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Southwest Key: Why should Austin embrace its creative side?
Southwest Key

December, 2011

EAPrep Forefront Austin  
  Creativity Banner  

A Message from Southwest Key & East Austin College Prep:

This month, as East Austin College Prep partners once more with Forefront Austin, we explore the value of creativity in Austin.

Read on to see a variety of perspectives, including one from EAPrep, which discuss the impact of our creative culture, as well as creative approaches and solutions implemented by Austin organizations.

Austin and creativity go together like hipsters in a honky tonk, Willie and Darrell, and pianos on a running trail. Anywhere else they wouldn't make any sense. But here, those combinations create magic that just can't be copied and bottled.
The key to Austin's creativity is that the vibe is about much more than icons or great marketing slogans—it's the secret sauce that opens worlds of opportunities for our community to grow, thrive and lead.
This month, Forefront Austin partners demonstrate how creatively they are fueling innovative solutions, new ideas and unique approaches to continually improve the city we call home.
Read on to see creativity at play in all corners of Austin:

CommunityLand UseSustainability

  Feature Perspectives  

Dr. Joe Gonzales

EA Prep

New Education Models: A Community Committed to Success
By Dr. Joe Gonzales, Superintendent, East Austin College Prep
Albert Einstein (who had some creative ideas of his own) said that insanity is doing the same thing again and again but expecting a different result. When an East Austin community realized that repeating the same failed educational reforms again and again would never improve their neighborhood schools, it implemented a new approach. In four short videos, discover how East Austin College Prep applied new and creative educational models to bring new hope to Austin's Govalle-Johnston Terrace community, where more than 90 percent of children are considered economically disadvantaged. With high expectations and wrap-around services for students, parental involvement and committed teachers, this charter school's new approach is making a positive impact on one of Austin's most troubled neighborhoods. Watch Videos Now >>

Dr. Andrew Kim

Manor ISD

Extreme School Makeover: How Technology Can Reboot Schools
By Dr. Andrew Kim, Superintendent, Manor Independent School District "Form or function?" is perhaps the most enduring question in centuries of architecture. Manor Independent School District recently applied that question to their school buildings, ushering in dramatic structural changes in an old high school that would serve to better guide and prepare students for the demands of the 21st century. At Manor ISD's New Tech High School, they took out walls, moved teachers away from the front of the classroom, created new report cards and built a working environment for project-based learning. In this article, Superintendent Andrew Kim discusses how aligning MNTH's new building form is serving the function of advanced academic achievement.

Mike McMahan

The First Tee Greater Austin

Changing Ground: How a Floodplain is Teaching Life Skills
By Michael McMahan, Board President The First Tee of Greater Austin
What do you get when you combine a landfill with golf and lower income kids? Most people would scratch their head and suggest selling the land to build a strip mall. But The First Tee of Greater Austin saw tremendous opportunity combine these seemingly disparate elements into a program to transform lives. Watch this video to see how TFTGA's vision creatively transformed an eyesore—a landfill unsuitable for development —into a public golf course that is teaching children life skills and changing our community >>

Bob Lander


Solid Gold. The Business of Austin's Creative Sector
By Bob Lander, President & CEO, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Austin's live music, museums, festivals and events are a lot of fun for those of us who live here. Visitors love them just as much—and they are willing to pay for it. The funds generated through creative sector tourism keeps Austin employed, supports facilities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and keeps Austin's creative vibe pulsing for all to enjoy. See this infographic on the economic impact of Austin's creative sector>>

Forefront Austin

Austin's Creative Business Culture: Why Suits and Tutus Go Hand-in-Hand
By Amy Lemen for Forefront Austin
Savvy business leaders have many of the same characteristics as prima ballerinas and symphony composers—originality, creativity and a conviction that what you are doing with change the world. Especially in Austin, creativity is the stuff of commerce and business that is improving our lives qualitatively AND quantitatively. See how the business of Austin is about as creative as it gets in this article >>



Catch and Release Austin
By Blake Ann Seeker, Student Showcase Winner
St. Michael's Catholic Academy Student Showcase
Sponsored by CompassLearning

Creativity in Austin does not simply exist in the painting on the wall or in the applause at a performance. It can't be captured just in the angle on a building or a painted cow on a sidewalk. It's in the atmosphere that allows people from all walks of life and from all disciplines to fearlessly express themselves and create something unique. In this multimedia art piece, St. Michael's Catholic Academy Forefront Student Showcase winner Blake Ann Seeker offers a vision for the potential waiting in Austin's creative vibe.>>

Debbie Bresette

United Way Capital Area

Closing the Communications Gap: Responding to Central Texas Wildfires
By Debbie Bresette, President, United Way Capital Area
The humble #2 pencil was a technological marvel of its time that launched countless creative ideas. But its continued ubiquity as a tool is not in its form, but in its application.The United Way 2-1-1 Texas Helpline employs another humble tool—the (pre-smart) telephone—in a unique way to improve our communities. Using the most comprehensive database on social services and nonprofit efforts in Central Texas the Helpline provides a central connection between resources to serve Central Texans and those who need them. Read how United Way deployed the 2-1-1 Texas Helpline during the wildfires that ravaged Central Texas in 2011 and how a simple tool, applying in unique ways, served a community in need >>

Etta Moore

Girl Scouts Central Texas

Respect Our Impact
By Etta Moore, CEO, Girl Scouts of Central Texas
There is really only one sure thing amid discussions about global warming and carbon footprints: all this talking is producing a lot of hot air, using oxygen and producing CO2. Instead of adding more hot air to the debate, the Girl Scouts Forever Green program is doing something about minimizing our environmental impacts. Watch these videos and see how Girl Scouts in Central Texas are taking simple steps to create resources that will improve the air we breathe and the communities in which we live >>


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