Wellesley public schools axing annual Thompson Island trip

Wellesley public schools, citing a financial and time squeeze, will no longer be sending its 5th graders to Thompson Island in Boston Harbor as an elementary school grand finale. While many students look forward to and enjoy the multi-day Outward Bound adventure, there’s been a fair amount of grumbling in town over the trip this year, both because of the $400-plus families shelled out and because of reports that some kids came home with Swine Flu.

Becky McFall, director of curriculum and instruction, states in a letter to parents and guardians that “The administrative team has spent a great deal of time over the last three years evaluating the Thompson Island environmental education program in terms of its benefits for students. We acknowledge that the Thompson Island trip has been a worthwhile experience for many students. Unfortunately, the demands on our resources have increased. The addition of MCAS, the amount of time needed to carry out the elementary curriculum, the increased complexity of students’ needs and the financial demand placed on families of fifth grade students have made it increasingly difficult to support this trip. As a result, it is the collective decision of the administrative team to discontinue our fifth grade Thompson Island trip.”

She explained that school officials explored similar alternatives to the Thompson Island trip and failed to agree on any. However, it will still consider new options.

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