Dr. Freda Deskin Explains How ASTEC Charter Schools are Unique in Their Approach
Many inner-city kids are considered disadvantaged. They have some of the lowest high school graduation rates. Many don’t continue their education past high school. Reasons for being disadvantaged range from being low-income to not having the support of their parents because parents work long hours to support the family. Freda Deskin, Ph.D., the founder of ASTEC Charter School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, explains how her charter school is capable of overcoming many problems.
The ASTEC Charter School was founded in 2000 by Dr. Freda Deskin. After being a teacher in inner-city schools and rural schools throughout Oklahoma, she realized that many students needed a different approach. Public schools are too often driven by politics. They are mandated to certain guidelines and bureaucracy. However, while charter schools have the same amount of regulations and paperwork, they have less bureaucracy in general.
Dr. Freda Deskin was able to address serious problems with the ASTEC school. The school was the first start-up charter school that served a highly diverse student body along with a 97% poverty rate. Dr. Freda Deskin was able to get into the psychology of why the students were struggling and provide the added support that they needed.
Today, the ASTEC charter schools focus on a few important traits, including character, content, competency, and community. Deskin wanted to ensure that inner-city students were getting the support they needed to succeed. As such, the students are taught about not only content but also character, manners and etiquette. They learn how to be self-sufficient. They also learn about the importance of community in terms of getting support and giving back.
ASTEC Charter Schools serve middle school and high school students. However, September 2019 also made history as it was when ASTEC chose to break ground on its first elementary school. This will provide a higher level of support for high-poverty students, getting the unique educational approach from day one of their endeavors.
Today, ASTEC charter schools are providing education to more than 1000 scholars, and there is a waiting list of several hundred more. The elementary schools, which will open in the fall of 2020 will add 325 more students. What Dr. Freda Deskin has done has given children greater opportunities in and out of the classroom. The STEAM school ensures that students are engaged. They learn about engineering, liberal arts, and entrepreneurship. It ensures that inner-city students who would typically never be given opportunities are given them.
Additionally, a food pantry, a clothing closet, access to free community resources, counseling and resources for ASTEC’s community partnerships, ease the financial burdens for many of these families. This allows students to focus of learning to a greater degree.
The goal has and continues to be to help improve graduation rates and improve lives. It is also to ensure that every graduating senior feels as though they have the entire world in front of them. Dr. Freda Deskin has made it her life’s work to contribute to the community, and ASTEC charter schools have proven that they are capable of making a difference throughout Oklahoma City.