Many people in GISD leadership and faculty share great praise for the Sun City community, which has been a critical partner to the District.
While many regular mentors, volunteers, and supporters have had to pause due to COVID concerns, Dr. Brent says the example set by Sun City residents is one of the things he loves most about Georgetown.
“First to mind is our Tango Flight aeronautical engineering class. There are as many mentors as there areDr. Fred Brent
students in that class, all walking side-by-side to build, market, and sell an FAA-certified airplane every year.”
He also mentions the Sun City Kiwanis Club and the speed with which they respond whenever a student is in need. Dr. Brent recalls, “The club members were made aware of a student with significant financial needs that, if not met, would force the student to withdraw from school to work for his family business. When Kiwanis heard this, they generated several thousand dollars to help him and his whole family so he could stay in school. Remarkably, they never met him and didn’t even know his name; just heard through the District that there was a need, and they took it upon themselves to help this young man stay in school.”
In 2014, the Georgetown Education Foundation, with help from local community members, renewed its commitment to the District and has been growing strong ever since. Dr. Brent says, “We had re-started the rocketry and cosmetology programs, and we were working toward Sea-Perch, but we needed additional funding. Many of our Foundation board members live in Sun City and they immediately got to work to support the launch. The results included Fifty Fellas Foodfest, which was a huge hit with the community and generated a great deal of interest in the Foundation itself. Since then, the Foundation has been able to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into our Innovative Teaching grants.”
Foundation grants have been very successful, and popular. One project in particular singularly reflects the goals of the program—a grant that provided flexible furniture in an elementary classroom. Benefits were soon realized and a bond election provided the flex-furniture for every elementary school classroom in the District. In 2020, teachers received funding for everything from sensory-friendly learning spaces and multicultural awareness to drones and high-powered telescopes.
Dr. Brent adds, “I’m really proud our school board knows how to address the whole child. We are pursuing new assessment strategies that allow us to track student growth over time, and we’ve see that growth within our instructional programs. I love that the Board, our Foundation, and the community recognize the need for improvement, but they are not willing—and we are intentional—about not compromising the experience of the whole child while we pursue academic excellence.”
He is pleased so many supporters in Sun City, and throughout the community, appreciate a holistic approach, and remain concerned about the wellness of students.