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JCS teachers raising trout in the classroom igniting interest in STEM learning

By Staff | Oct 14, 2016

Seven Jefferson County Schools (JCS) teachers, have begun a hands-on science program called Trout in the Classroom throughout five different JCS school buildings. Brook Trout eggs arrived in the classrooms on Oct. 5, and students have since begun the journey of raising the fish from eggs to adolescence. In May 2017, after the trout have matured, students will release them into approved cold-water streams and lakes. Brook Trout are West Virginia’s only native trout species.

Participating schools include Harpers Ferry Middle, T.A. Lowery Elementary, Shepherdstown Elementary, Wright Denny Intermediate and Wildwood Middle School. The classrooms are supported by the Winchester, Virginia chapter of Trout Unlimited. Since 2011, support for Trout in the Classroom has come from various sources such as, Ecolab, Izaak Walton League of Berkeley County, Toyota and the Dominion Foundation.

Throughout the year, as students care for the eggs and the young trout, they will monitor tank water quality and engage in stream habitat study to gain a better understanding of the trout’s ecosystem. Teachers hope that participating in these activities will help inspire an appreciation for water resources.

“We want to give our children the opportunity to learn beyond the textbook,” Bondy Shay Gibson, superintendent of Jefferson County Schools said.

While the program is designed to teach students about conservation and shared water resources, it’s and ignite their interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“This is a wonderful way to teach while fostering partnerships with members of our community,” said Carolyn Thomas, project coordinator and science teacher at Wildwood Middle School. “This outstanding program engages students and encourages them to explore a different realm of science that may have gone undiscovered.”