|School Administrators Looking for Alternative to Camp Kern|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 11 September 2013 00:00|
After hearing from parents and students about end of the annual fifth grade trip to Camp Kern, Tipp City schools administrators were challenged by the board of education to revisit the decision while also looking for a possible alternative activity for fifth graders.
The board heard from half dozen students and several parents about the decision affecting L.T. Ball students during its Aug. 26 meeting.
The students said they were disappointed by the decision. They said they had waited for their turn to go to Camp Kern after hearing about the learning and bonding experiences there of siblings and other students.
Sarah Patterson, L.T. Ball principal, outlined for the board the decision and a letter sent to parents.
She said the decision was made to drop the two-day Camp Kern trip because its offerings do not align with fifth grade education standards. Because of increasing demands for focus on the sciences, the staff cannot afford to lose two days of educational time, Patterson said.
Instead of the Camp Kern trip, L.T. Ball staff is planning a visit to the school by an astronomy program through the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), she said
“We certainly value the experiences that everyone has had along the way, but find ourselves in a different time now,” Patterson said of Camp Kern.
One parent said he spoke with someone at the camp and was told the camp curriculum could be adjusted to meet changing curriculum needs.
A L.T. Ball teacher said there had been difficulties in recent years with finding parent escorts for the trip and someone else noted concerns last year about claims of bed bugs at camp.
Patterson said more students last year chose not to participate in the camp for various reasons including those concerns as well as individual health issues or readiness to be away from home overnight. Out of 200 students, 12 did not make the trip, she said.
Superintendent John Kronour said he would talk with Patterson and L.T. Ball staff again to see if realignment of Camp Kern helps the program fit the fifth grade goals or if perhaps a fourth grade program would work better, realizing that option would not help this year’s fifth graders.
Frank Maus, school board president, said administrators would be asked to reevaluate the Camp Kern option. They also would be challenged to find a possible alternate project/program that would be character-building, fun and help fifth graders grow closer and develop socially, he said.
Since the board’s Aug. 26 meeting Kronour has talked with Tipp Monroe Community Services, according to his weekly update to school board members. Community Services “is looking very carefully into what it would take to provide this opportunity,” Kronour wrote in reference to Camp Kern.
He also told the board he had talked with Patterson about asking parents for thoughts on what activities might be pursued if administrators stick with the decision not to go to Camp Kern.