School sponsored student trips are designed to stimulate student learning in areas of interest and to provide growth and development as an extension of classroom instruction and learning. These trips shall be linked to the district’s mission and curriculum objectives.
There are two primary types of school sponsored international student experiences. Foreign travel programs allow Niskayuna students to travel abroad under the supervision of Niskayuna chaperones but do not involve attendance at a foreign school. Foreign exchange programs provide Niskayuna students with the opportunity to live with families and/or attend schools in other countries. The students from the host school or country are offered comparable opportunities in Niskayuna. Cultural practices, educational aspects, and other knowledge gained from the trip will be discussed in the classroom thereafter to enhance and further the students’ educational experience and knowledge. Non-participating students will be tasked with an appropriate assignment that will mirror and incorporate the information and knowledge participating students would gain on the trip.
International Travel Proposals and Purpose
International travel of significant educational value and exchange programs will be permitted when approved by the high school principal, the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, and the Board of Education. The intended learning outcome for district-sponsored international travel programs and the expected code of conduct for all foreign travel and exchange students shall be carefully defined and reviewed in advance of the trip itself. The potential trip advisor shall submit a written study trip proposal to his/her principal/director for review before submittal to the Assistant Superintendent for approval. These program requests shall be submitted in accordance with guidelines developed by the Superintendent. Such requests shall include justification for the trip, provision for adequate insurance and parental assurance that they will provide prompt transportation home in the event that their child does not follow the instructions of the chaperones or requires an early return for other reasons. Board approval is required prior to any presentations to students or parents.
Code of Conduct
All participants will be expected to comply with the District’s Code of Conduct and other rules determined by the trip advisor for the duration of the trip with special emphasis on the following:
- Possession of, or use of, any illegal drug or drugs
- Staying out beyond such time as may be established by the chaperone(s)
- Possession of or drinking of alcoholic beverages
- Repeated violations of any other rule
Scheduling of International Travel
International travel should be conducted during school vacation periods or immediately following the school year. However, for school-sponsored foreign travel of exceptional educational value, up to five school days may be used as part of such trips. Exchange visits should also be conducted during school vacation periods. However, students in a foreign exchange program may be granted extended leaves that are comparable to those enjoyed by the visiting exchange students. In either case, there must be no conflict between missed school days and Regents examinations. The cost of such trips is the responsibility of the participating students.
Participants in either the district’s international travel programs or foreign exchange programs shall be limited to Niskayuna students and official chaperones and- with Board approval- students from other school districts. At least one chaperone shall be provided by each participating school district.
In order to participate in any district-approved international travel or foreign exchange program of more than two nights duration, students must either have completed the ninth grade or upon application, be granted special dispensation by the high school principal.
One official chaperone per seven students is required. Such chaperones must be either (1) current employees of the district or (2) persons expressly approved by the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.
Chaperones will be expected to:
- Enforce the District’s Code of Conduct
- Be available to help students at all times
- Provide a well-organized sequence of cultural experience
- Meet with parents, students and administrators to present information about trips as well as prepare students for travel by organizing a series of meetings dealing with language and culture
- Inform parents of violations of rules
- Enforce all rules and made all decisions involving the actions of students in their charge.
- Consider, for all students involved in a serious violation or repeated violations, the return of the students to home at parent expense
Participants in all district-sponsored international travel and exchange programs must participate in the travel agent’s insurance program. The fee and coverage shall be described in the program materials. Students may acquire additional personal coverage from other sources but such coverage is not a substitute for the required district insurance.
In approving these trips, the school district does not guarantee the trip will take place and will not incur financial responsibility for cancelled trips or unplanned expenses. Student and parents will be notified of the district’s role and such notification shall be included in information materials distributed by any school district employee relating t such trips.
If unexpected questions of travel safety arise prior to or during a scheduled trip, the superintendent or designee will gather additional information to aid in determining if the trip should be cancelled or adjusted. Sources of this information may include, but are not limited to: information from the trip advisor, information from the student registered for the trip or their parents/guardians, information from the travel agency arranging the trip, information from foreign hosts of the group, a Consular Information Sheet available from the US Department of State http://travel.state.gov/, or the US Embassy.
The district shall not sponsor foreign travel other than during or immediately following the school year. All other travel that is outside of the scope of the district instructional program, and/or not approved by the Board of Education, or otherwise goes beyond the parameters of this policy, is not school sponsored and beyond district liability.
Adopted April 4, 2023