by Brian Watkins
Oak Creek Academy of Killeen, TX is home to a wider variety of students than some schools, notably in having programs for children with Autism and Aspberger’s to learn at their own pace. The school educates students of all ages and all abilities. Director Tracy Fogle Hanson is passionate about guiding youth to become productive adults.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Becky Isbell about some recent projects that made this school bigger and better than ever.
This past August, the administration decided to move Oak Creek Academy into a larger school that had been closed some time before. The extra space would definitely be a plus moving forward. Several of the students, including Becky’s son, were excited about the idea of sitting in classrooms with windows. Being able to see outside and enjoy natural light is great for learning and imagination, as well as the positive effects natural light has on mood.
Local BNI chapters scheduled a work day to help move everything from desks and chairs to classroom supplies. Members also repainted classrooms and hallways to give the school a fresh look. And for those windows everyone was excited about? Window Genie volunteered their time to clean all the windows throughout the building to ensure everything was clear and safe.
Once the building itself was ready, the next phase of the project involved building a stronger library. Initially Oak Creek Academy had between 50-100 books, which would not be enough for a growing number of students. Becky, who oversees 10 chapters (and over 200 members) decided to hold a book drive.
The initial expectation was 200 books of any kind – which would mean each member on average would give one book. It was a fair assumption and would definitely help the students. But how many books were they actually able to collect?
The answer is a testament to the power of networks coming together for the community. BNI collected a whopping 1500 books, which completely filled two vehicles to transport them to the school.
In one swoop Oak Creek Academy went from having a modest collection to a solid array of literature. These new books covered a little bit of everything, fiction stories to educational reading. Becky says there’s a possible grant coming up this October that may allow the school to acquire even more books.