The benefits of field trips for students have long been documented. They enhance learning beyond classroom walls, foster growth, and connect students to the world around them. Yet many kids face significant barriers to participating in these impactful experiences. In Southcentral Alaska, one of the biggest challenges is simply getting to them. With massive shortages in school bus drivers and growing budget deficits, field trip funding and transportation has become severely limited. While private charter buses can be used as school bus alternatives, the associated costs are often prohibitive for many schools who lack robust financial resources. As a result, the diverse array of experiential programs in the Heritage Area have only been available to a small slice of Alaskan students. We want to change that.
As a historic transportation corridor, we understand the importance of being able to get where you need to go. We also believe that all students deserve to participate in out-of-classroom learning experiences, especially throughout our Heritage Area which is rich with opportunities for kids. It is out of this belief that our Transportation Equity Initiative (TEI) was conceived.
Our goal is simple: Connect the classes and schools furthest from opportunity to enriching educational experiences in the Heritage Area. In our inaugural year, we plan to do this by:
- Covering the transportation costs of at least 15 Heritage Area-based field trips for underserved classes and/or schools. Many of these will be to KMTA’s education programs, while others will be to programs hosted by peer organizations based in the Heritage Area.
- Partnering with other Heritage Area-based education organizations to provide an array of field trip opportunities that are low cost or free. We know program fees can often be costly as well. We want to connect kids to affordable opportunities to fully reduce participation barriers.
- Building support to help us scale our impact and reach more classes and/or schools in the future. By mobilizing a committed network of donors, partners, and volunteers, we can bridge the transportation gap for more Alaskan kids.
The following KMTA education programs are available for consideration of TEI funding to cover associated transportation costs: Pathfinders and SnowSchool.
To qualify, applicants must be:
1. A full grade or class in a public school located in Southcentral Alaska
2. Under-resourced and able to communicate your need for funding. This can include any of the following criteria:
• Schools and/or classes w/greater than 50% of students enrolled classified as Economically Disadvantaged
• Schools and/or classes that have never gone on a field trip to the Heritage Area