Middle School Field Trip

2020 Information, Dates and Paperwork

Fieldtrip Date: This year’s trip is scheduled for Tuesday October 27 – Friday October 30, 2020 in Pinnacles National Park. 

Information Night Date: An information night will be held in September (to be updated in the Fall) in the Hillcrest multi-purpose room to help you prepare for the trip. See calendar for more information.

Paperwork: Parents need to complete the following paperwork no later than TBD:

  • Links To Be Updated in the Fall

Payment: Cost is generally $300 per student. Payment may be remitted via check (payable to Hillcrest PTA and left in the Middle School Field Trip envelope in office) or via PayPal to HillcrestMSFieldtrip@gmail.com . Please be sure to include the name of the student you are paying for.

If the cost presents any difficulty, please contact the Principal or one of the middle school teachers, as there are scholarships available. We want all kids to enjoy this trip — this is school for the week — so please don’t let finances be an issue. Any financial aid or scholarship information will remain confidential.

General Field Trip Overview

All Hillcrest Middle School students participate in an annual outdoor education excursion to one of three destinations (in rotation throughout their three years in middle school):

  • Point Reyes (2019)
  • Pinnacles National Park (2020) and
  • Yosemite National Park (2021)

This multi-night (4-day/3-night) trip is organized in partnership with Naturalists At Large (NAL), an outdoor education organization. The naturalists facilitate the student experience through daily activities depending on the field trip, such as hiking, team-building exercises, hands-on science, kayaking, rock climbing, star gazing, etc. In addition to delivering the multi-day curriculum, NAL provides sleeping tents for students and chaperones plus all food, including prep and cooking. Students are actively involved in camp life – from setting up tents to daily assistance with before- and after-meal clean up.

For each trip, students are split into small multi-grade groups. Each group is assigned a Naturalist as well as a parent chaperone. Teachers rotate between groups.


Hillcrest parents serve as chaperones and teachers roam among the groups. Generally each chaperone oversees 7-9 students and is responsible for their oversight and well being for the duration of the trip.

Selection process: Each Spring, parents have an opportunity to submit their name to be chaperones for the fieldtrip the following Fall. Most years there are more names submitted than slots available and not all people volunteering to chaperone will be able to do so. Each selected chaperone goes through a rigorous and lengthy approval process, including fingerprinting run through FBI screening, and testing for TB and other contagious diseases. People selected to chaperone must be willing to go through the screening process before the end of the Summer in order to ensure that the results are returned before the Fall field trip. In the event that test results are not returned in time and/or come back with a result providing a reason that someone should not chaperone, an alternate who has previously passed the screening process will be selected.

Chaperone duties: Chaperones are responsible for the students in their groups from the time the students are dropped off to catch the bus until the moment that they are returned to their parents at the end of the week. Your child will not be in your group. Under no circumstances are chaperones allowed to leave the field trip early. Selected chaperones will need to take the appropriate amount of time away from work and home obligations to cover the entire length of the trip. Your understanding in this important aspect of the trip is greatly appreciated.


Hillcrest asks the parents to pay around $300, which covers a little more than half the expense of the field trip, with the remainder of the cost being offset by various MS fundraising efforts (such as Pizza Friday, Dances, and Kids Night Out). Actual costs may differ depending on distance of trip, bus company used, number of students in attendance, etc. Transportation to and from each destination is by hired coach.

Field Trip Logistics

Parents will receive more information about the field trip at Back-to-School Night as well as in specially scheduled meetings and communications throughout the year. During the year the Field Trip Coordinator will make multiple requests for paperwork, the family contribution and other information from your family. Please be responsive – this is a challenging outing to organize and your prompt responses are very helpful!

Packing List

Please click HERE for the packing list.

DO NOT ALLOW YOUR KIDS TO BRING: Pocketknives, personal music devices, radios, electronic games, gum, junk food, or cell phones (they likely will not have cell reception anyway and may be damaged or lost on program). If any electronics, including cameras are brought on the trip, please let your child know that they will need to accept responsibility if they are lost or broken. NATURALISTS AT LARGE AND HILLCREST SCHOOL WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST OR DAMAGED PERSONAL BELONGINGS.

When packing, duffel bags are preferred to suitcases. Remind your child that they will be responsible for carrying their own gear. The campsite is a short walk from the bus drop-off, but rolling suitcases do not work well in this environment.
Make sure to send a daypack as we’ll need them for hiking.

A bandana is also a good idea as it can be used as a placemat for food and/or as a way to cool people down when it’s really hot out.

Mark everything you bring! I can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. At the end of the trip, we inevitably have a very large lost and found. It is infinitely easier to return lost items if they are labeled.


If you are sending medications of any kind other than an inhaler or an insulin pen/pump, they need to be given to the chaperone in a labeled (with child’s name) Ziploc bag. You will also need to complete prescription medication form with detailed instructions and put it in the Ziploc bag with the medication(s). If your child needs an inhaler, Epipen or Glucagon, it is a good idea to send two – one for your child to carry, and one for the chaperone as well.

There are two things worth noting on the medications:

  • We cannot administer ANY medications to your child without written permission. If the medications are prescription, follow the instructions above. We also will ask for your permission to administer over-the-counter medications (like Advil, Benadryl or Tums) if needed.
  • Chaperones must hold on to the medications. Other than an inhaler or insulin, all medications need to be in the hands of your child’s chaperone. They will give the medication to your child per your instructions.

Field Trip Coordinator

The MS Field Trip Coordinator is responsible for the overall organization of this annual event, and also serves on the MS Advisory Committee. A major duty for the Field Trip Coordinator includes communicating with families, NAL, MS teachers, and school administration throughout the entire year. Importantly, the Field Trip Coordinator organizes, distributes and collects all required documentation and payments from families and shares any pertinent trip details with parents, including emergency contact procedures, form submission dates, departure/arrival information, etc. Finally, the Field Trip Coordinator attends the trip as head chaperone and has a blast! Your 2020-21 Volunteer: Danielle Goyne can be reached at HillcrestMSFieldtrip@gmail.com.