Classical’s Upper Elementary Excursions

“The Most Beautiful World, of course, is the World Itself.” – Wallace Stevens

Over the course of a K-8 education at Classical, scholars experience a rigorous educational experience that prepares them for the world outside of our doors. An essential part of this preparation as the scholars enter the upper elementary grades are the culminating end of year trips to Washington, D.C., Boston, Montreal and Quebec, and Italy respectively. These trips, each of which scholars work for throughout the year, are wholly financed by Classical and allow them to see the seat of our country’s government, an important city in our country’s foundation, two of the most prominent cities in our Neighbor to the North, and many of the sites of the origin of the Latin language that they study from 3rd-8th Grade.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

From the beginning of the year, in grades 5-8, we explain the reasoning for this investment in the scholars’ experiences outside the school, and teachers also explain the terms by which the scholars will earn these trips. The reason that we have gone and continue to go is to show scholars that they are citizens of the world, whose place therein is defined the diligence with which they pursue excellence. By taking them to sites outside of their own experience and cities that we built through patience and perseverance, we teach them what the fruits of those consistent efforts can be.

To earn these trips, scholars must meet 3 requirements: 1) 80% or above homework average, 2) 1000 points by May 31st, and 3) no out-of-school suspensions from the announcement of the trip in September/October to the day of the trip in May or June. Each of these are goals that they can work for daily but must achieve cumulatively. If they want to achieve the trip, they must plan towards that end goal and act accordingly. Because of that delayed gratification, the scholars learn patience and consistency, two traits that are essential in the completion of any endeavor. They also learn the difference between wanting success and success itself. While all scholars who attend Classical want to achieve these rewards, only those who reflect that desire in their actions, actually succeed in earning their place on the trips.

“History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” – David McCullough

When we chose these locations for our trips, we thought particularly of the importance of beginnings as our scholars begin their lives as young adults. Starting in Washington, D.C., they see a city founded early in our nation’s history to show that the unity of diverse interests was possible and a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” which values the place of each of its citizens, is a noble ambition that each generation has a role in achieving. As they grow another year, they go back further still to Boston, where the Revolution that began our nation started, and, in post, the Abolition Movement grew. They learn of how those who thought deeply and acted upon the strength of their convictions began a legacy of which we are all heirs. The following year, when they go to Montreal and Quebec, they see two of the oldest cities of European settlement on the continent and learn how some of these settlers brought their homes with them to create something new.

And, in Rome, Venice, Florence, and Pompeii, the scholars go back to the earliest roots of Western civilization to see that there, they find a history rich with stories of those who tried and won and made the world that led to our own. This shows them that they too will play their own part in the rich history of the world. We travel at Classical not just to learn about the past and know how it impacts our present but to message to scholars, before they leave us, that they are the writers of our future and the legacy that they leave is theirs to choose.



This post was contributed by Mr. Urda, Middle School Grade Team Leader and ELA Teacher. As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.


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