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Inspiring Innovator from Fredonia, KS

Houghton fits the bill as he prepares students for a tech-centric future

Published November 26, 2018
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True innovation is not driven by finding more efficient ways to check boxes. In fact, it can mean getting outside the boxes altogether in pursuit of a vision. Fredonia (KS) USD’s elevation into the Coalition of Innovative School Districts was premised upon a vision of the service it could provide for students. K-12 Lead Teacher Brian Houghton is a standard bearer for this vision.

One aspect of being a key player in an innovative district is preparing students for the shifting, multifaceted career landscape that awaits them. Key to this readiness is breaking down subject matter silos and getting students to focus on the big picture. Houghton checks in as an Inspiring Innovator on the Teaching Type chart, and he’s the man for the job in Fredonia.

As Houghton puts it, “It’s not like you say, ‘Oh, now it’s time for the science of my day Oh, now it’s time to stop and read, or now I’ll stop and do a little bit of math.’ It’s all part of what we do as human beings, whether you are a teacher, a construction worker, a farmer, or in sales – you’re merging all of those things together.”

Students who have been taught to think big picture will have an edge in life. Unfortunately, older education models sometimes reinforce those silos, and at times moving forward can be more about checking boxes than meaningful progress. Houghton and the team at Fredonia are working to make a better path.

“Sometimes, it seems like you have to jump through hoops to get to a goal. Why do we do that to kids? We want to remove some of the hoops.”

“This is what education should be. This is what education should’ve always been.”

– Pat Taylor, headmaster, Jackson Academy, Jackson, Mississippi

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