Preparing Ellis for Holton Grads

Created: 05/29/2014 6:22 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's space built for comfort. Bean bag chairs, relaxing couches and soothing colors. But you might be surprised where you'll find them.


“It’s an F-T-L-A," I-J Holton intermediate school sixth grader Gavin Johnson explained.


“Flexible teaching learning area," added classmate Isaac Barrera.


"It's just where we can come out and sit, relax, do our homework, read," said sixth grader Rachel Christenson.


When Austin's new Holton Intermediate school was still on the drawing board, FTLAs were an important part of the plan.


"It's a space that we use to do small group work, independent project work, teachers will sometimes bring their entire class out here," said Holton principal Jean McDermott.


“You're more comfortable I think out here than you are in the classroom, and when you're more comfortable you can learn better," sixth grader Rachel Christenson said.


“So it’s a very flexible space for lots of different kinds of projects," principal Jean McDermott told us.


“I think these were just set up to have another option instead of a classroom for us to learn," Barrera said, hunkered down in one of the FTLA’s bean bags.


"Allow some flexibility in their learning, some individualization," Ellis middle school principal Jason Senne said.


“One of the questions was now that they enjoy and know how to use the space, what happens when they go on to their next school," said Holton’s Jean McDermott.


"Taking out some of our walls, creating a space for collaboration," Jason Senne explained.


For the sixth graders at Holton, their next stop is Ellis middle school. and though they won't be quite this casual, over the summer some spaces at Ellis will be remodeled into more open work areas.


"It's really going to be embracing the learning style of our students," Ellis middle school principal Jason Senne said.


“It's a space where you just come and chill out and do work," said sixth grader Gavin Johnson.

Photo: ABC 6 News