"I am grateful to work in a place where this is an opportunity for every child who goes to school. It is a very unique way to provide experiences for children in a consistent and interesting way. Because of the nature of the structure, children can remember together, anticipate together, and hopefully include families in their excitement about the trips."
ICSD Elementary School Teacher
"Each Discovery Trail site is rich in experience and learning opportunities, and it would be a mistake to not share these gems with our schoolchildren."
Parent of ICSD Elementary School Student
Kids Discover the Trail! Ithaca (KDT!) began as a once-a-year field trip by Ithaca elementary classes to Discovery Trail (DT) sites and has grown in its first ten school years into a comprehensive learning experience for teachers, students, and DT educators alike, with a social interaction component for students paired with buddies from another ICSD school. Since 100% of ICSD elementary classrooms are involved, thatâ€™s 2900 students participating in a total of 150 field trips plus additional activities pre- and post-trip including with the keepsake book that complements the academic content.
Every year a professional evaluation is undertaken with results used to continually improve the expansive program.Â Last year over 90% of teachers agreed that KDT! enhances the school experience through curriculum-based learning and that students learn new things. They also agree that it promotes mutual understanding and respect among elementary students from different neighborhoods.
During the 2014-15 school year, the 10th anniversary will be recognized in a variety of ways by the three collaborating organizations, IPEI, DT and the ICSD.
Kids Discover the Trail! website
Hereâ€™s How Kids Discover the Trail!
Elementary grades are linked with Discovery Trail organizations. Individual classrooms from different schools visit in pairs and share the day at the site. Most also have shared activities before and after the visits. Curriculum is aligned with current state standards.
Books are provided to all students at all grade levels each year to encourage literacy and complement the KDT! curriculum. Books also help connect families with KDT! program goals since they are given to students to take home.
Take-home materials including free admission passes encourage families to visit. This program seeks to increase use of all Discovery Trail sites by expanding public awareness of their resources.
Each year pairs of classrooms from different Ithaca schools are linked, and most visit their Discovery Trail sites together. Fifth graders have two opportunities to share academic experiences with their peers as they prepare for the transition to middle school.
Classroom pairs are encouraged to make additional plans together to give students more chances to develop relationships with their â€œbuddiesâ€. Some visit a Discovery Trail site, or each otherâ€™s school or school neighborhood, or another cultural or recreational location.
Community support makes Kids Discover the Trail! possible. Your charitable gift of any amount is welcomed and needed. Join the many generous donors who help our kids discover the trail!
Individual, Corporate and Foundation Donors
$500 and up
BorgWarner Morse TEC
Jim and Terry Byrnes
Jennifer Engel and Larry Young
Howland Foundation of the Community Foundation
Up to $500
Bill and Sherry Alberta
Bob and Laura Andolina
Randi Beckmann and John Hoffmann
Susan Blumenthal and David Kreinick
Ithaca Teachers Association
Chantal Loechi and David Flannelly
Ed and Anne McLaughlin
Everett and June Morse
In honor of MOTE Volunteers-
Walter Gates, Coleen Keifer, Sasha Paris, Don Wilson,
Lenore Durkee and Larry Jensen
Don and Sue Rakow
Margaret and Frank Robinson
Joel and Cathy Zumoff
Ann Marie Bleach
First Book Foundation
Friends of Tompkins County Public Library
Ian Alberta Fund, IPEI
Johnson Art Museum
Raymond and Margaret Van Houtte Education Fund
In honor of leadership of Terry Byrnes, Jennifer Engel, Frank Robinson and Don Rakow
Special Thanks to Past Program Sponsors (2005-2010):
Tompkins Trust Company
BorgWarner Morse TEC