Chickens have come to D-E! Middle School problem-based learning (PBL)
invites students to tackle a complex, real-world problem and work
collaboratively to realize authentic solutions. In D.I.G., a 7th and 8th
grade elective, students proposed adding chickens to the vegetable
garden ecosystem as a method of organic pest control and a source of
The project has spanned several years, and several groups of D.I.G.
students, as they first discovered the City of Englewood town
ordinance would need revision to allow the keeping of backyard
chickens. Students worked together to revise the ordinance for
presentation to the Englewood board of health and later, after the new
ordinance was passed, to solve myriad other problems that raising and
keeping chickens presents. This spring, the 7th grade DIG class
presented their idea to Dr. De Jarnett and, after addressing some
additional problems he brought to their attention, received permission
to buy a chicken license for the school. They are moving forward
now with plans for a permanent coop to be built inside the fence at
the Nettie Louise Coit Teaching Garden.
As part of their project, The DIG students have wanted to raise
awareness among their peers about some issues connected with chicken
keeping and sustainability. For example, they have learned that
eating eggs from pastured chickens supports more environmentally
healthy and more humane agricultural practices than choosing eggs from
conventionally raised chickens. To bring some of their learning to
other students, Mrs. Christoph invited the class to present short
talks, or “chicken minutes” during Monday Morning Meeting. DIG has
also posted a “pop up art show” next to the temporary coop in the
Umpleby Garden, where we are keeping the fledglings for the next week.
We invite community members to drop by a visit the show! The chickens
will leave campus for the summer but will return to benefit students,
and the garden, in the fall when they move to their permanent home in
the Nettie Coit Teaching Garden.
Note: We would welcome any parents interested in supporting the
chickens by sharing their care on weekends and school holidays!
Please contact Tasha Urbanowski at the DE parents association Garden