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Genia Basile helped organize a Saturday morning swap meet to raise funds for the Innovations Academy active field trip program. (photo by John Gregory)
IA field trip program enhances education
By John Gregory

While families were bustling about with their regular weekend activities on Saturday morning on Nov. 4, a brisk swap meet was underway in the kindergarten-first grade playground area at Innovations Academy, 10380 Spring Canyon Road.

Curious shoppers browsed among 30 tables stacked with mostly used items for sale.

The event was an effort to raise funds to help support the charter school's active field trip program, according to event organizer Genia Basile.

She was one of the parent volunteers who helped mark the table spaces with chalk and aided the vendors as they set up before the swap meet.

"We do a lot of field trips, project-based learning, so sometimes our families have to put out money," Genia explained.

The swap meet was one way to help alleviate the costs. Fees for the vendor's spaces raised approximately $230 for the field trip program, Basile said.  

"Each classroom is an independent entity. Sometimes we have parents who help the teachers and their field trip coordinators. Sometimes the teachers decide to coordinate their own field trips. It just varies depending on the grade," Basile explained. "My son is in second grade, so we've been to the butterfly garden, we've been to the Children's Museum. It just varies. Some of our kids go overnight camping. Fourth grade just came back from a two-day surf camp trip."

Basile is a true believer in the education available at Innovations Academy. She's sold on the benefits of the field trip program and how it enhances her child's education.

"We're just trying to shed light on what we (Innovations Academy) do and how amazing it really is, and what it's doing for our families and our kids," she said. "I really wanted this to be a community event, more about building community. … I believe in the snowball effect, so hopefully we'll make this an annual event."

Parent volunteers at Innovations Academy have other events in mind to help raise funds, but these events also serve another purpose, according to Basile.

"We're going to have a craft fair. We're hoping to have a 10K/5K Fun Run coming up in February," she said. "My goal with these events is to build community within our school, but also to tell San Diego that we're here and we exist and our program is fantastic and we're here to stay."