Reynoldsburg High School students will have the opportunity to take educational trips to New York starting in the fall and to travel abroad next summer.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education already has approved trips to France and New York and is scheduled to consider approving trips to China, Costa Rica and Italy and Greece.

Individual schools and teachers used to offer short study-abroad opportunities, but stopped two years ago because they were not offered every year and not enough students were signing up, said Scott Bennett, principal of Reynoldsburg's eSTEM Academy.

This time, there will be a districtwide effort to inform all students about the opportunity to travel, he said.

"We want everyone to have the access and opportunity to participate in something like this," Bennett said.

The district wanted to offer the trips again so students can experience the countries they are learning about in class, said Megan Frate, a teacher at Baldwin Road Junior High and Hannah Ashton Middle School.

"A great language classroom will inspire and guide, whether it's to travel, to figure out how to become fluent, to connect to other disciplines and passions," Frate said.

School officials picked countries for the trips based on the language classes offered at Reynoldsburg: Spanish, French and Chinese. The trips to Italy and Greece and New York already were planned, Frate said. Chaperones, school administrators and a tour guide will join the students on the trips.

The trips will range from three to nine days and will allow students to learn about the countries and visit key historic and iconic sites.

Right now, they are tentatively scheduled for:

* New York: Oct. 25-28, $800 per student

* Costa Rica: March 15-24 (2019), $2,600 per student

* France: May 31-June 8 (2019), $3,750 per student

* Italy and Greece: June (2019), $4,245 per student

* China: mid-June 2019, about $2,000 per student.

The trip to China would be more expensive if not for outside funding from sponsors, said Steven Ridgway, a teacher at Reynoldsburg's eSTEM Academy who is in charge of the proposed China trip.

Hanban University would cover all in-country expenses, including meals, transportation and accommodations so students would have to pay only for airfare, according to the district.

Hanban University is a part of the Confucius Institute, which aims to provide Chinese language and cultural resources worldwide. The group tries to help foreign students travel throughout China and sponsors trips such as the one planned by Reynoldsburg schools.

Students also will visit Reynoldsburg's sister school in Chongqing in southwest China. Fifteen students already are interested in going to China, Ridgway said.

Students and parents have full responsibility for paying the costs, but the tour company will offer $100 to $200 discounts to students during early sign-up sessions, Frate said.

"I have students that want to attend but can't due to the cost of the trip," she said.

Brooke Bailey, an incoming freshman at Reynoldsburg's Health Sciences and Human Services STEM Academy, plans to babysit to raise funds to travel to Costa Rica.

"My goal is to be fluent in Spanish, and my teacher said traveling to Spanish-speaking countries helps achieve that," the 14-year-old said.

Parents can pay for the trips in a lump sum or through monthly payments, Frate said.

The district plans to offer similar trips each year to allow students, especially those not in high school yet, time to plan and budget for them.

"We want to give them opportunities to discover different cultures and ways of living and get a broader perspective of what the world is like," Bennett said.

For more information, email Scott Bennett, principal at Reynoldsburg's eSTEM Academy at sbennett@reyn.org.

tthomas@dispatch.com

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