Fieldtrips near and far – May 18, 2018

While daily routines are certainly important at TDS, we also believe that some of the best learning opportunities take place outside the walls of the classroom. Along these lines, each grade has taken multiple field trips this year, within Durham and beyond. In the upper grades, these trips include an overnight component.

Our fourth graders were slated to travel to Beaufort today, visiting the NC Maritime Museum and Fort Macon before taking the ferry to Shackleford Island. The driving rain forced Ms. Tedeschi to postpone this trip until next week. Instead, fourth graders are ruling the roost at TDS.

In the fall, each fifth grader researched, designed, and presented a three-day, two-night trip to a city within a six-hour radius of Durham, complete with a full itinerary and budget. This constituted the first component of the Great Fifth Grade Adventure (GFGA). After much presenting, politicking, and deliberation, the class eventually settled on Hershey, PA, following an itinerary that reflected the detailed work and creativity of Oliver Guan and Jake Pettibone. Mr. Forringer, Ms. Tignor, and their charges left early yesterday morning, reenacting the Battle of Gettysburg and touring Indian Echo Caverns on the way. Today’s highlights include Chocolate World and ZooAmerica.

If you missed me at carpool, that’s because I’m writing this from our nation’s capital. I have joined Ms. McAllister, Sr. Dowd, Ms. Carnes, and Ms. Khan on our Middle School trip to Washington, D.C. Yesterday, we were afforded a firsthand look at the highest levels of two of our three branches of government. First, we visited the Senate chamber and were witness to several speeches. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) argued in favor of net neutrality only hours before the Senate voted in favor of a resolution that would keep the FCC’s rules in place, and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) spoke passionately in support of Gina Haspel’s leadership of the CIA, again, only one day in advance of the full Senate vote on her confirmation. How special it was to see our federal government in action! Immediately following this, we headed across the street to learn about the history, significance, and personalities of the Supreme Court while sitting in the hallowed courtroom. Having visited various museums today, we’re all looking forward to our nighttime tour of the monuments and memorials this evening.

It was fun to see many of our students share my excitement about the inner workings of our government. Still, they would no doubt point to simply being together as the true highlight of the trip. They carry these memories throughout their time at TDS, and beyond. I’m sure my colleagues concur that there’s still more to be taught this year – another book to read, Spanish verb tense to learn, science lab to complete – but we also agree that these trips, and these experiences, are well worth the time.


Douglas E. Norry
Head of School