Our AP US History and AP Biology students are brilliant, hardworking, creative and thoughtful. Like our school as a whole, 92% are students of color, and 70% are girls. Over half are from immigrant families, who bring insights and global perspectives with them into the classroom. They are motivated, resilient, and college-bound. Above all, they are unfailingly kind and supportive of one another as they tackle two of the most difficult courses our school has to offer.
These students deserve to experience the history and biology content they have studied all year in a new way.
They have spent two semesters in our classes analyzing primary sources and graphing statistical models. They have learned to evaluate historical interpretations and scientific journal articles, to write document-based essays as well as lab reports. They have conducted mock trials and tested hypotheses. They have spent late nights poring over textbooks and making thousands of flashcards in preparation for the AP Exams that determine whether their hard work will earn them college credit.
This project will help us get to Virginia for an epic field trip that will deepen students' knowledge of US history and wetland ecology before they take their AP Exams. We will bear witness to the origins of U.S. settler colonialism and chattel slavery at Jamestown, learn about Revolution-era medical care at Yorktown Battlefield, explore Colonial Williamsburg with a collaborative scavenger hunt, and get up close and personal with coastal wildlife on a kayaking ecotour of the James River.
While we know that experiential learning improves achievement on tests, our goals for this trip are bigger than a score; we want students to feel connected to history and ecology in a way that will endure long after the school year ends.
The landscape of coastal Virginia is the perfect place to tackle the big questions embedded in our disciplines: How did the U.S.A. come to be, and why does it matter how we tell that story? How have people impacted the land and water ecosystems that sustain us, and how do we protect them?
This once-in-a-lifetime learning experience depends on us being able to actually get to these places that can transform our students' understanding. Among the greatest costs of this trip is chartering a bus to bring us safely to and from Williamsburg and everywhere in between. We are not leaving any students behind who cannot afford to pay, and so we need your support to offset this portion of the trip and ensure that it is accessible and affordable for all.
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