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U of M, teachers honing curriculum at Austin’s Holton school

Published 8:10am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

After months of collaboration, teachers at Austin’s new I.J. Holton Intermediate School have a better idea how they will employ an interwoven science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) curriculum for fifth- and sixth-grade students.

Teachers, a leadership team and administrators from Austin Public Schools have been in the midst of an 18-month collaboration with a research team from the University of Minnesota to gauge their understanding of STEAM and how it will work in their classrooms. Members from that U of M team addressed the Austin Public Schools Board Monday afternoon and mentioned a positive outlook for the program. While many teachers still want more information, a majority of them felt comfortable incorporating aspects of science and engineering into reading, English and so on.

Teachers from I.J. Holton have attended five professional development meetings with the U of M researchers and administrators. So along with learning about how STEAM works, they will better know how to teach using that system in Austin when the 2013-2014 school year begins.

“A lot of that work has already been done,” said John Alberts, Austin Public Schools educational services director.

Researchers also issued teacher surveys to see where more work needs to be done. Collaboration with U of M will continue in case teachers need further help. Interviews with teachers on a leadership team, student surveys and other research has yet to be completed.

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