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School Chickens Allow Lessons to Take Flight

Apr. 6, 2017
Student Chicken Managers with their teacher in front of the coop
Student Chicken Managers Marcello Montoya and Eva Severance, with their teacher Creighton Hofeditz, tend to the chickens twice daily.

Spring has sprung for the student “Chicken Managers”

Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School (DMHS) has added another element to their daily coursework, and it involves chickens. Throughout the school year, student “Chicken Managers” flock outside to tend to their avian duties, which include feeding the hens, gathering eggs and tidying the coop. This is the first time DMHS has incorporated their chickens into a schoolwide curriculum to help students learn about math, science, social studies and managerial skills.

Ninth-grader Eva Severance and eighth-grader Marcello Montoya are the school’s Chicken Managers in charge of the coop, and the pride they take in their responsibilities is evident.

student with chickens

Marcello Montoya helps feed the chickens each day.

“The first thing I think about when I wake up is how the chickens are doing,” said Marcello Montoya. “I love that we get to make sure they are fed and happy.”

“This program goes beyond just teaching the kids to care for animals,” said occupations teacher Creighton Hofeditz. “We studied physics as we built the coop and continue to incorporate the chickens into lessons about animal biology, the history of other cultures with chickens, the sanitation of water and the economics of budgeting for feed.”

School leaders say the eggs will likely being sold for school fundraising or integrated into the school’s culinary program in the future. For now, they are being donated within the community. The chickens are part of a larger urban farm educational program the school is hoping to expand, with a greenhouse growing fruits, vegetables and various perennials to be completed soon.