Avenue, on an NBC Studios Tour, and visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The student travel group then eats dinner at a restaurant, and takes in a Broadway Musical that evening.

New York City: Day 3
After breakfast the high school band or performance group checks out of the hotel, and takes a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. When this is complete the group explores the South Street Seaport and Greenwich Village. Afterward, they travel to Ground Zero and Chinatown. The last stop on the student tour is a shopping trip to Macy’s Department Store. After the shopping spree, the student group departs for home.

The sample itinerary outlined in this article does not represent the only performance trip available to New York City. I have worked carefully to put together an effective student performance trip to New York City that covers a three-day period. If additional destinations are requested within the New York City area, the student group may decide to travel for four days, instead of three. Whatever the requirements for the high school band or performance group, my professional staff remains adaptable to the specific needs of the group in the planning phases. Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information on scheduling a band trip to New York City. Or simply Request a Quote for your student tour group by taking a few minutes to fill out this online questionnaire.

Hotel Security On Class Trips

Class trips to destinations such as Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando and other desirable cities are the perfect opportunity for young people to learn and have fun with their peers, teachers and parents. For many parents sending their children on class trips, educational travel can also create anxiety over the unknown. Educational travel companies need to take steps to minimize parents’ worries by implementing measures that make them feel secure in putting their trust in others. There are methods to ensure students’ safety.

I have been the owner of an educational tour company for over 25 years and I have had an opportunity to listen to parents’ concerns firsthand. I am also the father of several children myself, so it’s easy for me to empathize. Without proper oversight and planning, one of the main places where problems can occur on student trips is at the hotel. For this reason, Educational Travel Consultants has a standing policy and procedure to guarantee student security while staying at hotels.

I will outline several effective strategies for ensuring security on class trips while student groups are staying at hotels. If these measures are taken, there is less cause for concern.

Let’s face it, there is always a possibility something may happen while student groups are on tour. This is why Educational Travel Consultants carries an insurance policy on all student trips. In addition to insurance, I feel strongly that implementing hotel security measures is another way to make certain that students are supervised at all times. Students do not need to be tempted to leave the hotel where they are staying for points unknown, in urban areas that are unfamiliar to them.

Hotel Security Measures for Student Travel Groups

1. The choice of hotel is essential for security on class trips. My company only books student groups at hotels with enclosed hallways. It is easier to monitor students’ behavior and make certain they are not tempted to leave the premises in hotels with interior corridors.

2. Students need to have a curfew. An 11 p.m. curfew is standard on trips. If the group for some reason arrives at a hotel after 11 p.m. (which is rare) the curfew begins 30 minutes after arrival.

3. Though it adds an extra expense, a security guard can patrol the hotel hallways after curfew until morning. My company policy is to guarantee a guard on all student trips.

4. Security guards also tape student rooms at curfew. The teacher in charge may take disciplinary action if the tape is ripped or removed.

5. When curfew is imposed at 11 p.m. this means that students must turn televisions and music down, and be quiet. Noise and loud talking may disturb other guests and is not permitted. A teacher may request that lights go out at curfew and that no talking is permitted. In any case, if a student’s inappropriate behavior warrants it, this may mean expulsion from the trip, which will also have implications once the student is returned to school and home.

6. Security guards must have clear parameters to work within. When the guard arrives for duty at 11 p.m. he or she is instructed on any last minute room switches and briefed on seeking teachers and chaperones out. Security guards are not permitted to enter student rooms for any purpose. However, they are required to keep a log of all occurrences throughout the evening. The guard will not wake group leaders for minor disruptions – only if an emergency or problem which requires their input occurs.

If these security measures are taken on class trips, I find that problems can be eliminated before they even begin. Young people need to have clearly defined rules. Similar to the classroom, inappropriate behavior on class trips has serious consequences.

The majority of student groups I have worked with over the years have easily observed these rules and cooperated with teachers, chaperons, tour guides, and security guards. If everyone on the trip observes the guidelines set forth, then the entire group has peace of mind and a good night’s sleep so that they can fully enjoy the tours and attractions on the following day. To inquire about a class trip, just email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for your student trip.

Special $269 per Student: Black History Tour of Washington D.C. and Baltimore

Washington D.C. and Baltimore are two urban areas where black history is rich and diverse, spanning the whole history of the United States. Baltimore was a port city since the Revolutionary Era. On the shores of the Potomac River, Washington D.C. grew to prominence in the same period. The great accessibility of these cities during the American Revolution and the Civil War Era makes these destinations a repository for black history.

A well-planned student trip to Washington D.C. and Baltimore illustrates the long struggle for civil rights. A focused itinerary can highlight its most famous and eloquent spokespersons.

Now Educational Travel Consultants is offering this unique trip for only $269 per student. Class trips scheduled to visit Washington D.C. can ask for a focused itinerary on black history and take in the usual stops such as the Capitol and White House, from the perspective of black history, if there is enough advanced planning.

Following is an outline of an itinerary for this $269 special tour of Washington D.C. and Baltimore on black history and civil rights.

Baltimore, MD: Black History Destinations

Morgan State University is a 130-year old inner city university in Baltimore that has historically served a multi-ethnic base and is an excellent choice for student tours.

Baltimore is also home to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum. This is a well-loved destination. Here, students will experience full-size wax replicas of great historical and contemporary black figures.

Washington D.C. African American History

Metropolitan A.M.E. Church is a place where black history and Christianity walk hand-in-hand. Students will see a gothic architectural treasure that can seat up to 2,500 people.

Frederick Douglas Historic Home was the family house of one of this country’s pre-eminent African Americans. Douglas was a literate freed slave who was published and widely read in his lifetime.

Benjamin Banneker Memorial Circle celebrates the life of the African American surveyor who measured the 10 mile piece of land that later became downtown Washington D.C.

Students can contemplate the great works of civilization through the lens of African American history at the National Museum of African Art. Another famous highlight of the black history tour is the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. The lobby has “The King Mural” on display, painted by Don Miller. Inside, MLK’s lifetime of work on civil rights issues is well documented.

Student Entertainment and Dining Choices on Black History Tour
There are also some excellent choices for dining with this $269 special. Student groups may select the Hard Rock Café or ESPN Zone, or even a Pizza buffet in the evening.

Entertainment choices include the Medieval Times Dinner Show, Broadway style musical dinner theatre or even a Potomac River Dinner DJ dance cruise. These entertainment options will incur additional fees.

While studying black history, students will learn relevant facts in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. For more information on the $269 special email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote right now by submitting the online form.

Tips for ‘Pitching’ Class Trips to Administrators

by Howard Clemens

Educators are already bogged down with many responsibilities both inside and outside the classroom. Some are in need of assistance to help plan and execute student trips. Working in the student travel industry for over 25 years, I have several ideas on how to make student trips more enticing to administrators. There are talking points for approaching the administration or even the school board about taking students on an educational trip.

I am the owner of a student travel company, Educational Travel Consultants. I have assisted many teachers in planning and executing class trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, and other U.S. destinations.

These days, class trips can be organized around science themes, performance trips, art tours, theater tours, eco-trips, and more. Taking a multi-subject approach to travel as a tool for educational enrichment means there are more possibilities for students to engage in active learning on a variety of topics.

Many teachers are required to validate student travel objectives to administrators or others. I would like to guide teachers in how to be successful at this challenge.

This article gives some tips on how to make the best approach to administrators and gain approval for a class trip to a desired destination.

1. Teachers Need to Make a Direct Connection between the Curriculum and the Student Trip. Teachers in subject areas outside of U.S. History can engage student learning with trips. The obvious choice for a trip to Washington D.C. is to tie it into an American History or Government class. But this is only one way of ‘pitching’ a trip to Washington D.C. A trip to Washington D.C. could be focused on science, be a band trip tied to a performance, include theater or provide a tour of art venues in town. My company is always ready to provide appropriate tour suggestions for any of these areas of study. Or we can book a standard class trip to Washington with a tour of the White House, Capitol, and downtown area.

2. Define the funding source clearly. Fundraising is an important issue and must be addressed in a meeting with administrators. Here is a brief list of some effective fundraising ideas that students can participate in that I recommend frequently: citrus fruit sales, selling roses and carnations on Valentine’s Day, sponsoring a car wash, selling scratch off cards, or selling CDs or DVDs. The teacher may want to do some preliminary research on or offline to confirm some of these fundraising methods and look at profit margins on products to set realistic fundraising goals for the class trip. Parents can also be asked to pay for a certain portion of the trip.

3. Present a Trip Budget: Break costs down by student and also add any other additional costs for the student trip that may be needed. A student travel consultant can assist with this. Present a comprehensive budget with an estimation of the number of people traveling on the trip.

4. Outline Financial Benefits. Teachers and chaperones are usually given complimentary trips by student travel companies. This eliminates costs for most adults to travel. This is one large benefit that is important, especially during tight budget years for the school.

5. Discuss Educational Benefits. What are the educational benefits of this trip? Will students come away with a firsthand knowledge of the way in which democracy works after visiting the Capitol and the White House? Have they benefited from visiting the estates of some of the founding fathers in Virginia, or seen the early canal system that used to move people and goods in the U.S? Indicate how students will be academically prepped before the trip. Give students a way to process the trip by building writing assignments into post travel curriculums.

6. Safety: Research and confirm that students, teachers and chaperones are insured on the trip, to alleviate liability to the school should anything occur. Select a well- established travel company that specializes in student travel and guarantees trip insurance. ETC carries a $2 million dollar liability insurance policy for all student trips. Another way to ensure safety includes something my company has done for ages. Our tour consultants book ONLY hotels with interior hallways and locked doors.

7. Chaperones: List the parents who will be accompanying students on this trip. Indicate the chaperone to student ratio.

These are just a few ideas that will guide an educator in preparing the foundation for an excellent educational experience that includes active learning: a class trip. Even during times of economic challenge educational travel should still be planned and executed, because it makes learning fun and is a desirable addition to any curriculum.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or Request a Quote for a student trip by filling out a brief online form today.

Make Plans for Spring Student Travel: Incorporate Living History or Civil Rights into the Tour

As student travel groups begin to look forward to spring tours, it is a good idea to consider a few matters in preparation.

Washington D.C. Post 911 Security Procedures in Government Buildings
Travel Light on Student Tour of Major Sites
Washington D.C. is a major student travel destination. Some of the government sites there have been impacted by post 911 security regulations.  Student travel groups, teachers and chaperones can review some of the procedures at the major buildings by reading the article just compiled.  Pay attention to the details on ways that students can prepare to visit these buildings. The tips  are time saving, and help keep student travel groups on schedule.

Nobody likes to be stripped of their belongings when they get on an airplane or are about to enter a building or a concert. The best way to know about what students can or cannot  bring to certain sites  is to read up beforehand. For the article, I interviewed Ann Greenwald, a licensed D.C. tour guide who has been working with student travel groups for a number of years and has some excellent inside tips for tour groups headed to the Washington D.C. area.

Put Living History on the Itinerary
With ipods, cell phones, and portable dvd players plentiful among students, we understand that it’s hard to captivate students (even on a tour of an exciting new city). The answer to keeping a student group’s full attention while on tour is incorporating some living history into the itinerary.

When it comes to integrating living history programs into student travel, nobody does it like ETC. We work hard to customize tours to suit a student group’s needs. Living history programs are available throughout the United States at various historic sites. Many cities on the Eastern Seaboard are incredibly rich with living history choices for student travel tours.  Learn about living history destinations in Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Boston Massachusetts, Williamsburg, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia by reading the living history article on this blog.

Civil Rights Tour of Atlanta and other Destinations
As the country once again prepares for a presidential election, we find civil rights at the forefront of political discussions these days.  Student tour groups interested in a more diverse view of history may elect to take the Black Heritage Tour of Atlanta, where Martin Luther King’s career as a pastor, educator, and civil rights leader took off, and he was shaped into the political leader we remember him as today. Learn about black history by visiting Martin Luther King’s former residence in Atlanta, seeing the museum and library and visiting the church where he once preached. What better way to inspire student travel groups to consider multiple perspectives of history then to visit these actual historic places?

For the student travel coordinator who would like to visit some, though not all of the black heritage destinations, it is possible for ETC to create a custom tour with some of the highlights of the Black history tour of Atlanta.

Student travel coordinators may also elect to take part or all of the Black Heritage Tour of Washington D.C. and Baltimore or Alabama.

Historic places of the Civil Rights Movement: the Atlanta University District

    The four institutions that were most prominent in the civil rights movement include Morehouse College, which was also known at the time as the “black Harvard”, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and West Hunter Street Baptist Church. This area is part of the National Park Service’s “We Shall Overcome” tour, historic places of the civil rights movement. Students visiting these sites gain a greater understanding of the people involved in the movement.  They also learn that the movement was organized in a campus setting by college students. Martin Luther King, Jr. graduated from Morehouse College and Morehouse students Lonnie King and Julian Bond organized marches, boycotts and sit-ins throughout the city. Spelman student Ruby Doris Smith helped lead freedom rides, sit-ins, jail-ins and vote registration drives. Civil Rights leaders W.E.B. Du Bois and Whitney Young, Jr. taught and chaired departments at Atlanta University. The Reverend Ralph Abernathy pastored West Hunter Street Baptist church when he was the head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
There are options for student travel groups visiting Atlanta.  A student tour may primarily focus on Black History, with other types of historic sites included.  Or, a historic tour with a larger focus may include some points of interest for Black History.  Either option provides educational tours a diverse viewpoint of American history. Following is a breakdown of some of the highlights of the National Park Service “We Shall Overcome” tour.

Morehouse College:
In 1867, just two years after the Civil War ended, Augusta Institute was established in the basement of the Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga. Founded in 1787, Springfield Baptist church is still the oldest independent African American church in the United States. The schools primary purpose was to prepare black men for the ministry and teaching. In 1913 Augusta Institute became Morehouse College, which is located on a 66-acre campus in Atlanta and enjoys an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history. On the campus is the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, the world’s most prominent religious memorial to alumnus Martin Luther King, Jr. The chapel seeks to develop and promote clergy, laity and youth awakening through reconciliation, non-violence, science, spirituality and the building of global “communities of hope”. A tour of the country’s leading historically black college can easily be added to a student travel tour.
Spelman College:
Founded as Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1811 in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church, the institution became Spelman Seminary in 1884 and then Spelman College in 1924. The college sits on 32 acres just 3 miles from downtown Atlanta and consists of 25 buildings. It is a private, independent liberal arts college for women today, considered among the top historically black colleges in the nation. An educational tour of this campus requires prior registration and is suggested since approved dates fill up early.
Clark Atlanta University:
Atlanta University was founded in 1865 by the American Missionary Association and was supplying black teachers and librarians to the public schools of the south by 1879. In 1930 it began an affiliation with Morehouse and Spelman colleges in a university plan known as the Atlanta University System. The campus was moved to its present site and Clark College, Morris Brown College and the Interdenominational Theological Center joined the affiliation later. Clark College was founded in 1869 as Clark University by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist church.
West Hunter Street Baptist Church:
Founded as the Friendship Baptist church in 1881, West Hunter Street Baptist Church was moved to its current location in 1906 on West Hunter Street. In 1961 Ralph D. Abernathy became the pastor. Mr. Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr. founded the Southern Baptist Leadership Conference and worked together to lead successful bus boycotts and change through advocating non-violence. Upon Dr. King’s death, Abernathy succeeded him as president of the SBLC and continued their work.
The University Tour District of Atlanta provides the most “walking in the footsteps” experience available to student travel groups looking to be immersed in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Students interested in pursuing careers as teachers, ministers, librarians, or lawyers may find this tour especially inspiring. For more information on creating an African American history tour, which can be customized to incorporate additional civil rights sites in the Atlanta, Georgia area, email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

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