EMAIL and INFORMATION
Questions and Answers
The big trip is finally here. We are so proud of each of you. Through your hard work and the supportive efforts of your parents, you are about to go on the trip of a lifetime.
Here are the final email instructions:
- We will continue to send you text messages with important links and info. Please continue to share with your parents.
- Parents, if you have strict limits on text and data for your child, you may wish to upgrade their ability for the week of the trip. We use text messaging for check-in and two way communication for the safety of your child. If they do not have a phone, all students have been reminded to travel with buddies so that everyone is in the communication loop.
- Additionally, we are using a “short-code” service for texting. Ask your child if they are getting messages and can reply. Some phone carriers can apply blocks but they will remove them upon request. It is just a setting.
- The choir website is loaded with lots of information about the trip. If you have not become familiar with the location, I encourage you to visit (http://www.bwoodchoir.org)
- Departure day will have several steps that MUST be followed and completed exactly. Please help your child. We have sent them links to instructions previously but here is one that describes the initial steps. (http://www.bwoodchoir.org/LoadDay.html)
- Traffic on the day of departure promises to be a sight to behold. We anticipate 12 school buses, 6 charter buses, a zillion kids and typical BW traffic all appearing near the front of the school on Tuesday at 2pm. If you are coming to see the kids depart, please be prepared and watch out for students and cars.
- Luggage for the trip is an important topic. The first and most important rule is that EVERYTHING that is traveling with us MUST be in our locked storage by 8am on Tuesday. No last minute surprise packages will be allowed. Everything will be tagged with a special badge. We are trying very hard to keep a high level of safety and security. Please help us by following the luggage rules.
- What to bring is a big topic. Packing lists have been sent electronically. Here is the link (http://www.bwoodchoir.org/BWPack.pdf). You need two types of luggage. The first is the heavy luggage that will be locked and stored until Wednesday at 3pm. Absolutely no access until we check in. Remember also that this hotel has 1,500 rooms and 20 floors. You may bring any bag you wish but remember that you will have to transport it from the bus. Please consider packing light and using a bag with wheels.
- In this large bag, you should bring typical tourist clothes for 80 degree days and 60 degree nights. You should also bring sleeping clothes that are appropriate for visitors since every room will be inspected and you never know when a surprise hotel fire drill might happen. Be conservative. You may also bring snacks but be sure you have them secured in plastic bags. You will probably have a fridge in your room but not microwave (Big hotels are moving away from them for fear of evacuating a 1,500 room hotel because of a bag of burnt popcorn). Please leave extra room in your bag. Things grow and you will buy things that you will want to take home. Towels are available in the rooms and most supply basic toiletries.
- On the bus bags are very important. Plan ahead in this manner. First, you will need a bag with a blanket, pillow and maybe a light jacket. The bus will get cold. You may also bring snacks on the bus with the restrictions we have discussed (NO nuts, NO gum, NO milk, NO liquid ice, NO sunflower seeds and NO large bags of anything) Put everything in ziplock bags. Keep the bus clean. You can also put games and cards in this bag as entertainment. Notice that I keep saying “in the bag” because we will have 600 pieces of luggage. Stuff that is is just left loose in the storage area WILL get lost and not on the bus. Bag and Tag.
- The second bag on the bus is VERY important for our arrival at the hotel. You will spend the day at the hotel pool, activities and eating lunch all before we get into our rooms. You will need a small bag with a swimsuit and change of clothes if you are getting in the water. Absolutely no wet clothes are allowed in the hotel. You will want a plastic bag for wet items. NO uncovered swimsuits of any type are allowed in the hotel area. Yes, shoes are required outside of the pool area. Now, the reason for a second bag. You have no room yet so everything travels with you. You really do not want to haul around your bus bags of Cheetos or a pillow all day. Leave it on the bus until we can check in. Bring small pool bag or backpack. Think fun in the Sun!
- When we arrive, we will give you meal money for the restaurants. You may want to eat first. Go play and enjoy the water and Florida sunshine, As soon as the rooms are ready, we will alert you. You may go to the rooms and crash or go back to the pool area AFTER we unpack the bus. Remember, the bus will only be open once for unloading. After that, the next chance to get your luggage will be 10pm after we get back from the dinner show. Stay alert and follow our schedule carefully.
- REMEMBER – no mixed company in the rooms. If it happens, you will both go home. The cost will be extreme for your parents: $150 taxi fare to airport, $200 airfare each, $200 cost of the chaperone’s airfare to escort you, $960 to repay the chaperone for the loss of their trip and $150 taxi fare from Houston airport to Lake Jackson. Will it be worth it... I don’t think so. Follow the rules and be a happy camper.
- Tuesday morning – By 8:00am, turn in all luggage. Check in all medication. Go to class. Do not miss school. At 6th period, go to class and eat as you normally do. At 7th period use the restroom, go to the auditorium and sit with your bus and bus chaperones. Listen for departure instructions.
- IMPORTANT – If you are a Junior, DO NOT go to the college day at BC. Stay in class. You have a choice go to BC or go to FLORIDA. You can’t do both.
- At departure time, you will be released to pick up your carry on luggage and load. We will check roll and depart. If you wander away or are late, you will be left at Brazoswood. We will NOT wait on you or search for you. Student leaders will be visible and eager to help you at all times. Do not be afraid to talk to them. They have all the answers. Follow the verbal and electronic instructions and everything will be fine. You will be on the way to adventure.
- WEAR your organization shirt on Tuesday. We want to be able to see you. Yes, you can change after we depart.
- The bus DOES have a restroom but it should be used respectfully. Remember to choose your food and drink wisely. We all share the same air.
- On the bus, we will supply you with bottles of water, snack foods and breakfast.
- Entertainment must be clean and family friendly. Music must be through headphones of some type. Your language MUST be G-rated. Do not wear anything “educational”. Remember, trip friends are good. Trip relationships are not always a wise choice. Nobody wants emotional/relationship conflict on a trip. Keep your hands to yourself. Be nice, Be friendly and most importantly be Brazoswood Proud of the opportunity you have. It is “a great year to be a Buccaneer!”
- Two blanket rule at all times. We expect classy behavior. If a chaperone asks you to move or gives you an instruction, do it cheerfully. If you do not comply, you will be moved to a different bus and become a chaperone’s new trip buddy.
- Communicate throughout the trip. Call/Text me 979-299-8904. I am here to help you enjoy the trip and be safe. My wife is Ruth Ann Few 979-299-8906. She will always know where I am. She worked for many years as a school counselor and even the President of the BISD school board. She has traveled with me often. She will always be available to help. The many parents and school staff on this trip only want the best for YOU. Treat each of them with respect. Think about it. They did not come on this trip for the awesome bus ride or major roller coasters. Each of them came to help YOU. Respect that and please, please always remember to say, “Thank You!”
Click For PDF
Places To Use Your Universal Meal Tickets
Here is an overview of where your meal tickets will work at Universal Studios, Islands Of Adventure and City Walk. Yummy for the Tummy!
Phone Apps That are Helpful
These Phone Apps will give you wait times, guide you to different rides, tell you what each restaurant has to offer and even provide some fun with trivia games while you wait in line. Most have a free version. Check them out. It helps.
Spring Trip 2018
ALERT - FINAL PAY OFF - APRIL 4th
Per Registration Contract
Any Account Not Paid in Full On April 4th,
Will Be Terminated With Loss Of All Funds.
Failure To Pay In Full and On Time Means - No Travel.
Final Expanded Trip Timeline
Posted: March 24, 2018
CLICK HERE - For a PDF copy of entire document
Informational Letter #5
Informational Letter #4
Informational Letter #3
Informational Letter #2
Informational Letter #1
Good Afternoon Trip Participants,
This email is to talk about packing and preparation:
We are only a few weeks away from travel. It is time to think about what you will bring on the trip and how to pack it for travel. This email could contain volumes but I am going to try to keep it in short outline format. We will continue to talk about these same topics in class.
THINGS TO BRING:
1. My first suggestion has to do with your phone. While we will help you to keep your electronics charged on the bus on the ride over, there are days when we will be in the park for a bunch of hours. While not required, you might consider a little external battery for your phone. I use the Anker brand from Amazon but there are just as many in every store (Walmart, Target, etc) The higher the number, the more recharges you will get. You can find good ones for about $20-30.
2. Luggage is another big topic (before we talk about “what” to put in the bags. My general rule is that if you bring it, you carry it so pack light. Remember that we are tourists and not fashion templates. Your clothing needs to be functional and comfortable but there is no need to pack the left side of your house.
The important thing about the bag that it will get stored and you will NOT have any access to those items from Tuesday morning at 7:00am until 4:00pm Wednesday evening. We are NOT opening the luggage bays until we check into the hotel. This means that your carry-on bag must contain everything you need from departure through our college visit, an overnight bus ride and a day at the pool as well as any snacks and entertainment.
3. The big bag... Usually contains your basic clothing for six days, some additional snacks and hopefully some space for the shopping you will do and the natural growth of clothing. ALERT – you should put every liquid or smelly item in sealed plastic bags. You really do not want to arrive in Florida and have everything you own covered in Cheetos or drenched in your favorite soft drink.
Please remember that there are 50 people on every bus which means lots of bags and the boys are loading the luggage so who knows how they will get those bags in the bay... YIKES!!!
Along those same lines, you may have designer luggage, but so do the other 300 participants. I strongly suggest that you put a label inside and outside your bag and as an added touch, tie a little piece of ribbon or yarn on your bag. It will make it so much easier to see. I can’t promise that your bag will be under your bus.
4. Bring it or buy it... Remember that the hotel does have a store in the lobby. You may also have a microwave and/or fridge in your room. Bring things that will not spoil and buy everything else there. You will have a free full breakfast every morning and every meal is covered.
5. Electronics... Some kids are asking about packing game systems or laptops. You will have free Internet in the room and there is a laptop size safe in every room BUT remember that if it grows legs and walks away, we will never find your valuable device. I also remind you that SLEEP is your friend. You will not enjoy the trip if you are tired.
6. What kind of clothes... If you believe the weather guys, it will be warm in the day and cool at night. I always suggest that you dress in layers and prepare for cooler weather. For example, we will be outside at Magic Kingdom at 11pm at night. If they are even reasonably correct, it could be in the mid 60s.
Remember that 60 degrees is different when you are standing still and/or riding a 40 mph roller coaster after getting wet on a previous ride. Most kids will probably spend extra and get a locker for extra clothes or a towel. Bring layers and prepare for cool. Share the cost with a buddy.
Remember that we cannot leave the park and there is no bus to go back to so plan ahead.
7. School Dress Code??? Well, my rule has always been that you need to dress for the activity you are doing. With that being said, remember that safety is one of our ongoing concerns. Choose clothing that is appropriate and responsible. Disney will not allow you to run around in your bikini. These are family parks. We also will require that you change if you wear something that is outside the bounds of good taste.
There are no true water rides in the parks BUT there are certainly rides where you will get wet from splashing water. If mom, dad and grandma would be offended by what you are wearing, chances are that we will also ask you to change. Be classy.
8. Dress up clothes... The only formal dress clothes that you might want would be for the first night when we go to Medieval Times BUT certainly not required. You may want to use your extra time to just rest and relax. Tourist clothes are always fine on this trip. This also includes the night we go to Blue Man, you will come out of the theme park to eat at City Walk and then walk directly to the show.
9. On the bus bag... This is your survival bag and you will need it twice on this trip. On the way over, we will leave school for a several hour trip to our first stop for dinner. When we finish, we will get on the bus with our box dinners and head off into the sunset for the next 17 hours.
We will stop at a college as you wake up Wednesday morning for a brief visit and performance. You will need your organizational shirt. Upon arrival in Orlando, we are going directly to lunch and the pool areas of our hotel for a few hours of relaxation. This means that you will need clothes in a soft bag for all of those events. You will need - Clothes for overnight, clothes for swimming with a cover up and clothes for the next morning. You will need a blanket to keep you warm and maybe a small pillow for sleep. You will need snack foods for the long trip.
(REMEMBER, you will also need this bag for the long trip home.)
10. The food in the bus bag... There are a couple of guidelines here. No nut products of any type. No milk products or ice cream. No liquid ice. No gum (really, the bus company will charge us an additional $500 for each incident if they observe gum). No large bags of anything. Remember that this is a closed air environment. The windows do not roll down on charter buses. If you drop food on the floor or make a mess, it will smell really bad and we all share the same air. You will not enjoy the 18-hour return ride in the fog of your spilled food. You will have plastic trash bags at your seat. Use them and get more from the chaperones if you need them. Also, the bag must not block the passageways. People have to be able to move in the bus. No coolers or bags larger than fit under your feet, in your lap or in the small overhead bin. Yes, there is a restroom on the bus.
11. Departure day luggage and medicine... By 7:00am on the Tuesday of departure, every item that is traveling with us, MUST be in the performance gym at Brazoswood HS. This includes chaperones and students. Everything must be in place and secured until inspection and departure. I remind you that the drug dogs are coming. The police will inspect every bag. When you arrive that morning, we will have two areas for luggage (On the bus and Under the bus). Choir officers and parents will be there to help you check in. If it is not tagged at 7:00am, it will NOT travel with us. No last minute surprise bags. Everything gets checked.
ALL medicine going on this trip has to be checked in at the table in the room. The head chaperone on the bus is responsible for giving those medicines at the proper time. When you arrive for check-in, you must have the medicine in its original bottle. You must only bring enough for the duration of the trip. You must put medicine in a zip lock bag.
In this bag with the medicine, must be a note that tells us: 1. What is this medicine; 2. Who does it belong to; 3. When is it to be given and how much; 3. How can we reach your parents. This small plastic bag will be placed into larger sealed containers that will be kept by the head chaperones on the bus. Any over the counter type medication must also be documented.
There are certain medicines are slight exceptions to this rule. Reproductive medication does not have to be turned in and we do allow inhalers to be kept by the students. It is also possible that a student may need to keep a pill or epi-pen with them. Document anything we need to know and be especially careful that students do not take medications of any type onto the Brazoswood campus.
While we are going to monitor the medications carefully, it is also important for the students to help by reminding us when their medicine is due. We are also traveling with medical kits to cover almost any emergency. Yes, it is much better for them to check in everything and let us reissue it as the need arises.
12. Money... Every meal is fully covered for this entire trip. Every admission is fully covered. We will even give them a $20 for the meal at City Walk before Blue Man Group. If they need money, it is for shopping. I always suggest that they wait until the last day at any park before making purchases. Shop wisely. There is a small store in the hotel if you want additional junk food.
Lockers are about $12-$20 per day. Many times kids will get together to share the cost of a locker. Blue Man will certainly have great items and snacks to purchase. T-Shirts are about $20 everywhere. Also, many of the kids will buy souvenir cups that will allow them to get refills for a reduced cost
Finally, please remind the kids that I am here to help them. If they get in a financial bind or have a need, I will help if they will just communicate. This is our Choir/AFJROTC/Orchestra family and we are here to care for them and support them in every way possible.
13. The hotel... As we get closer, I will send more info about how we check in and deal with the hotel. Today, I want to talk about one aspect... Safety. We have divided the chaperones into teams that will walk the halls every night and day that we are in the hotel. I am always available for the students to contact and they will have contact info for the chaperones on the trip.
The major topic for your discussion is this. Under no circumstances and for no reason short of the building being on fire is the student to ever open the door or break the tape that we use to secure the rooms.
If the tape is broken, every member of that room will be removed from the trip and sent home immediately at your cost. Nobody enters the rooms and nobody leaves the rooms for any reason. There are no late night deliveries and no chaperone is to unseal a room without my direct knowledge.
14. The bus ride to Florida... Once the final bus lists are posted, nobody changes buses or rooms for any reason. Our documentation must remain unaltered for your student’s safety. Along those lines, the buses will stop several times during our overnight trip. Absolutely nobody is getting off the bus at a truck stop in the dark of the night. This includes chaperones and students. Plan to remain on the bus for all aspects of this ride. We must maintain bus security at these stops.
If I need to deal with a medical emergency, the chaperones will communicate with me before any action. In addition, as we travel, the chaperones and I expect our students to be the best examples of Brazoswood possible. Improper behavior of any type will not be tolerated. You would hate to become the seat partner of a chaperone for the next 18 hours so keep it classy always.
15. The fanny pack... Your fanny packs will be sorted alpha and grouped by bus. It will contain important items. Each pack will contain: Band-Aides, Plastic bags to keep your stuff dry, Sunscreen, Rain coat, bus list, room list, maps of the parks/hotel, contact lists/numbers and itineraries... Just for starters. I know some of you may not want to wear the pack and that is not required, but all of the info for our trip will be pre-packed in those packs. You will need the info and the raincoat will save you $20 in the parks. Chaperones will also get additional documentation for your safety.
16. How do we leave... At the beginning of A-lunch, you will go to the cafeteria and eat. We will then meet in the performance gym to distribute materials and sign documents. As soon as the bus arrives, we will begin the loading process. The chaperones who are helping with luggage and the officers who are working with that team will load first so that they are free to help you with your luggage. When we are in place we will release the students to load the bus. Typically, we allow Seniors to go first.
Remember, every bus is full. Neither chaperones nor students can reserve space. Every seat will be full. If you block seats, people do not have a place to sit. The front seat on each side is reserved for the lead chaperones for that bus. They must be here to issue tickets and check students and have a secure area for medications. The second seat on the door side is where the charging packs will be as well as all of the travel materials and electronics.
Remember this rule about our departure... If you are late or wander away, we will leave you at Brazoswood. Your luggage will enjoy Florida and it will be on the bus when we return. We will load and depart on a tight schedule. The wheels will roll as close to 2:00pm as possible. Be on time and very concerned about what is happening around you. We will give you directions that are clear and to the point... If you are late we will leave you. Be alert and interested in our timeline.
17. Tickets... Each bus has a number and color associated with it. As the students enter and exit the bus, we will check roll as well as issue lanyards for the day. Packed in each color-coded pouch are the materials they will need for that day. This will include tickets, meal vouchers and/or cash cards. We will collect the lanyards at the end of each day so that they can be loaded overnight for the next day’s activities. Every ticket is a multi-day pass that is keyed specifically to you. The chaperones must insure that we always account for all items. You will get your tickets for the day as you enter the bus in the morning.
18. Money, Paperwork and Grades... Please be aware that students with unpaid accounts will not travel. Students without fully complete paperwork will not travel. Students who do not meet academic eligibility guidelines will not travel.
ALERT: the grading period ends in 10 class days (March 9th). Ultimate academic failure means no travel and forfeiture of the entire trip cost of $960.00.
Students whose behavior cause safety issues or interferes with the overall schedule of the trip may not travel and/or are in danger of being removed from the trip at the parent’s cost. The safety of 300 travelers is our first concern. Students who do not follow instructions or disrupt the trip with bad behavior or rules violations will be removed as a safety risk to the group.
Please be sure to check your online biography for anything that needs updating. Please check food/fanny selections for accuracy. More info will follow. Here we go!!!
Next Trip Payment – MARCH 7th - $840.00 (while not required, please consider paying off any remaining balance at this time)
MARCH 7th – Financially current students pick – BUS Choice – All others assigned.
Trip Contact Info for any time day or night:
Bill Few – (979) 299-8904 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Ann Few – (979) 299-8906 / email@example.com
Informational Letter #2
Good Afternoon Trip members and Parents:
In ten academic days (March 9th), the official Report Card grading period that controls your student’s ability to travel to Florida will end.
I am writing to alert you to this deadline and to the implications if your student ultimately fails a course and loses the ability to travel. By BISD policy and your trip contract, we will be unable to allow them to travel to Florida and they will forfeit all $960.00 of the trip cost.
According to my records, your student has either failed something on the last Report Card (NW2) and/or just failed something on the most recent Progress Report (PR3B). Either of situations should raise a warning flag of academic concern.
Here are the academic rules we must consider:
- A student must pass ALL classes on the NW3 report card (March 9th) to travel.
- If a student fails something on the NW3 report card, they can regain their ability to travel by passing EVERY subject on the April 6th Progress Report, but they must pass every class they are taking not just the previous failing grade.
- There are some “protected” courses that a student can fail and retain their ability to travel. Typically, these are advanced academic courses with the label “AP” and in some cases “Pre-AP”.
- “Regular” classes such as plain English 1 are not protected.
- Students who have been absent do have a limited window to make up missed work. This can cause a valid grade change.
- Teacher grading errors can cause a valid grade change.
- Errors in BISD technology can cause a valid grade change.
- By UIL policy, there is a one week window for all errors and corrections to be made. After that point, the grade may change but the ability to travel will not.
- There are no exceptions to these policies. Be very skeptical when a student says they have everything fixed. History tells us that if a student has failed a class grading period before, chances are that they will earn a failing grade again. They must do something different. Students who have passively earned low grades in a class must become aggressive learners to change the outcome of their academics..
Academic help and tutoring is available from teachers as well as the leadership groups in our organizations. We will try to help if the student will reach out for assistance.
We have all worked so hard this year to prepare this trip. PLEASE review your student’s grades carefully over the next two weeks. BISD offers a “Parent Portal” as a method to check grade status at all times. I will also be glad to check any student’s status as will the other directors.
Please help the students by being proactive in academic monitoring over the next few weeks. We do not want to lose a single student.