The door to a hen house burst open on a chilly winter day and several south-central Kansas charter school students scrambled inside, squealing "Thank you!" to the chickens as they checked for eggs and replenished their grain.
It's a morning ritual at Walton 21st Century Rural Life Center, whose focus on agriculture saved it from closing. The school now attracts a steady stream of visitors from around the country who watch students learn through projects that range from selling eggs to showing pigs at the county fair.
The farm curriculum, although still relatively unusual, has been replicated in other Kansas schools and proven successful in more urban environments, including Chicago and Philadelphia.