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Port Provides Transportation Funding for Schools

June 15, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

Teachers of the Chula Vista Elementary School District have the opportunity to offer their students a hands-on study trip to the Living Coast Discovery Center because of increased support for transportation funding.

This past school year, a grant provided by the Port of San Diego covered $12,400 in transportation costs allowing more than 5,000 Chula Vista students to attend the program.

Karen Quiros, a CVESD Science Resource Teacher who manages and teaches coastal education at the Living Coast Discovery Center, said if teachers have to request funds for both admission and transportation it can be prohibitive.

By receiving funding for transportation, teachers can offer this program to their students.

“With this obstacle removed for classes, the demand for the Coastal Education Program has soared and most importantly, more students had access to participate,” Quiros said.

School bus transportation costs can range from $90 to $180 depending on distance.

But there are also other inexpensive ways to travel like, Day Tripper passes from MTS for $1.50 per student or parent drivers.

The Port of San Diego provided 76 percent of the funding for the Chula Vista students attending the program this past school year.

Sixty percent of the classes from January 2014 to June 2016 received transportation funding from the Port.

Through a partnership with the school district, the Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium, offers a Coastal Education Program that allows students to interact with animals and nature all while learning about science.

Students can touch and observe animals like tortoises, snakes, crabs, and have interactions with owls, sea turtles, and fish.

The CVESD Coastal Education Program is for grades K-8 and costs $3 per student and $10 per chaperone.

Programs are tailored according to grade level like, Crawling Crabs, which allows kindergarten students to learn about the patterns of growth in crabs and they can touch them, or Beautify the Bay for grades 4 through 8, which teaches students about watershed pollution and allows them to participate in a beach clean-up.

“It is exciting for me as a teacher to watch the students connect what they have learned in their classrooms to what they are experiencing during their program,” Quiros said. “I watch their eyes sparkle and their hands shoot up as they beg me to let them explain their new revelation.”

Students who attend the program receive a student and adult pass to return another day for free.

According to the CVESD, since they have received Port funding, a total of 5,269 people have returned to the Living Coast Discovery Center with passes from the Coastal Education Program.

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