Walton Rural Life Center Achieves Academic Excellence

Walton Rural Life Center is literally bringing the farm to school with an innovative educational model.

| November/December 2013

  • Children at Walton Rural Life Center turning compost
    Photo Courtesy Harvest Public Media

A new type of educational model is happening in rural Kansas. At the Walton Rural Life Center in Walton, kindergarten through fourth-grade students are learning their reading, writing and arithmetic skills through an agricultural lens – and so far, the program has been a great success.

“Walton doesn’t exist to turn out crops of future farmers,” says Natise Vogt, the school’s principal. Rather, the charter school uses farming activities as an avenue to further learning. They garden and raise chickens to learn about natural science, they practice math by calculating feed requirements, and they even master basic economics by selling eggs. While rural schools in general tend to struggle to meet state required academic standards, students at Walton Rural Life Center have soared above the rest, twice being recognized for scoring in the top 5 percent on statewide standardized tests. “The difference isn’t what they learn,” says Deborah Hamm, district superintendent. “It’s how they learn.” And this difference has not only breathed new life into yet another struggling rural school district, it has also added promise to a new chapter for the Walton community as a whole. Read more about the Walton Rural Life Center

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