National Heritage Academies Institute Enhanced Field Trip Safety Measures

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An innovative field trip safety measure is being piloted by National Heritage Academies at four of its charter schools.

The four National Heritage Academies that are participating in the pilot program are Emerson Academy in Dayton, Ohio; Greensboro Academy in Greensboro, North Carolina; Knapp Charter Academy in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Walton Charter Academy in Pontiac, Michigan.

The NHA schools are testing a product called Field Trip Safeguard, a solution that allows school leaders to safely reconnect with students in the event that someone gets separated from a field trip group.

Under traditional field trip safety measures, students wear a name tag that contains their name, the school’s name, and the phone number for their trip leader. In today’s world, where an ever-growing awareness of child predators has made parents and administrators more protective of students’ privacy, this method is outdated.

The Field Trip Safeguard program provides students with a durable, reusable wristband that lists a toll-free number.  School leaders can manage this toll-free number so that any calls made to it are routed to a designated and user-prioritized list of school leaders.  Most importantly, if the trip leader does not answer, the service will automatically call up to three additional numbers, ensuring that an immediate connection is made.

This solution protects students’ identities from predators and simplifies the process of developing field trip safety materials for school leaders.

National Heritage Academies, which operates 74 charter schools in 9 states, already takes field trip safety seriously.  “Each of our schools has a centralized field trip request process where each school designates a person to coordinate trip leaders, chaperones, permission forms, and all other details,” said Dave Turcotte, principal, Knapp Charter Academy. “The Field Trip Safeguard fits nicely into our process and is an additional safety measure we can implement for our events.”

The pilot program was made possible by a donation of the service by SchoolReach, which is the exclusive national sales agent for Field Trip Safeguard.

“It is important for each student to carry some form of information that will help them reconnect with a field trip leader, chaperone or other school official in the event they are lost or separated,” said Paul Langhorst, Director of Marketing for SchoolReach.  “Name tags easily fall off or can be obscured by clothing. The Field Trip Safeguard is a durable Tyvek® wristband that will not fall off, is easily seen, and provides a common contact number for all field trips.”

According to Mr. Langhorst, the pilot program may be expanded to other National Heritage Academies if teachers and school administrators at the pilot schools approve of the program.

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