Mission and History

Challenger Space Shuttle CrewComets ChalkboardASTEC High School Student Photo


The Vision

The Vision of ASTEC is to have scholars interacting in a classroom that focuses on the Core Values of Content, Character, Competency, and Community. 

ASTEC focuses on four core values called the he Four C's. They include:

• Content and instruction are research-based and integrate math, science, and technology into a liberal arts curriculum. Teachers use data-driven experiential teaching models that cross subject-matter boundaries. Teachers and scholars explore the relevancy of the material through classroom simulations.

• The Character traits of integrity, compassion, passion, and responsibility are essential elements for successful living. These traits are modeled by all employees and are recognized and rewarded when achieved by scholars.

• The Competency skills of teamwork, communication, and critical/creative thinking are embedded in the experiential teaching model of ASTEC.

• The value of Community reflects the beliefs, character, judgments, acts, and efforts of this vision.

ASTEC provides a safe environment where learners are encouraged to dream, explore and discover. Scholars understand that regardless of background or ability when reaching for their highest potential, they can experience peace, prosperity, and personal accountability. The ASTEC community reflects the beliefs, characters, judgments, acts, and efforts of this vision.

The History

In 1986, with limited capital and personal funds, Dr. Freda Deskin began the program currently known as the Advanced Science and Technology Education Center (ASTEC), Inc./ASTEC Charter Schools. Dr. Deskin began with a few summer camps while she was a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma (OU). These programs evolved into year-round, comprehensive educational entities.

The summer camps began at Oklahoma City University (OCU) in rented space. After three years, it became a part of the University of Oklahoma's College of Continuing Education under the name Oklahoma Aerospace Academy. Five years after transferring to OU, the program moved back to OCU as the Aerospace Science and Technology Education Department, operating as a strategic business unit responsible for its own funding when Dr. Freda Deskin was recruited to be a dean there.

In October 1999, with the blessings of OCU, Dr. Deskin and an ASTEC Advisory Board began the process of becoming a separate entity from Oklahoma City University in order to make an application to become the state's first "start-up" charter school. In March 2000, ASTEC filed with the IRS to become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit educational corporation and formed ASTEC. On April 1, 2000, ASTEC became a separate entity with its own governing board.

As an award-winning public school teacher, Dr. Deskin had long been concerned with the increasing need to better prepare youth for responsible citizenship and success in the workforce of tomorrow. In 1985, Dr. Deskin was selected as a finalist in NASA's "Teacher-in-Space" program. She and her colleagues were given the official title of "Space Ambassadors" and received training at various NASA centers, including the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

After the Challenger accident, "Teacher-in-Space" merged with the National Challenger Center for Space Science Education, a foundation established by the family members of the Challenger crew. NASA and the Challenger Center continue to work closely, providing materials and on-going training for the Space Ambassadors. Dr. Deskin's expertise in curriculum and instruction has been an asset to the Challenger Center as she has served in the capacity of curriculum developer, advisor, consultant, and National Faculty member.

Dr. Deskin and her staff continue the dream of Christa McAuliffe and the Challenger crew, developing innovative programs and materials using the themes of science, technology, engineering, and math as tools to prepare citizens for the 21st century.

ASTEC Public Charter Middle School became the first "start-up" charter school in Oklahoma in 2000. What started with 100 sixth and seventh grade scholars and five employees, grew to more than 1,000 scholars and nearly 100 employees. ASTEC students continue to thrive and make their mark in the world.

Scholars who attend ASTEC are from areas throughout greater Oklahoma City.

Scholars are immersed in a learning environment that not only fosters intellectual growth, but promotes inclusion and equity. Our scholars thrive in a close-knit family environment at ASTEC. In a climate of acceptance and respect, scholars respect the voice they have been given to become the leaders they are meant to be.

Having cultivated an atmosphere of tolerance, ASTEC assures that the values and skills of every scholar is respected. Our policy also means scholars are exposed to a multicultural curriculum which fosters a better understanding of the differences among beliefs of people from various cultures around the world.