The newest family of chicks arrived at St. James School on Friday, February 20, in the caring hands of school supporter Jo Ann Townsend. The two-week old birds come from Global Leadership Academy where students watched them hatch from their eggs.
Students and staff gathered in the student resource room as Instructional Assistant Heather Chero and Associate Director of Advancement Joanne Behm lent Jo Ann a hand in setting up the brooder box, laying down the bedding and hooking up the warming light. The four new chicks — one of which has a bad leg he has managed to get around without — will live in the school house until the weather gets a bit warmer. Then, with the help of the school’s Chicken Tenders (officially recognized handlers of school fowl), the growing birds will move outside to the chicken coop where students can learn to take care of them and gather their eggs.
Jo Ann has long been a big supporter of St. James School, and she is certainly a great example of the unique ideas of support the school receives. As the school began to introduce more organic ways for student learning, Jo Ann —who enjoys farming and raising chickens — proposed the idea of bringing animals to the schoolyard. Through the chickens, students not only learn the importance of urban farming and recycling, the chickens also teach them a greater sense of empathy and awareness of other living creatures.
“I love sharing things with the St. James’ students because their enthusiasm is contagious,” says Jo Ann. “It is an honor for me to be a part of the great work that all of you are doing.”
The 4H intensive, led by Chero and math teacher Annie Lerew, took on the task of naming the chicks (Mumbles, Maya, Jessica and Kennedy) and getting students ready to transition the birds to the backyard come springtime. Updates on the chickens progress will be sent from time to time to the students of Global Leadership Academy, with the hope that they will one day make a field trip to St. James School to see their babies all grown up.