Lincoln School Giving Students Rare Learning Opportunity

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For Mrs. Briney's English class, today's lesson is taking them outside the classroom and into the Lincoln Children's Zoo.

But they don't have to go far. Their classroom is the zoo.

"The zoo has provided us with a laboratory experience that is next to none," said Sara LeRoy-Toren, Science Teacher at Zoo School.

The class is part of the Science Focus Program for Lincoln Public Schools. Students spend a couple hours at their respective schools, and then spend the rest of their day learning from classrooms on the Zoo grounds. Teachers say their curriculum is the same as other LPS Schools.

"The big difference is in our integrated instruction and our ability to use the zoo as a giant classroom and lab experience," said LeRoy-Toren.

"One of the big appeals that they kept talking about was that it was really small class sizes and that was a really big deal for me," said Kelsea Brunner, Sophomore at Lincoln High and Zoo School.

"It's a great way to learn especially when you have the same teachers for four years, you're able to learn a lot better," said Aaron Lee, Senior at Lincoln East and Zoo School.

Zoo school isn't just for students who want to learn about the zoo and the animals that live here, and the curriculum goes far beyond what happens at the zoo.

"All of your Science classes apply to all of your other classes," said Brunner. "So what I'm learning in Biology helps out in World History and all these classes mesh together."

Students are getting opportunities likely not available at other schools.

"Last year, I got connected with the photographer, Michael Forsberg, so I've been working with him for the last two years," said Lee.

Other projects include commercial cheese-making for the University, the Platte River time lapse project, the chemistry of food and the anatomy and physiology of bees.

Quite the list of accomplishments that this year's group of young minds is trying to live up to.

Zoo school runs parallel with the Lincoln Public Schools calendar.

All classes at the school carry the same weight as other public schools.

Anyone can apply to attend.