An E-newsletter on EXCELLENCE in Leadership

An effective principal recognizes that a school’s program is enhanced by providing opportunities for students to participate in field trips, study tours, organization performance tours, promotional tours, and mission service trips.

Evaluation of Activities

The principal should measure the effectiveness of all co-curricular activities. The following are questions that may be asked in evaluating programs:

• Is the activity based upon a clearly stated purpose consistent with the school’s mission and goals?

• Is the activity being implemented according to school policies?

• What is the extent of student participation?

• Is the co-curricular program well-balanced and comprehensive?

• Are students’ interests and needs being met by the program?

• Are the activities well organized and efficiently run?

• Are there suitable facilities to safely conduct the activities provided?

• Is there a qualified sponsor(s) for the activity who is willing to assume leadership?

• Are activities adequately supervised?

• Are costs to participating students reasonable, or do they exclude some students from participating?

November 2019 | Volume 8, No. 4

The Finances of
Trips and Tours

Richard Brooks | Business Administrator, Loma Linda Academy




So, you are going on a school trip? How nice. Have a great trip, stay safe, bring all the same students back to their parents, and don’t run out of money. These steps are the same no matter what school you attend, where you go, or how long you are gone. Whether you are taking fifteen 1st graders on a one-day field trip to a local farm or eighty high school band students to Germany, the concerns are the same, but the number and complexity of the details differ.

For the first grade field trip, you want to know the entry fee at the farm, the cost for transportation and food, and how much you need to charge each student to go on the trip. It need not be complicated. For the band trip to Germany, you do those same steps, with a few other items added due to the distance and length of the trip.

For a longer and more involved trip, you would want to consider the following:

  1. Will there be a preview trip ahead of the tour so that you can determine places to eat, sleep, perform, and have fun? This is strongly recommended.
  2. Are you using a tour company to plan and execute this trip?
  3. What are the tour costs per person, and what does the tour cost include or not include? For example, does the tour company cover everything from the moment you depart the school until your students return to the school?
  4. Whether you use a tour company or not, you need to know if all meals are covered in your tour or if some meals will need to be covered privately by students.
  5. If flying is involved, make sure you include transportation costs to and from the airport. Will there be extra fees for the instruments and other items you will need to take beyond luggage?
  6. Make sure you have mapped out the number of hotel rooms needed with the appropriate room assignments for adults and students, by gender.
  7. If flying to another city, how will you get around in that city? Will you need buses, trucks, or vans to go to the hotel, restaurants, entertainment venues, performances, or to pick up water bottles to keep everyone hydrated?
  8. Will you need to provide cash tips to hotel maids, bus drivers, and tour representatives?
  9. If you are taking instruments, I recommend that you purchase additional coverage for those instruments that are not owned by the school. If an instrument is damaged on the trip, you do not want the experience spoiled by an argument about who was at fault—the student or the school. The insurance is not expensive, and you avoid the potential problem.
  10. How much emergency cash will you need to take? Will you need to exchange US dollars for the local currency before you leave? This might save some headaches once you arrive.
  11. Be sure to include the cost for any required travel and health insurance.
  12. Review carefully all anticipated expenses to be sure you have thought of everything. Your emergency cash will need to cover everything you did not think of before you left.
  13. The attached sample budget will give you an example of what this could look like.

When you subtract your expenses from what you charge students and parents to go on this trip, you get the Operating Margin. From this number, subtract an amount per passenger for emergency expenses. What is left is your surplus. Make sure this is a positive number.  If it is negative, rework your trip charges and expenses. Then go and have a great trip, knowing you have planned a wonderful memory for your students!

Sample Band Tour Budget


To Use a Tour Company or Not, That Is the Question

Chris Dudley | Teacher,
Redlands Adventist Academy

Are field trips, such as Washington D.C. or Europe, worth all the time and effort required to make them successful? Should a teacher organize the trip themselves or use one of the many tour companies which plan the trip for you? Any teacher who has designed such a trip has asked themselves these questions. The truth is that a multi-day and night trip could create quite a few headaches for teachers, whether it is a la cart or put together by a tour company.

Teachers know that a well-planned field trip can provide students with educational experiences they cannot get in a classroom. Students can learn through the experience of travel instead of just passively listening to the information taught in class, and new experiences broaden their horizons.

I am a classroom teacher and chaperoned my first group tour to Washington, D.C., in the late 1980s. I had no responsibilities except to help chaperone. Another teacher, experienced with travel, planned and arranged the week in D.C. The next two years, I became the teacher in charge, and I used a tour company. The company had pre-set itineraries that I was allowed to adjust. From 1992-2008, I led trips to Washington D.C. and Europe using both methods. I, along with parents and other teachers, planned the D.C. trips, and I used a tour company for the Europe trips.

A tour company has many advantages. First, they handle all the details from transportation and hotels to itineraries. A company handles the finances and often provides health and cancellation insurance for the group. They will provide meals, guides who speak the language, and instruct the group in cultural situations. A company can get you into full sites and help the group avoid lengthy lines at "must-see" destinations. There are, of course, a few disadvantages to using a company. A pre-planned itinerary often rushes you from one site to another and leaves very little time for spontaneous activities. A packaged tour can be expensive, and the cost can limit the length of your trip. Tour companies need a specified number of travelers and your group might be combined with another group to meet the numbers required.

Planning your trip, a la carte also has benefits. The opportunity to plan an itinerary tailored to your lessons and see things at your own pace gives you added flexibility. Field trips can be expensive and arranging your own trip can cut down on costs. Using a gym or local church for sleeping and preparing meals will help the budget. Keep in mind that every detail is your responsibility. You must collect money, find chaperones, create student groups and deal with the red tape of permission slips, and medical/travel insurance.

Assess your group’s wants and needs before you plan your trip and use the method that will best suit your requirements. Someone who has planned and taken the trip you are planning is the best mentor.


No Surprises!
The Importance of a Tour Preview Trip

Brenda Mohr | Director of Choirs, Loma Linda Academy

Craig Mohr | Director of BANDS, Loma Linda Academy





         F or most SDA school music ensembles, overnight performance tours are the highlight of the school year, often creating experiences and memories that last a lifetime. Considering the time, energy and expense that go into a tour—as well as the multitude of details that can make or break a trip—we believe a director preview trip is essential for a successful and meaningful experience. And while this is written from the perspective of a music tour, the principles apply to any tour your school might take.

Whether a teacher plans the trip or uses the services of a tour company, it is important to personally visit the performance venues, eating establishments, accommodations, educational and entertainment activities, etc. It is always a good idea to put a face with the name and number you have dealt with while planning the trip.

Here are some ways we have used a preview trip to ensure a smooth and successful tour.

  1. Transportation:  Check for bus access at all your destinations; ingress, egress, parking fees, drop-off, and pick-up points. Will you need a place to park an equipment trailer and can it be safely left unattended? Will parking be difficult or impossible on the weekend of your visit? If you are on the road for an extended time, plan where you will make your stops for food, restroom, and leg-stretching. If you are flying, make sure the gate agents will be expecting you and can anticipate your needs.
  2. Performing Venues:  Visit the performing space and talk to the manager, principal or pastor in charge. If you are performing at a school, by all means, meet and talk to the music teachers! Verify the size of the stage, ask about dressing rooms, warmup rooms, instrument storage, and access for setup and takedown. Will your students be expected to set up chairs or risers?
  3. Accommodations:  Hotels and resorts will often provide free or discounted accommodations for you to check out their property. Only a personal visit can verify the appropriateness of a property for your group. Tour the building with the hotel manager and look at several of the rooms. Are they clean? Is it secure? Is the breakfast area big enough to handle your group? Are they willing to put boys and girls on separate floors? Are all the rooms non-smoking? What is the neighborhood like?
  4. Meals:  If your group will be eating together at a restaurant, meet with the manager and discuss the menu. Make sure they can accommodate your vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or other dietary needs. Also, be clear ahead of time about the cost, whether it will be a set price, or if the bill might include any extras. If you plan on having your group eat on their own, for instance at a food court or a fast food area, make sure the area is safe and there are plenty of options. It can’t hurt to let management know you are coming if you have a large group. It is a good idea to hand out $10-$15 cash to every student before meals like this.
  5. Activities and Entertainment:  Can the location accommodate your group on the day or night you are planning on? Is the activity age-appropriate? How long will you need to be there? Are the area and clientele safe?

Summer months are ideal for you and your family to incorporate a vacation into a travel-planning trip. Of course, the cost of the director should be subsidized by the school, either directly or included in the price of each student’s total tour price. Inspecting the hotels, performing sites, dining options and activities help to reduce potential problems that could lessen the experience for you and your students. Do not leave anything to chance! Remember, no surprises!

  bmohr@lla.org  |  cmohr@lla.org


November Issue coordinator

Doug Herrmann

Headmaster, Loma Linda Academy

Newsletter Editor

Berit von Pohle, Editor

Pacific Union Conference, Director of Education

Ed Boyatt, Editorial Advisor