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Heritage Elementary uses egg producing chickens in award-winning sustainability project

Chicken coop at Heritage Elementary School

HIGHLANDS RANCH – Teaching students the importance of sustainability is a big part of the 21st century learning skills being taught at Heritage Elementary. The school is raising chickens to produce eggs for sale and the chickens are also fed by some of the food scraps generated at lunch. This project is part of a larger sustainability program that helped earn the school the Green Flag Award. They are only the 27th school in the nation and 3rd in the Douglas County School District to win this prestigious award.

Heritage Elementary Sustainability & Wellness Coordinator Sue Antonsen said that this project was exciting for the kids on many levels.

“I just love that we don’t have to go on a field trip to a farm, our farm is here, our garden is here and we see how the two things work together and we see that what we don’t eat doesn’t have to go to the landfill. It comes out either to make soil or to feed the chickens.”

She added, “Part of our goal was showing kids that they can live in a sustainable way by producing their own produce in the garden or their own eggs.”

While this was only a part of the overall program, Antonsen said that it gives the students the perfect opportunity to engage in the 4Cs and also gives the kids a big sense of responsibility.

“This biggest lesson for pretty much everyone is responsibility and how to take care of an animal that you wouldn’t have every day at your house,” stated Heritage Elementary student Benicio Archuleta.

Fellow student Victoria Heydman added, “Leadership is also something that I learned. You have to be able to help kids learn and to lead them in their learning.”

And even though raising chickens might not seem on the same educational level of the 21st century model, educators say that sometimes you have to look back to go forward.

“That’s the exciting thing, our eco-code is ‘Looking to the past to sustain our future’ and that’s really what we’re about. We want these kids to see that you don’t have to abandon the past. We look to the past and we learn from that,” concluded Antonsen.

May 27, 2014 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Heritage Elementary School, Elementary Education, Sustainability

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.