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Daily Herald editorial: Holton is an investment in Austin

Published 10:33am Friday, September 27, 2013

Austin taxpayers will have an opportunity to see the fruits of their tax dollars Saturday.

We encourage residents to stop at the open house for I.J. Holton Intermediate School, 1800 Fourth Ave. Southeast, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Taxpayers voted 2,971 to 2,543 — a margin of 428 votes — in 2011, to approve a $28.9 million bond referendum to build the school.

I.J. Holton, which opened to fifth- and sixth-grade students earlier this month, boasts an exciting new curriculum for Austin students. I.J. Holton is a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, or STEAM, school, to teach younger students critical thinking skills. Language arts and social studies are still a core component of the school, but teachers will place an emphasis on engineering units to get students asking more questions and finding out how to research for answers, rather than memorize a set of rules or a list of facts. Austin teachers met with University of Minnesota specialists throughout last year to figure out how best to organize the new curriculum. If it’s successful, look for Austin to expand on the model in the future.

In an era when student testing and performance are constantly under scrutiny, we applaud Austin Public Schools for its forward thinking in making I.J. Holton a school for the 21st Century.

But, this is the public’s school, as the taxpayers are the ones who approved and are funding the referendum. All Austin residents should take a keen interest in how they’re money has been spent — and in the future of Austin schools and its youth.

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