Target and the Georgia Council for the Arts offer free funds for field trips and teacher training.
When school districts look to "trim the fat" off their budgets, it is often money for field trips that is the first to get the chop. School field trip coordinators and classroom teachers can still find ways to make field trips happen for their students and acquire training for themselves, but they must be even more creative with their thinking and with their remaining field trip and teacher training budgets.
As outlined in the Field Trip section of the Center for Puppetry Arts website, the state of Georgia and the National Endowment for the Arts gives financial support to balance cuts in schools' art education while also supporting Georgia artists and arts not-for-profit institutions. The Georgia Council for the Arts (GCA) offers grant opportunities each year to help Georgia schools and teachers to pay to take their students on field trips to local art organizations, to enhance arts curriculum in schools (K-12) and to attend teacher arts education training to promote the appreciation and support of local visual and performance art and the benefits these arts bring to the community. The application for field trip funds and teacher training is listed in the Arts Education link. One of the grants offered by the GCA include the Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) Grant. This grant pays $200 to the teacher applicant who wants to participate in being trained to incorporate the arts into core curriculum instruction. The GCA also offers grants for arts education curriculum ideas in schools and for artist-in-residence programs.
The Center for Puppetry Arts website also mentions how Target supports local education needs including funds for field trips to visual and performing arts institutions. For those who qualify, the Target Field Trip Grants program provides up to five thousand, $800 awards for applicants to take his/her students on a field trip to a local museum/ performing arts center/ symphony or to have a visiting artist conduct workshops at the school for the 2009-2010 school year. The opening date to register for this particular program is within the next five days. Target also offers other types of grants for schools and educators. Called the Target Store Grants, these three grant programs provide funding for the Arts, Early Childhood Reading and Family Violence Prevention. The deadline has passed for the 2009-2010 school year but registration opens up after March 1, 2010 for 2010-2011. Grant awards average up to $3000 per applicant.
To make field trip money stretch further, consider taking a field trip without leaving the classroom. Many of the local museums and freelance educators (performers, storytellers, traveling librarians, literacy specialists, etc.) offer outreach programs. By having a performer come to the school, teachers eliminate the need for the school administration or for students' parents to pay additional field trip costs by eliminating the cost for a bus and a bus driver, sack lunches and travel liability insurance. Having an in-class field trip also eliminates the paperwork and dangers of taking students off school grounds while supporting local artists and educators who usually price their services to meet school budgetary limitations while still providing an entertaining learning experience. Look to your school district's website to find a list of approved, education-related performers.
For more info: Contact Deborah Ott, Program Manager for Arts Education for the GCA, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 404-685-2795 with questions about the Teacher Professional Learning Grant and other GCA arts education grants. To answer your questions about Target Store Grants, go to Grants FAQ's on the Target web site at http://sites.target.com/site/en/company/page.jsp?contentId=WCMP04-031881.