The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) recently announced the recipients of its 2016-17 Classroom Assistance Grant program, after receiving more than 80 applications from current public educators all across the state of Texas.
TRTF awarded 15 grants this year, and each grant provided $500 for teachers to use on classroom projects.
Two of this year’s recipients work in Austin at Akins High School. Akins High School was named after Dr. W. Charles Akins, a close friend and former colleague of long-serving TRTF Trustee La Vonne Rogers.
“I have known Charles for more than twenty years, and worked more closely with him over the seven or so years we both served on Dr. John Ellis’s Superintendent’s Cabinet,” said Rogers. “During all that time Charles never wavered or changed from being the humble, gracious, polite, smart and funny gentleman that that I have known.”
According to the Akins High School website, where Akins truly distinguishes himself is in “his contributions to one of 20th Century America’s most important societal advancements – equal education for all children.”
Some of Akins’ professional accomplishments include opening the newly integrated L. C. Anderson High School in 1973. He served there until 1982, where he “paved the way for all Austin schools to create communities in which diversity is valued.”
“In more recent years, a new and very beautiful high school was opened in South Austin and was named for him—a very well-deserved honor,” said Rogers.
Allen Hubbard, who teachers Physics at the school, will purchase a high-speed camera for his courses. The Casio Ex-ZR700 will help students conduct experiments in which they obtain video footage and analyze the physics behind the footage. Hubbard finds that his students are “more inclined to be involved in their learning when they have a personal stake in the activity.”
David Stricklen teaches Earth and Science. He will buy an augmented reality sandbox to help his students create topography models and 3D water simulations to learn hydrologic concepts, including flooding and watersheds. These experiments are particularly relevant to Stricklen’s students, many of whom “have been displaced by repeated flooding on Onion Creek.”
Both Akins and Rogers spoke to a small crowd of Hubbard and Stricklen’s fellow teachers. “It was a bit unusual for two such grants be given to two teachers in the same school, and it was also fun to visit with Charles again and to witness the celebration and acceptance of two appreciative teachers for this assistance,” said Rogers. “Charles was very proud, and so were all of the witnesses.”
Akins High School strives to prepare its students for success “in any postsecondary endeavor,” per the school’s website. “Through our Smaller Learning Community structure, students are exposed to college and career pathways while receiving individualized instruction.”
TRTF is pleased to provide assistance to two outstanding teachers who fully embody the mission of Akins High School, the legacy of public education, and who strive to match the diligence of Dr. Akins in their educational efforts.