An east-central Kansas elementary school that nearly closed six years ago is bursting with students and has a long waiting list, and it's attracting visitors from as far away as New Zealand.

An east-central Kansas elementary school that nearly closed six years ago is bursting with students and has a long waiting list, and it's attracting visitors from as far away as New Zealand.

The recovery started in 2007, when the Newton School District changed the K-4 school in Walton to a charter with an agricultural theme. Agriculture is used to teach all classes, and each class pairs with a local farm family.

By 2005, only about 75 students attended Walton Elementary. Now, the 167 students attend the Walton Rural Life Center learn by doing all the chores associated with a farm. The waiting list goes to 2018.

The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/14vmwoG ) since the charter opened, state assessment rates hover around 97 percent for reading and 100 percent for math.