HUTTO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: Inspiring Excellence in Academics, Character and Community

July 11, 2017

Hutto Independent School District (ISD) in Hutto, Texas works toward inspiring excellence by creating world-class problem solvers and 21st century learners. One of the fastest-growing school districts just outside of Austin, over the last decade, Hutto ISD student enrollment has increased from 1,000 in one K-12 school to more than 7,000 students at 10 elementary, middle and high schools. Enrollment continues to grow by nearly 300 students each year.

“As the city of Austin expands, so does the suburb of Hutto,” explained Todd Robison, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Hutto ISD. “Because of this rapid growth, it became necessary to add a sixth elementary school to our district for the 2016/2017 school year.” As development plans were underway for the new Howard Norman Elementary School (HNES), Hutto ISD staff was also working diligently on a multi-year Project Based Learning (PBL) plan. The goal of the plan is to give students the ability to gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem or challenge.

The classroom environment in the new school needed to be conducive to open communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking,” remembered Brandy Baker, Assistant Superintendent of School Support for Hutto ISD. “We knew that could not be done if students were sitting in rows of desks all day. We sought to redesign our classrooms to allow us to create our ‘portrait of a graduate’ – or the student we want to walk out of our doors after high school.” “Environment is extremely important in the learning process,” added Ed Ramos, Deputy Superintendent, Hutto ISD. “We had to make sure the furniture was very inviting, kid-friendly, and very easy to move around in the classroom.”

The furniture for HNES had to be flexible, reconfigurable and mobile to meet the students’ needs. Additionally, it had to be available in multiple sizes to accommodate all elementary students, and it had to be visually appealing and complementary as continuity throughout the school was important.

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