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The Board recognizes the educational value of school-sponsored trips as a means of supplementing the curriculum and as a vehicle for encouraging and supporting student participation in academic, artistic, and athletic activities, performances and competitions. In addition, some school-sponsored trips may provide social experiences and contribute to the development of a positive school culture.

This policy provides guidance for the various kinds of trips that may be sponsored by the Cape Elizabeth School Department (CESD).

Field Trips

“Field trip” means a trip that takes place during the school day and is organized and conducted by one or more CESD employees as a means of accomplishing particular curriculum objectives. All students within the class or grade, or curriculum related subgroup within a class, will be eligible to participate.

Field trips must be approved in advance by the building principal.

Teachers and principals will be expected to consider the following factors in the planning and approval of field trips:

  1. Objectives of the proposed trip and the anticipated learning outcomes;
  2. Specific learning activities to be experienced during the trip;
  3. Suitability of the activity and distance traveled to the age of students;
  4. D. Mode and availability of transportation;
  5. Parents/guardians are provided with clear information that communicates the trip activities, risks and safety measures being taken. Such information shall be communicated in a language and process that parents/guardians can understand;
  6. Arrangements for meals (if applicable); and
  7. Availability of funding for all necessary expenses through the school budget or other appropriate sources.

In addition, the Board requires that:

  1. Parents/guardians give written permission for field trip participation;
  2. Adequate supervision be provided to maintain discipline and safety and to respond to emergencies;
  3. Students participating in field trips conduct themselves in a manner consistent with Board policies and school rules; and
  4. Any overnight curriculum-related trip must be approved by the Board.

Competition Trips

“Competition trip” means any trip related to an academic, artistic, athletic, or other student competition or performance that involves individual students or teams. Any competition trip that is outside of those scheduled for the year must be approved in advance by the Superintendent. Approval may be contingent upon availability of funding through the school budget or other sources.

Other School-Sponsored Trips

Other school-sponsored trips are those that are organized and conducted by one or more employees of CESD as a supplement to the curriculum, as a class social activity, or as an activity planned by a student club or organization. Such trips may include overnight, long-distance in-state or out-of-state travel, or foreign travel. To be school-sponsored, the trip must relate directly to the curriculum or to activities for which the student club is organized.

Participation in such trips is entirely voluntary. There shall be no extra credit awarded for participation and no loss of credit for not taking a trip.

Participation may be limited to students taking courses related to the purpose of the trip or to students who are affiliated with the student club or organization planning the trip.

The Board must approve, in advance, any trips involving out-of-state travel distance of 125 or more miles to destination and all overnight and foreign trips. Approval may be contingent upon availability of funding from the school budget and other sources, including student fundraising.

Staff or administrators seeking approval for school-sponsored trips must furnish the following information:

  1. Objective of the trip and anticipated outcomes;
  2. Specific experience to be provided;
  3. Number and grade(s) of students;
  4. Criteria for student participation;
  5. Maximum number of students who may participate;
  6. Cost per student, including funds requested from CESD and from individual students;
  7. Fundraising plans (if applicable);
  8. Transportation arrangements;
  9. Itinerary;
  10. Arrangements for meals and lodging;
  11. Arrangements for adult supervision/chaperones, with a minimum ratio 1:10 students at elementary level and 1:12 students at secondary level.
  12. Plans for safety and emergencies;
  13. Plans for communicating information to parents and obtaining parental permission; and
  14. Accountability for student conduct.

Adequate supervision must be provided to maintain discipline and safety and to respond to emergencies.

Students participating in field trips and other school-sponsored trips must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with Board policy and school rules. Students who violate Board policy or school rules will be subject to disciplinary consequences.

Non-School-Sponsored Travel

Travel organized by Cape Elizabeth School employees, parents or others that is not an extension of the instructional program or school-sponsored activities and has not been approved as a school-sponsored trip in compliance with this policy will be considered a non-school-sponsored trip.

All responsibility for non-school-sponsored trips lies with the individual(s) or group(s) organizing them. The Board accepts no responsibility for non-school-sponsored trips, and organizers should be aware that such trips or excursions are not covered by the CESD’s liability insurance.

To minimize the impact of these trips on the instructional program and operation of the schools, the Board strongly encourages organizers/sponsors to schedule non-school-sponsored trips during weekends and/or vacation periods. Staff members planning or participating in non-school-sponsored travel must notify the building principal of such plans. Student absences due to participation in non-school-sponsored travel will be considered unexcused absences.

Instructional time may not be used to promote the trip or distribute materials. Individuals or groups who wish to use the schools for the purpose for publicizing trips or recruiting participants and parents/chaperones may do so in accordance with the Board’s facilities use policy. Individuals or groups wishing to distribute promotional materials may do so only in accordance with Board policy. Non-school-sponsored trips must not be represented as school functions or as related to, or an extension of, the CESD’s instructional, co-curricular or extracurricular programs.

It is the responsibility of any staff engaging in such trips or activities to notify the parents of prospective and participating students that this is not a school activity, but an independent voluntary trip organized or led by that teacher or staff member. To minimize any risk of misunderstanding, the following statement must be made in any informational meetings or materials promoting the trip:

“This trip is not approved or sponsored by the Board. It has not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by authorized CESD administrators and it is not covered by any of the CESD’s insurance policies”.

Cross Reference:


  • October 10, 2006


  • January 11, 2022
  • February 12, 2019
  • March 10, 2015
  • June 10, 2008