Embarking on a journey of knowledge and discovery, school field trips have long been a cherished tradition that enriches students’ educational experience. However, behind the excitement and educational value lies a formidable challenge that many educators and schools grapple with – funding

Every year, we speak to educators who want their students to experience Orbit Earth Expo or the Big Canyon Balloon, but they lack the funding. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite funding ideas:

Idea #1: Charge a small fee per student. Ask your PTA to cover students in need.

For a school of 500 students, our programs cost roughly $3 per student. Send home a permission slip and ask parents to pay the $3 fee. Be sure to also give parents the option to pay for one (or more) students who cannot afford to pay, as many families will gladly help. Consider asking your PTA/PTO group to share a portion of the cost. Many PTA groups will cover the entire cost as the program is aligned to curriculum and everyone in the school gets to participate. Smaller schools can combine this idea with one or more of the ideas listed below.

Idea #2: Use Title I or other curriculum funds, if available.

Since our programs are aligned to Science content standards for each grade level, they are a fantastic use of curriculum funds (including Title I). Need a “hook” for one of your Title I parent information nights? We offer a Science Night add-on to both of our programs that keeps our models and teachers at your school for two hours of evening programming. Students love to bring their parents to campus to see our giant models and tell them all that they’ve learned from our program. Additionally, we have a children’s book, Maribel McTuft’s Grand Adventure, that works as a One School, One Book title and pairs well with the Big Canyon Balloon program. Schools can purchase a single copy or school set (one per grade level) and even offer copies to families to purchase. 

Idea #3: Seek out sponsorships from local businesses

Whether large or small, many local businesses are looking for ways to support the important work of schools. Consider approaching one or more local businesses to sponsor part or our visit. We even have a sponsorship letter that schools can share with local businesses that outlines the standards alignment. We are also happy to “shout out” business sponsors on social media posts and press release materials about school visits.

Idea #4: Share the Love: Host a Review Roundup

This might be our favorite suggestion for making a visit more affordable for small schools – share the love! Reach out to other small schools in your area and offer to share the visit. Choose the school with the most students participating to host and have the other schools travel by bus to the host school. With this option, the cost of a visit can be split between the schools, either equally or based on the number of students or sessions in which each school participates. Here’s an example schedule for three schools with two sessions each:

As former classroom teachers, we here at SparkPoint understand the complexities and challenges of school funding. We’re happy to partner with you and brainstorm ideas for funding and share what has worked for other schools. Contact us today!