Brookstone students have the opportunity to spend time learning and gaining insight beyond the classroom abroad and in different areas of the US. These opportunities help fulfill one of the goals in the school’s recently adopted Strategic Plan - Prepare students to be engaged citizens in their community, country, and world. Recognizing that Brookstone graduates need to be equipped with the skills necessary to navigate in a changing world the faculty has researched and devised meaningful educational travel opportunities for middle and upper school students. The trips offer academic enrichment, ecotourism, and service accented by a cultural experience that heighten the student’s awareness of the world and prepare them to communicate and collaborate effectively with people from other cultures and walks of life.
Travel is a natural extension of the educational process, and many Brookstone teachers have chosen to sponsor educational trips designed to enhance the classroom experience. Many of our trips are tied to our curriculum, thus they find their origins in a particular department. For instance, our Marine Biology course includes an opportunity to swim with manatee and to learn about spring fed ecosystems on the trip to Crystal River, Florida. Additionally, French students in the upper school have the opportunity to travel to Montreal and Quebec for a culture and language experience, and band students will perform in the “Festival at Sea” music festival in Nassau, Bahamas.
Outside of the direct classroom, trips have also formed to complement aspects of our co-curricular activities such as our service trips to the Florida Keys, Belize, and our sister school Ricks Institute in Liberia, West Africa. In 2009, Brookstone sponsored the first student group to visit that country following its fourteen year civil war. The relationship with Ricks is one that is valued school-wide. Providing an opportunity for students to learn from and share with their counterparts in another part of the world strengthens global awareness for 21st century learning. These service trips also underscore Brookstone’s commitment to servant leadership.
In addition, are the opportunities available for middle school students. Seventh grade students may journey to the nation’s capital, students in the eighth grade can visit Paris, and on another trip eighth grade students may travel to Italy and Switzerland. Over the years dozens of Brookstone students have participated in the Independent School Cultural Alliance program to England. This three week exposure to English culture, history, and sports has proven to be a wonderful experience for students in grades six through eight.
Expanding the world view for Brookstone students is an integral part of the educational process, and it ties directly to the school’s commitment to academic excellence as stated in our mission. The dedicated faculty members who organize and lead these trips understand and appreciate the lessons learned through travel. They want to provide opportunities to expose students to some of the world’s most historic sites, unfamiliar geographic conditions, and different cultures in hopes of developing a foundation for lifelong learning and self-discovery. Often, personal responsibility and respect for others also emerge when students are out of their regular environments.