Student travel expanding to Attleboro middle schools

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ATTLEBORO — International travel for Attleboro students is expanding from the high school to middle schools as educators attempt to make learning come alive.

Middle school teacher Doreen Barako took students on a trip to Athens and Rome during this past April vacation and she said plans for more travel are already in the works.

England and Scotland are among the countries middle school students could be visiting within the next two years.

She said the trips are closely aligned with the curriculum so the travel re-enforces what the students learn in school.

Athens and Rome, for instance, were major parts of the ancient history the students were learning, she said.

The school departments new strategic plan calls for more “experiential” learning involving hands-on projects and applying lessons to “the real world” through travel and field trips.

Most of the travel focus has been on the high school, but Barako said it applies to middle schools, too.

The trips are expensive, as much as $3,000, but parents whose children went on them said it was worth it.

“Deciding to allow Calleigh to go on this trip was extremely hard but ended up being the best,” Susan Silva said of her daughter. “Calleigh had a unique learning experience that she will never forget. Being able to add real life experience to what she has or is learning from books is unforgettable. It taught her there is much more in this world to learn. Having a different view of the world is something she can treasure. Calleigh has already expressed interest in traveling more.”

Stephanie Alho, mother of seventh-grader Maya, had a similar view.

“To read something in a textbook or hear it in a lecture is one thing, but to see it up-close and personal is another thing altogether. This hands-on type of learning is something our daughter will remember for the rest of her life,” she said.

She said parents and students should know in advance that the trips are packed with sightseeing and activities from early morning to night. They are not the types of trips for sitting around and relaxing, she said.

Barako said she believes the travel also teaches students responsibility as they are required to get themselves to designated places on time.

The trips will be announced as much as two years in advance and families can make monthly payments over the time span and do fundraising to help pay for them, she said.

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