STRATFORD—It’s not uncommon for elementary school students to have a class pet such as a rabbit, guinea pig or similar little critter. But, a cow?
Remarkably, St. Mark School in Stratford has recently adopted not one cow, but three! Although they won’t have to feed the cows or clean up after them, they will get to learn a lot about the dairy industry from virtual fieldtrips and classroom lessons.
The St. Mark kindergarten class adopted a calf named Frostee, second grade adopted Cherrio and the after school program adopted Favorite.
The Adopt a Cow Program is run through Discover Dairy, a Pennsylvania-based agricultural initiative that provides interactive lessons for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Through hands-on learning activities and curriculum provided by Discover Dairy, students gain a deeper understanding of dairy farming in the community, economy, state and country.
St. Mark School was assigned to Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, New York, where Frostee, Cherrio and Favorite were born in October 2020. The farm was established in 1976 by third-generation farmer Paul Chittenden and his wife, Melanie and now includes more than 700 milk cows.
St. Mark Students have the opportunity to talk directly with Farmer Nate, meet their calves, take virtual farm tours, and ask questions about milk production. Teachers and students receive photos, video updates, and activity sheets throughout the school year that allow them to watch their calves grow.
After School Program Director Sarah Carrano stated, “The students are very excited to learn more about their dairy cow. It is an exciting way for them to watch a calf grow throughout the year and learn how dairy farmers are impacting our communities.”
“The Adopt A Cow Program does more than just educate students about dairy—it inspires them to care about their health, the cows, and their local farmers,” claimed Second Grade Teacher Stacey Zenowich. “Through immersive activities and technology-driven content, it’s an in-classroom experience like no other.”
“I so appreciate the energy and commitment from our teachers to make this challenging year a positive, in-person experience for our students,” remarked St. Mark Principal Melissa Warner. “I am proud of everyone’s efforts and the wonderful successes we are seeing as teachers offer new, unexpected opportunities to engage students.”
St. Mark School is a Nationally Recognized Blue Ribbon School of Academic Excellence, accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). To kick off Catholic Schools Week, St. Mark School will offer School Tours for prospective families on Sunday, January 31, 2021 from 10 am–12 noon. For more information, visit the school’s website at www.stmarkschool.org. To take a virtual tour, visit https://youtu.be/TC1Y7zNkQy8.