LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's a zoo at Hoggard Elementary School. In addition to the kids, 58 other species call the school home.
Life Sciences teacher Kim Law said when she started teaching 12 years ago, the school had two snakes and a few fish.
Now, there are 140 animals, a garden, and even aquaponics - all of which students study and can explain.
The students are responsible for cleaning cages and feeding the animals. Their parents also commit to pet-sitting on the weekend and work together to keep science alive.
The animals have inspired change on the campus. They are an incentive to come to school. And that's something every school should consider:
"I like spending time with all the animals and hanging out with them," one student said.
While students are hanging out, they're also learning. And the proof, says the principal, is in the test scores.
"Our students perform above the district average consistently year after year in science. And we do attribute that success to being able to learn about science and apply that,” principal Stacey Scott-Cherry said.
The building at Hoggard ES is about 20 years old - time for a new one. And the school is getting a new one in 2 years, but they have to design that new building with all of the animals in mind.
Other schools could also model this program and move science programs forward. The cost for that would be about $2,000 a year for food and would have to contain a climate controlled room with a staff member like Kim who is willing to care for the animals in the summer.