ASTEC Charter School
A Transformative Impact
Dr. Freda Deskin realized her passion for teaching in the sixth grade. “I was inspired by my teacher. He was ahead of his time. I saw the impact he had on the other students and me.” After decades of teaching in public schools and universities, including founding and directing aerospace camps, Deskin realized that while all positions in education were impactful, the most effective way to support her community was to start her own charter school. In X, she left her position as a university dean to found ASTEC Charter School in Oklahoma City.
A Little Community
ASTEC harnesses the support of local businesses and organizations to provide its students with invaluable resources. “I feel that building partnerships is important in giving our students opportunities that they can’t afford. We really operate like a little community.” This includes access to food pantries, uniform closets, rowing and golf lessons, and even job training opportunities at a nearby Dell location. Above all, ASTEC emphasizes attentive support and awareness of each students’ progress. “We make sure that no one is falling through the cracks.”
Parents in the community soon began to ask for an elementary school. “They felt like their kids were already behind when they enrolled at ASTEC. This way, we could guide them from the beginning.” To construct an entirely new building, ASTEC reached out to Civic Builders for financial support. The school received a $9.6 million FIF loan, which enabled them to pay the remaining costs of its newly purchased land. “Working with Civic Builders was excellent. It felt like it wasn’t just a job for them, that they were really trying to help. They walked us through the whole process. It has been really great to build that relationship that has turned into friendship.”
Dressing the Part
The new elementary school, which opened in fall 2020, includes 15 brand new classrooms for 425 students. The building also features an open office area, multiple playgrounds, and large music and art rooms. Most importantly, the new building enables ASTEC to provide academic and professional support to their students from a much earlier age, support they would likely not receive otherwise. “These parents want a better life for their kids. It takes all of us getting them there because initially they don’t see it around them, so it’s hard to be something when you can’t see something. But now they dress for the role they want.”