Open Door using project as educational tool

Published 10:01 am Thursday, January 14, 2016

The back view of the Open Door School chicken coop.

The back view of the Open Door School chicken coop.


Four new residents at the Open Door School in Ironton are helping students learn a new set of skills.

Principal Kendra Heim said the school, which serves special needs students, purchased four chickens in October and turned an old outdoor shed into a chicken coop.

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“We decided to do it as a project, teaching farming skills, pet care,” Heim said.

She said high school students painted the coop red, and a fenced-in run was installed on the back, along with nesting boxes.

Four ninth and tenth grade students from Cassie Patton’s pre-vocational class, geared toward workforce preparation, go out twice a day to care for the chickens, feeding them and cleaning out their area for what the students call “poop detail.”

Eggs are collected for use in the school’s kitchen for cooking projects.

“In the morning, we give them scratch,” Joshua Gool said, as he tossed feed to them.

Gool said that he had never dealt with chickens before the school acquired the birds.

The students named the white chicken Snowball, the black and white one Oreo, and two red ones Scarlett and Penny.

“We all voted on the names,” Patton said.

Heim said the chicken coop is one of several features at the school, including a greenhouse and an aquarium, for teaching students skills and helping them learn about possible job opportunities and careers.