Many traditional public schools provide an excellent general education for a wide variety of students, but some studies find that these schools do not meet the needs of many gifted children unless they have a magnet school within the district. Those students who have a higher level of capabilities for technology, engineering, and other processes may want to consider ASTEC Charter Schools as an alternative. This Oklahoma school has become the face of alternative learning in the region, as stated by Freda Deskin, Ph.D, the founder of the school.
What is ASTEC Charter Schools? | Dr. Freda Deskin
ASTEC Charter Schools is a public charter school founded by Dr. Freda Deskin in 2000 to provide gifted students with a unique type of learning experience. Dr. Deskin states that technology and engineering are critical elements of this school. However, she has also said that ASTEC Charter Schools is focused on creating a great character, proper etiquette, and a higher level of social awareness than she sees in many public school children.
As a result, those who start at ASTEC Charter Schools – during their middle school years – take nine-weeks course character education, manners, and etiquette. These classes help to teach good manners and behavior, which Dr. Freda Deskin believes helps to make students better learners. These lessons also help students respect their parents and others more fully, Dr. Deskin believes, which helps them integrate with society more successfully.
Throughout a student’s years at ASTEC, these lessons are reinforced and rewarded, creating a school culture that is calm and respectful.
An Advanced Course Load | ASTEC Charter Schools
At ASTEC Charter Schools, students get hands-on experience with a myriad of unique technology. Dr. Freda Deskin states that her school leads the way in technological innovation in Oklahoma when it comes to students having technology as a core class everyday. ASTEC continually upgrades its classrooms to ensure that all students get access to a variety of technology. At ASTEC Charter Schools, Dr. Deskin and her team work to ensure that all students, including those identified as gifted can learn in an environment that satisfies their needs.
For example, students have the choice of several electives and in and out of school activities such as “Maker’s Clubs,” robotics and engineering. They also have the option of continuous learning by enrolling in ASTEC’s online Personal Learning Academy. The class is in a large classroom during school hours, with a teacher present. Students work at their own pace and progress through required school subjects.
ASTEC also has an ACE program for credit recovery. The Academic Commitment to Education allows a student to forgo one of his/her electives during the school day to work on course work they may have failed previously. This prevents students from having to pay for and attend summer school. Many low-income students have to work in the summer and having this option helps the entire family.
“ASTEC Charter Schools work to see that all students receive a well-rounded education,” Dr. Freda Deskin states. Discouraged by the increased focus on “career preparation” and less on “character enhancement” she noticed in high school and college environments, Dr. Deskin hopes that ASTEC Charter Schools can fill that void in students’ lives.
A Busy Social Lifestyle | ASTEC Charter Schools
Students interested in attending ASTEC Charter Schools may worry about their chances of social engagement. However, Dr. Freda Deskin understood this factor and has integrated many unique social opportunities for her students. For example, rowing and kayaking teams are available at ASTEC Charter Schools, as are various types of robotics clubs, golf, tennis, track, HealthCorps, many summer camps, intramural athletics, and trips to museums and theater productions.
These activities not only enhance a student’s socialization, Dr. Deskin states, but also their mind. Students who feel they fit in socially and culturally do better in college and throughout life. Deskin encourages students to create groups through their “Maker’s Clubs to enhance their mental powers. And she also believes that athletics and competition help strengthen the body and a student’s motivation. When students compete, they see all levels of competencies up to and including excellence. Seeing excellence allows them to see what they can accomplish in the future.