Educational opportunities are offered to Garland High School Students that are not offered to high school students anywhere else in the state of Texas and in most places in the USA at the Gilbreath Reed Career and Technical Center.
This Garland ISD public facility offers more than 90 advanced-level CTE courses for high school juniors and seniors. Opportunities include:
- new programs of study in dentistry and firefighting
- a real-world stock market ticker for on-the-job training
- the state's first cyber security courses
- never before offered courses in veterinary medicine, architecture, business, fashion design and marketing, logistics, pharmacology, robotics and more
Those of us hoping to bring a makerspace with its educational opportunities for a collaborative educational environment to adult Garland residents and children are looking for alliances in our city to build a makerspace. It would appear that some in our City Council are bent on ignoring all considerations of consequences to taxpayers and are rushing ahead to demolish 38,000 square feet of classroom space (valued at a conservative taxpayer replacement estimate of $11 million). We are still hoping that other residents of Garland will come forth to support sustainable alternatives to the destruction of these buildings.
In our quest to seek answers as to how we might be able to work with educational institutions, businesses, and manufacturing groups who are more open to adult education and innovation in our community than many on our City council have thus far demonstrated themselves to be, we took a tour on October 10 of the Gilbreath Reed Career and Technical Center right here in Garland at 4885 N President George Bush Hwy, Garland, TX 75040.
Clinton Elsasser, Assistant Principal Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center
It was a fabulous tour of this wonderful facility—open now for just about seven weeks. Clinton Elsasser, Assistant Principal, led the tour and he was as interesting and engaging as the facility. Believe me, you needed a bushel of star-power to even stand beside the glittering enchantment of this educational facility.
The Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center is a wonderful educational environment offering such a broad range of unique educational opportunities for students who are lucky enough to live in Garland ISD that I’m at a loss to even begin to try to write about them. Thus I’ll provide links to more detailed descriptions of this place and its wonderful opportunities for education for high school students.
Please access that link as well as their website for a more complete picture than I might offer from my own personal viewpoint of this tour. http://www.garlandisd.net/content/gilbreath-reed-career-and-technical-center
What follows are only my impressions and memories of aspects of this hour-long tour on October 10 and I doubt my impressions can even begin to touch on the huge scope and implications for education offered by this educational institution.
Educational Principles And Facilities Layout of the Gilbreath-Reed Center Mirror those of a Makerspace
Throughout the tour I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the educational principles followed as explained by Clint along with the layout and division of classroom space with those same principles and designs of a makerspace. So many of the features of this new 21st century educational institution are reflective of the typical makerspace environment and educational values—particularly the way it emphasizes the important role of collaboration and its close relationship to resulting innovation.
According to Clint, the high school students at the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center are not allowed to isolate. Thus throughout the building you will see various spaces marked as areas for collaboration. These areas are often nooks and crannies by stairwells and the like—areas that in many architectural designs are considered “wasted space.” At the Gilbreath-Reed Career Center these spaces are identified with Collaboration signs. In addition to comfy seating space, these areas also include large white boards. I’m sure that Steve Jobs is smiling down on the Gilbreath-Reed Career Center.
Alex Rhodes, Dallas Makerspace
Innovative Possibility Arises on Our Tour
Just proving the point of what a stimulating educational environment we have in this wonderful educational facility, Alex Rhodes (a member of the Dallas Makerspace) in response to a comment made by Clint suggested that a bus the Dallas Makerspace owns be converted by the students at the Gilbreath-Reed Center into a portable Makerspace Center that we can bring to the community. I’ll be sure to follow up on the development of this inspiration.
Other Spaces at the Gilbreath-Reed Center:
The place is simply beautiful, spacious and inspiring. Truly you should see for yourself to fully appreciate it. This educational facility is available for use by any high school students living in the Garland ISD and thus makes a very good case for choosing Garland if you have school age children. This public Garland ISD facility has a capacity for approximately 3,200 students and currently in its first year is at about 50%--that won’t last once parents fully grasp what is being offered here. If you are moving to the area and have high school students in your family, better visit the Gilbreath-Reed Center before making your decision.
Sampling of Various Labs at the Gilbreath-Reed Center
A place where students have a home set up that they can learn how to wire for electricity
A lab where students can learn all about animals and have hands-on experience suturing wounds
A lab where students can practice filling prescriptions and talking with customers--the drugs the students handle are all simulated and not actual drug products.
A lab where students can learn dressmaking skills
A lab that opens with electronic ticker tape running real time with only a 15 minute delay from the Wall Street bell - a lab with screen displays that allow students to compare their selections with those of other students.
As mentioned in the disclaimer: For the full listing of all the opportunities available to students at this facility: http://www.garlandisd.net/sites/default/files/gisdfiles/programs/documents/g-rctc_courses_by_cluster.pdf
I was really pleased with this facility. As our Mayor Athas pointed out, this facility reaches out to so many students who might not otherwise have the opportunity for such excellent training. Some of the skills that students learn at this facility will put them in jobs that immediately pay them a living wage and better – right out of high school. We have many colleges today that can’t even do that.
However, although perhaps planned for the future, this facility does not currently offer courses geared for adult education and maker education for children ages K -10.
Our group will continue to seek to establish such an educational space to meet this need in our community.