I.J. Holton Intermediate School is one of five schools statewide honored with a 2020 Minnesota Promising Practices Award. The award is presented to schools for implementing unique and effective practices that promote character development. I.J. Holton Intermediate School received the award for the practice, Freedom Week.

Each year for one week during November, the students at I.J. Holton are immersed in learning about the freedoms and rights of Americans. Freedom Week kicks off with an assembly by the local VFW and Legion. Through guest speakers, decorating the entire building and social studies lessons, students are engrossed in the concept that ‘freedom isn’t free.’ “Students learn about the sacrifices that have been made in order to have those freedoms and what happens when you lose them,” said teacher David Brown.

The Minnesota Promising Practices Award celebrates unique and effective practices schools have created that promote character development. The practices are shared on the Synergy website to serve as an idea generator for other schools. Synergy has presented nearly 100 Minnesota Promising Practices Awards since 2008.

“In a time when divisive, negative news dominates the headlines, it is inspiring to see the great things students, schools, community groups and individuals are doing to encourage and promote good character and ethical leadership in Minnesota,” shared Wanda Sommers Wall, executive director for Synergy & Leadership Exchange.

Synergy & Leadership Exchange presents the awards each year to spotlight schools with exemplary efforts, motivate honorees for continued effort and success, and inspire others with examples to replicate. Schools apply for the award which is reviewed by a blue-ribbon evaluation panel. The 2020 awards are supported by donations from The Craighead Family Fund, South Central Service Cooperative and SPIRE Credit Union.