Change Granite's Travel Policy for Student Clubs and Teams
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Granite School District's travel policy currently limits Student organizations who wish to travel to a list of 10 states, including Utah. Clubs, teams, and other groups who wish to compete and participate in event outside of those 10 states are unable to do so, barring a district override, which is very difficult to obtain and unlikely to be approved. This presents a major roadblock for Granite students, who often qualify for national or even international competitions, but are rarely allowed to attend them. We believe that this policy is largely responsible for Granite's low rate of participation in extracurricular activities, as well as its even lower rate of victory or placement in these competitions. Of the three largest districts in the state of Utah (Granite is the 3rd largest), Granite is the only school district to restrict which states students may travel to. For the past several year, faculty, parents, and students have advocated for a revision of this policy, and this petition, along with our campaign at www.changeforgranite.org represent the next major step in our efforts to be heard. We petition that:
A) Granite School District's Board of Education vote to revise, amend, or remove item VIII.A.18.F of its policy, which reads:
In an effort to control costs and make travel safer and more convenient, travel outside of the State of Utah will be limited to the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The principal may recommend exceptions to the School Accountability Director for review and recommendation to the Superintendent and Board of Education. Exceptions shall be rare and will require approval from the Board of Education.
B) The GSD Board of Education make necessary arrangements and readings for above policy in a timely manner; The season for out-of-state trips is fast approaching, but there is still enough time for the policy to be fixed before many of the affected trips would take place. One notable example is DECA's International Career Development Conference (and competition). This conference takes place on April 21-24 in Atlanta, GA. Hypothetically, students who qualify for this competition would have the opportunity to participate in this event if the board worked to revise the policy at their board study session on 2/20/18, and had two readings of the new policy following the revision: One reading at the board meeting on 3/6/18, and a second at the meeting on 4/10/18. Following the second reading and voting, the revision would be official, allowing approved out-of-state trips to travel outside of the 10-state limit after 4/10/18. Although this creates a very narrow time-frame for both the board and those working to arrange travel, we believe that it would be worth it to allow students to travel this year, rather than delaying this positive change any longer.
C) The board make any other changes deemed necessary to express the intent of the travel policy (to foster student learning and positive experiences), and to protect student's ability to travel within the US in the future. For reference, below are excerpts from other major Utah school districts, which represent what we believe would be a more appropriate policy.
Overnight [and out of state] travel may be part of the educational program for high school students when the anticipated educational benefits warrant the required expenditures, comparable experiences are not available at the local school. (Jordan SD)
An exception may also be granted to an individual student or group of students if winning at the local, state, or national level provides an invitation to compete at the next level of competition sponsored by the same organization or entity. Such competition at the next level shall not count as one of the 15 activities allowed per school, neither the one (1) activity per organization nor the two (2) allowable days missed from school. If an invitation to compete does not allow a school time to comply with the stipulation to request leave 45 calendar days prior to a trip, the preliminary travel proposal must be submitted as soon as is feasible. (Canyons SD)
We believe that by amending this policy, Granite will be doing a major service to its students: the opportunities opened up to students by this revision would allow them to excel and advance in their passions and fields of interest like never before. The opportunities for exposure and scholarships will provide massive opportunities to academically-oriented students within the district as well. It will also boost Granite to a place where, competitively, its students have equal drive and opportunity to their competitors from other districts in Utah.
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