HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Economy & Education » Education (Group) » Farm Theme Boosts Enrollm...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:22 PM

Farm Theme Boosts Enrollment in Rural Kansas School.

The first clue is a sign "Fresh Eggs for Sale" in front of the school. There is a sheep pen on the baseball field and the sounds of farm animals greet pupils every morning.

This is not your ordinary elementary school. It is the Walton Rural Life Center, a kindergarten-through-fourth grade charter school in rural Kansas that uses agriculture to teach students about math, science, economics - and responsibility.

The farm theme is so popular that the center has a waiting list to enroll and has given the town of Walton, population 235, a boost, said Mayor Evan Johnson.

"It's been a priority for us and a source of pride," Johnson said.

Students take turns each week feeding chickens, sheep, pigs and cattle. They wash and sell the eggs, make yarn from sheep wool and raise pigs for market - with pork coming back to the school for meals. They also raise vegetables for school snacks.

"The kids love it, and they are learning," said Principal Natise Vogt, pointing to better test scores as one example.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/02/16/us/16reuters-usa-school-farm.html?hp

8 replies, 940 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Farm Theme Boosts Enrollment in Rural Kansas School. (Original post)
elleng Feb 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Feb 2013 #1
proud2BlibKansan Feb 2013 #2
LWolf Feb 2013 #3
elleng Feb 2013 #4
Squinch Feb 2013 #5
elleng Feb 2013 #6
Squinch Feb 2013 #7
elleng Feb 2013 #8

Response to elleng (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:28 PM

1. I want to go back in time and attend this school.

I did attend a very rural two-teacher, eight-grade brick school in the country, but we didn't actually get involved in ag, though my grandmother, who raised me, had a significant garden and orchard and we raised poultry and occasionally slaughtered a pig.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:45 PM

2. Turning this school into a charter gave this town the opportunity to keep its only school open

All over Kansas and other largely rural states, the death of a school often leads to the death of a town. The state is top heavy with school districts because of its geography and the desire (in every town) to keep schools open and avoid the dreaded merger of rural school districts.

Kansas is looking at serious economic issues, a drastic drop in school funding (thank you Sam Brownback) and a drop in the tax base that supports schools. The inevitable solution will result in fewer schools and school districts.

Thanks to a federal grant, this town was able to save its school. As long as the money keeps coming, the school will remain open. But the future for public education in Kansas - for both traditional and charter schools - is bleak. The current state legislature will not support the level of funding that this school in Walton requires to stay open. That's the reality. Unless we can change the legislature, this one school will remain one success story in a state that has a long history of successfully educating its children.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:08 PM

3. A farm-themed school

needs to be in suburbia, and in cities, where kids aren't exposed to farms like rural kids are.

And, of course, it doesn't have to be a charter school. If tptb were not so obsessed with destroying public schools with their standardized obsession with testing, using charters as a privatization tool, there could be all kinds of different formats presented through regular public education. Where, it must be pointed out, kids are still learning, if not with the joy and breadth we could provide them freed from the education deformer's policies.

I teach in a rural school. It's a public school, to be sure. We do a little gardening, but not much, since we can have frost any day of the year and by the time it's safe to put things in the ground it's about time to take off for the summer. Still, we do a little and kids enjoy it.

Not that they really need to. Living rurally, most of my students grow and raise much of their own food already. I get new kids, not children, attending parent/student conferences; lambs brought in for demonstrations; gifts of jerky, of fresh and home-canned produce. My students expect to see me touring the barns at the local county fair, so they can show off their pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, rabbits, etc., not just to the judges, but to me. Some of my students volunteer at a local pumpkin farm about 3 miles from school each fall, taking tickets for the corn maze, supervising the petting zoo, giving rides in carts pulled by draft horses out to the fields to pick pumpkins, helping weigh them upon the carts' return, and taking turns as announcers at the ever popular pumpkin cannons. A lot of our classes for younger students travel those 3 miles down the road for "farm day" field trips, but it's mostly just for fun; few of them actually need the experience. They already get it.

It's commonplace for a student to show up with his parent, some farm baby in his arms, for parent conferences. The farm baby gets casually passed from person to person while we talk about academic achievement, and the student calmly and quickly deals with any "output" from the baby.

It's also not uncommon to arrive at school at dawn and find a deer or two on the playground; we make sure they find their way out before the busses show up.

I'll repeat it: a farm-themed school is great. I'd love to see it in suburbia and in the city, where people are disconnected from where their food comes from, and I'd like to see it be a fully public school.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LWolf (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:07 PM

4. Absolutely.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 03:41 PM

5. Wouldn't it be great if all teachers had the option to teach their children based on what

is important in their lives? Even the teachers in public schools?

But, yeah. That's not going to happen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Squinch (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 03:46 PM

6. Yes, that SHOULD be the way curricula work.

Work that way more often in private schools. Too bad the publics can't (often) adopt such approach.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to elleng (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:41 PM

7. The teachers I know would love to. And used to do it. They just aren't allowed to any more.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Squinch (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:34 PM

8. and that's a HORRIBLE thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread