Send Kids to FL Summer Science Trip


My name is Robin Shaulis (that's me in the gray jacket above), and I am in my 3rd year of teaching science at Fred D. Thompson Middle School in Richmond, Virginia.  This summer I will be sponsoring a 5 day trip to Tampa, Florida through an organization known as WorldStrides.  Over 100 students were invited to attend this trip based on grades, behavior, and teacher recommendations.   Through this science-based discovery trip, students will be immersed in a variety of hands-on educational activities as they learn about Florida's diverse habitats and ecosystems.  They will be exposed to a number of once-in-a-lifetime oppurtunities throughout the course of this trip including the chance to swim with endangered manatees in the Crystal River, hand-feed stingrays at Tampa's Lowry Park, kayak through the mangroves at Fort DeSoto State Park, and snorkel to collect prehistoric sharks' teeth and live specimen from several of Florida's fresh and salt water ecosystems.

To learn more about the trip my students will be taking click to watch the WorldStrides promotional video below, of check out the sample itineraries provided on their website

School Demographics

Thompson Middle School is labeled as a Title I Priority School with a failing accreditation status, being ranked 4th from the bottom of 290 middle schools in the state of Virginia for academics.  Roughly 96-97% of the student body is of African American descent.  Nearly 100% of the 500+ students attending Thompson qualify for free or reduced lunch, and many students are bused in from out-of-zone locations in the surrounding housing projects.

Very few students in my school have access or the financial means to attend such an extensive educational trip.

My Goal

It is my goal to fully fund this trip for at least two deserving students who have not signed up due to major monetary constraints.  Selection of any recipient(s) will be based upon teacher nomination and votes among the science deparment at Thompson Middle.  The total trip cost is ~$1700 including airfare, hotel accommodations, onsite transportation, meals, activity fees, etc.  I pledge to personally contribute $200 of this expense to every child for which the remaining $1500 is raised (up to 5 students).  Any excess funds raised will be evenly distributed  into the accounts of the 8 students who have already registered for the trip, in order to alleviate some of the expenses.    

The Impact

I have witnessed first hand the impact that overnight trips and hands-on learning experiences can have on the development of a child.  I have seen the excitement and engagement of students in an outdoor learning environment, in ways that are not possible to achieve in the traditional classroom setting.  I have watched students who were previously apathetic towards science fall in love with the subject matter, and even consider science for possible career options.  I have had the joy and pleasure of watching extremely quiet and reserved children open up and blossom in a setting that encourages fun and safety, as students learn in a setting where education is not frowned upon by their peers.  And finally, I have felt the gratitude and appreciation of students who have realized the breadth of experiences they had received upon such trips.

I want to provide these once-in-a-lifetime gifts and opportunities that will undoubtedly be presented by the the Florida summer science trip to at least two more deserving students, and I hope and pray that you might help me to accomplish this goal!

(A picture from an overnight trip to Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, in which most students experienced their first boat ride, camping experience, smores, and kayak paddle.)

(Seining and collecting specimen at Gloucester Point with rising 9th grade students from local high-needs schools.)

Other Ways You Can Help
I understand that many people will not be able to provide a monetary contribution, but you can help me to spread the word about my project by sharing or liking my campaign page on FACEBOOK or TWITTER! 

Thanks to all for your generous love and support!
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Robin Shaulis 
Richmond, VA
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