Trip to Québec

Québec

Introduction

Every spring, the Grade 8 French class has an opportunity to participate in a cultural trip to Québec City.  They will learn not just a few new words, but that the study of a foreign language is a useful tool, and not merely an academic exercise.  All students will learn that there are people who live within a few hundred miles of home with distinctly different cultures, customs, different currency, and a different form of government.  The students will remember their trips for the rest of their lives.

We are again looking forward to a large response from our students interestƒed in this exciting trip.  For parents and guardians, giving your child an opportunity for what may be their first international trip is exciting and somewhat daunting.  You are full of questions and hopefully, this site will help you answer most of the questions that you have.  If you have further questions, feel free to contact us:

Eric Frere

Cheryl Lowney

PLEASE NOTE: Students must be in good academic and behavioral standing at Pollard. Furthermore, students whose behavior at Pollard may present a possible disruption on the trip may be denied participation. The Pollard administration has the discretionary privileges to refuse any student from going on the trip. 75% of funds paid towards the trip may be refunded through ACIS's insurance policy (see Refund section).

Itinerary

This year’s trip will be April 7-9 2018.  We are planning on leaving at 7:00 AM from Pollard on Saturday, April 7, 2018 and return at around 9:15 PM on Monday, April 9, 2018. Click here for the detailed itinerary of our trip. 

Price

The price for the trip will range depending on the number of confirmed students.  Based on the number of students, this year's price will range between $549 and $619.  This does not include pocket money - usually about $60 (See Exchanging Currency).

Initial Deposit and Final Payment Schedule

The initial deposit of $200 must be made by November 17, 2017.

The final payment  is due on February 6, 2018.

Registration and Payment

Payment is made to ACIS. Trip registration and payment is done online.  Simply click here to go to ACIS's online registration portal and hit the Register Now button. The Group Leader's ID Number is 242908 and the Group Leader's Last Name is Frere.  You will have the option of signing up for Automatic payment plan when registering if you prefer.

Refund/Cancellation Policy

There are different policies and refund dependent upon if you are canceling for insurable or non-insurable reasons. 

See https://www.acis.com/cmsfiles/file/ACIS_America_Protection_Plans(2).pdf for more information. If you have  questions, please contact ACIS Client Services Directly at 877-795-0813.

Lodging

Lodging will be at the world famous Chateau Frontenac. This hotel has been chosen because it is the only hotel that can house all our students and is within the walls of old Quebec. There will be four students per room. Each room has two queen size beds and one bathroom.

Safety

We maintain a ratio of one teacher/chaperone per approximately 10 students for each gender.  Historically chaperones are Pollard teachers other than Mme Lowney, and M. Frere.  M. Frere will be the Safety Chaperone.  The Safety Chaperone uses a comprehensive ACIS Field Safety Manual.

The cardinal rules of safety are as follows:

  1. No running, no kidding, indoors or out (because it is far less likely that our students will walk into harm’s way than run into it)
  2. Cross the street only in a crosswalk.
  3. Cross the street only with a green light.
  4. The hotel swimming pool is off limits.
ACIS contracts with MBT and Brush Hill for transporting the students and adults to Québec. These bus charters have a high safety record and their newer busses are equipped with seat belts.  Although not guaranteed, we often get the same excellent drivers as previous years.  Please click on the US Department of Transportation's Safety and Fitness Electronic System to view their safety record.  

Hotel Etiquette

The Rules of Hotel Etiquette are as follows:

  1. No running
  2. No shouting
  3. No slamming doors
  4. No bare feet or pajamas in the hotel’s public areas

The consequences of not observing the rules range from a forfeiture of privileges to being sent home early at the student's own expense.

Travel Documentation

Every student will need proof of citizenship to enter Canada and to re-enter the United States.

Due to recent changes in requirement, ALL U.S. citizens must have a valid passport book or passport card Non-U.S. citizens should ascertain the requirements that apply in their own particular cases.  Resident aliens will need an original “green card” along with their passport. As of September, 2015, the fee for a passport book and passport card (for applicants under the age of 16) is $105 and $40 respectively (includes a $25 execution fee). Please apply early - it makes a wonderful birthday present!! There is an additional $60 to have the application expedited.  For more information on obtaining a passport book or passport card please click here.

In order to ensure that all documents are in order and to avoid departure delays, we will be collecting and verifying all travel documents approximately two weeks before the departure dates.  Students that do not have the required travel documents will NOT be allowed on the bus.  Travel documents are kept in the school safe and are retrieved the morning of the departure.  In Québec, these documents are kept in the hotel safe.  They are not returned to the student until we have re-entered the United States.

If in doubt, parents may call the nearest Canadian Consulate General (Tel: (617) 262-3760 Fax: (617) 262-3415; e-mail: boston.webmaster@dfait-maeci.gc.ca) or the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (Tel: (877) 227-5511.

Parents/guardians should begin the process of obtaining passports early, especially if your child is not a U.S. citizen.  This may eliminate last minute problems in securing difficult-to-obtain documents.

Exchanging Currency & Credit/Debit Cards

All students should exchange their U.S. currency at home, prior to departure for two fundamental reasons:

  1. Exchange rates are better at home
  2. Being on a tight schedule in Québec, students may not have a chance to exchange their U.S. currency at a Canadian bank.

Citizen’s Bank on Highland Ave (close to Trader Joe’s) usually carries Canadian currency but be aware of possible high service fees (currently $15.00 per transaction).  If you can, try to pool a number of you so you only have one transaction in order to spead the cost of the fee.

Travelex is another option.  You can purchase Canadian dollars online and pick up the money at the Natick Mall.  See: http://www.travelex.com/US/Store-Locator/

We do not recommend that students carry traveler’s checks, as they usually do not carry the proper identification often required by the merchant in order to cash the check.

If a student is bringing a credit/debit card, please contact the bank to inform them that the card will be used in Canada.

Weather and Clothing (what to bring)

Please remember that temperatures in Quebec are likely to be significantly lower than temperatures at home.  It’s important not to let students be fooled by weather forecasts at home during the last few days prior to the trip when packing. Make sure you look at the weather online before you go, don’t pack based on averages. Weather can change. www.accuweather.com

This trip includes a significant amount of outdoor activities and lots of walking, so everybody needs to bring comfortable shoes (waterproof walking boots that will hold up in snow and slush are highly recommended), a warm coat, wool hat and mitts/gloves.  Students must present a winter coat/jacket, wool hat, mitts/gloves and waterproof boots in order to be admitted on the bus. NO EXCEPTIONS!!

Every student should plan for the worst because the program involves outdoor activities.  It is wiser to err on the side of too much, (bring warm clothing). It is best to dress in layers. 

Comfortable clothing will be the norm.  Following Pollard’s dress policy, "students are expected to dress for school in a manner which is appropriate to the purposes and setting of school. Beach clothes, cutoffs, ripped or torn clothing, clothes that expose the midriff or undergarments, any with inappropriate language or pictures, and/or any other items that detract from the desired atmosphere and purpose of the school are not acceptable attire. After warning, continued disregard of this rule may result in disciplinary action."

Students also need to bring a clean pair of sneakers in a bag or backpack for the curling lesson.  They will not be allowed on the ice with the shoes or boots that they are wearing outside.  The reason for the clean shoes is to protect the ice surface.

RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST:

  • 2 days worth of clothing (although some clothes can be worn more than once)
  • Pyjamas
  • toiletteries (toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, etc)
  • winter coat/jacket, wool hat, mitts/gloves and waterproof boots
  • Phone, camera (with charger & extra batteries)
  • Pocket money (About CDN$60 and US$20 for lunches and souvenir - although it depends on how much you want to spend on a souvenir)
  • Medication (must follow NPS protocol)
  • Cell phone (optional - If a student is bringing a cell phone, please contact your service provider to make sure that you have a plan that covers Canada (cell and data service).  You don't want to get a surprise when you see your next bill!!  Make sure that a charger is packed).

Medical

We realize some students will need to take medication during over night field trips. If your child will require medication while on the Québec field trip, please carefully review the following medication policies and procedures pertaining to overnight school sponsored events. These policies and procedures are consistent with The Needham Public Schools Medication Policies and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's regulation 105 CMR 210.
  • All medications, prescriptions or over the counter medications require a physician's signature on the completed Needham Public Schools Overnight Field Trip Form (2 pages).  If there are changes in the medical situation of the student after you have submitted this form, please submit an updated form or contact the school nurse.
  • The parent or guardian must deliver medication(s), to the School Nurse 48 hours (2 school days) before the planned field trip departure.
  • All medications must be in original pharmacy labeled container with child’s name, dosage, route, and frequency of administration (include asthma inhalers, Epi Pens, and all regularly or occasionally taken medication)
  • Provide only the amount of medication needed for the duration of the trip
  • Please ensure that your child is capable of self administering his/her medication
A school nurse will be organizing the medications to be administered during the field trip, but the nurse will not be accompanying the students on the field trip. The responsibility for administering medications to students that are not self-administrating will be delegated to one of the chaperones. Should there be any special considerations regarding your child's medications, such as carrying his or her own inhaler; please be sure to review this information with the field trip chaperone(s). Please also explain to your child the importance of not sharing any of his /her medications with another student.

If you have any questions, please contact the Pollard Health Office at 781-455-0480 ext. 238.

Forms

The following forms are available online. If you do not have a hard copy of any of these forms, you can click on it, print it out, complete (with signature) and return by the due date. All of these forms are mandatory in order for the student to participate.

If a medical condition arises after the due date, please submit the Medication Permission Form and the Medication Administration form in order to allow a chaperone to administer the medication.

 Due Dates  Forms
November 17, 2017    Online Registration and $200 deposit. The Group Leader's ID Number is 242908 and the Group Leader's Last Name is Frere.
   Policy and Contract on Travel Privileges
February 6, 2018 Final paymentThe Group Leader's ID Number is 242908 and the Group Leader's Last Name is Frere.
February 6, 2018 Photocopy of student's passport (photo page)   
February 6, 2018 Needham PS Overnight Field Trip - Medical Form - 2 pages
 March 29, 2018 Passport (will be held in school safe for safe-keeping).