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EAST INITIATIVE

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services

Mission: Vision: The EAST Initiative will be the leading provider and advocate of innovative, transformational education that prepares students to succeed globally. Mission: The EAST Initiative accomplishes this by serving as a catalyst for transformational education through the implementation, training and support of local EAST programs in schools that focus on the EAST pillars of service-based, technology-driven, student-led, collaborative learning.

Results: The EAST model is grounded in solid pedagogical theory related to the use of technology as a catalyst for learning, collaborative learning, and performance-based learning. In the EAST model: -The use of technology promotes collaboration, higher order thinking, and problem solving. -Professional development is an important component of the education technology program. -Technology is effectively integrated into the curriculum. -Students independently select appropriate technology tools to obtain, analyze, synthesize and assimilate information. -Home/school connections are enhanced through the use of technology. -All students have adequate access to technology. -Teachers encourage students to utilize technology to find and make sense of information. Read more research and positive impact data at this link: http://www.eastinitiative.org/aboutcontact/research.aspx

Target demographics: youth accelerate their education through service and technology

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 25,000 students in five states with an overall impact of over 175,000 youth since 1996.

Geographic areas served: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana and Pennsylvania

Programs: EAST is education accelerated by service and technology. EAST inspires change. Through EAST, students are empowered with technology, by encouraging critical thinking and creative problem-solving and by engaging them in positive, real-world experiences. EAST advocates lifelong learning and community service so that participants can become positive agents of change to improve the world around them. A nonprofit organization headquartered in Little Rock, EAST currently serves more than 250 schools in four states. Additionally, EAST offers training to students and professional development for EAST educators and all classroom teachers, regardless of subject area or grade level.

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

EAST has helped me learn extremely beneficial skills that can be used in my everyday life. I have learned public speaking skills, how to present myself in a professional atmosphere, and how to partner and communicate with other organizations. I am so glad I became an EAST student and I can't wait to see how I can use these skills in my future. -Student at White Hall High School

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a proud employee of EAST and have been for over 9 years! Every day, I get to work with a team of talented, passionate individuals to unique educational opportunities for our students and facilitators. EAST is a life-changing experience for anyone who gets involved with this organization.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My son experienced EAST at Pulaski Heights Middle School in Little Rock. What a fantastic way for students to learn real world problem solving skills and communication skills. I cannot begin to tell you how important this type of experience is for our youth. As an employer who hires 10-15 young adults every year, a student with EAST experience goes to the top of the list automatically because of how the program enables students to think on their feet both subjectively and objectively.

The only other way to get this type of experience at a young age is to get a job!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of being involved with EAST as a staff member for almost 20 years. I've never worked with a more passionate group of people who are genuinely committed to providing the highest level of service, support, and experiences for the EAST network. Students are empowered to innovate and make an impact in their communities through projects. The individual's growth and the projects as a result of this educational approach are beyond impressive.

Emily H.9

Client Served

Rating: 5

EAST has played a huge role in my life in problem-solving, community outreach, software skills, public speaking, management, and countless other areas. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without EAST!!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Full disclosure: I have been the Sr. Director of Accounting at EAST since February. In that time, I have been blown away by how much emphasis our team places on supporting each other so that we in turn can provide the best support to our facilitators and ultimately to our learners.

I am also the parent of a first-year EAST student and have the privilege of seeing the positive impact that our program has on her. She is challenged and excited to learn at the same time. What more could a parent ask for?

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In typical classrooms all students solve the same made up problems. EAST provides real-world opportunities for students to solve real-world problems for real clients. This is such a different mindset than the typical classroom and I think a much needed shift in the educational mindset overall. Students are capable of making a difference in our communities today. They just need to be given the opportunity, freedom, and encouragement to do it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST allows every student to grow and soar in their areas of interest! The sky is the limit when these students take ownership of the program. The picture of the student on the left-She created a presentation of fill in the blank slides to help her classmates practice their public speaking skills. The picture on the right-She won a NASA HUNCH video contest promoting Career and Technical Education. The list of “wins” is endless and priceless!!

Amy L.8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative has reinvented the educational system. When my daughter was in 5th grade, she was placed in a class called EAST and I had no idea what it was (I was an elementary music teacher and had never heard of EAST).... fast forward 13 years. Now, I'm in my 3rd year as an EAST facilitator and I couldn't be more proud of my work. In EAST, students take control of their own education. They self-direct everything from the topic they're passionate about to what technology to use (and how to use it) to when to reach out to a client or community partner. The work is all service based in their own communities, working on real-world problems, and they have the most current high-end technology in software and hardware available to them.

None of these opportunities would be available to our students, in the public school setting, if it weren't for the EAST Initiative.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am entering my sixth year as an EAST facilitator ar Morrilton High School. As a facilitator, I get to help students grow by working on community service projects that they come up with and decide how to solve. This is the EAST model: students working on something they are passionate about using the latest technology available. My students love this class because it is one of the few times they are asked to take full responsibility for their learning and decision making. The support that the EAST Initiative offers both its facilitators and its students is top notch. Students can attend training sessions led by the best in their fields with true knowledge of how the software and hardware works. This is a model I wish was used in more places in education.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

What do you get when you turn the traditional classroom model upside down?

Everything we want from our students (critical thinking, empathy, collaboration, problem solving) is all in one place. It's the place where students beg to be -- It's rewarding, it's challenging, and it's fun.

It's a project based learning initiative with an emphasis in technology -- It's EAST

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST is an organization with an impact! I love observing how they foster student creativity and encourage them to dream big.

While the staff is small, they fill the shoes of an even bigger staff with ease. The EAST Experts know their stuff, and I'm eager to see EAST spread like wildfire over the coming years.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

EAST is a wonderful program that teaches children and young adults to design their own learning program. It helps them learn to stay on task, self-direct in areas that they need more growth and training, and to have a vision for helping the community and those around them. EAST Initiative provides professional-grade software and the training needed to understand it to children who, in a few years, will be the leaders in our cities and towns. These students will have knowledge that the regular classroom cannot provide.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an EAST facilitator I've seen how this organization changes students and communities. Kids who lack motivation or direction acquire skills and new goals through technology and the applied sciences associated with community service projects. The organization strives to match scholarships and grants with the schools so everyone has an opportunity to upgrade or improve their resources. I CONSTANTLY hear from parents, kids, and community leaders that EAST is an outstanding program.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a recent recipient of their EAST Upgrade Grant, this organization is more than deserving of their rating due to every penny being reinvested back into the program, its Facilitators, and most importantly - the kids!

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

As a EAST facilitator, in a very low socio-economic district, it is the most amazing thing to see some of these kids succeed for the first time, even on the simple things. I get to see some of these kids come out of their shells and start to grow as a person. I really do get chills up my spine when I see these kids acomplish something of their own, often for the first time. The EAST is amazing.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative is absolutely life changing. Coming from a small town where there was no future in sight, the EAST Initiative gave me an opportunity that I could never repay. This company is extraordinary and I will never be able explain in words the appreciation I have for them. Giving students the experience of a student driven, project based environment truly helps to see what the real world is like. I can honestly say, "If it were not for the EAST Initiative, I would not be where I am today. I was ready for college and ready for my career because EAST gave me the skills needed to get here. Thank you to all the amazing people who believed and still believe in students like me."

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In EAST, students take initiative to become contributing members of their community. They identify problems and collaborate with their peers to find solutions using resources that are available.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

EAST grows students to their fullest potential and serves their community in invaluable ways. EAST embraces student driven projects and infuses the latest technology while focusing on the community.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Awesome program! Something for everyone! Students want to be a part of a program where they have a choice and a voice!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

EAST provides opportunities for my students to become self-directed, collaborative learners.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST gives students the tools needed to succeed in life. I have inly been a facilitator for a few months and I can already see the difference in my students.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

EAST helps students to discover their potential in ways that are different from a "traditional" classroom. It opens them to possibilities that they may not realize are available to them. It gives them confidence in themselves and what they are capable of creating and achieving.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The opportunities EASTInitiative provides to learners is beyond pale. EAST creates problem solvers and productive members of society. Students use this class and the opportunities provided to solve complex problems on a daily basis. It has been my experience that the students in the program are helpful, intuitive, and inquisitive in the subject which interests them the most.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

East gives the typical "troubled" student multiple opportunities to excel in areas that will apply to real life after high school, while simultaneously expanding creativity for all students in which they have the chance to perform selfless acts.

2 Christopher53

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST afford students from all different backgrounds to succeed and work at their on pace. Students are offered the opportunity to create their own tools to solve real world problems that they are passionate about.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST emerges the student in self directed learning. I have seen May classes that say this, but this is the only one that truly does.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST fulfills the three basic needs every classroom teacher wants but few are given: The students are provided with opportunity, tools and time. The program is about the students, not the marketing of instructional materials or out-of-touch exams. The EAST classroom expects the best from every student, recognizing each individual's pluses, without subtracting their so-called minuses. Students are encouraged, motivated, and yes, nudged into reaching higher and further than they thought they could go. No student idea is minimized - no 'far-fetched' concept is discounted. EAST students are given the great gift of respect, whether in elementary or high school. Skills learned in EAST can transform a community. Students with an EAST background can change the world.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST is an amazing class where all students are given the opportunity and tools to address real problems in their communities. The EAST class environment provides various technologies for students to use as they attempt to solve problems. As students dive in to solving these issues, they begin to make connections with community leaders and organizations. The EAST staff in Little Rock do a phenomenal job training teachers to run an EAST class. They also do an amazing job training students in various technologies. Please check out EASTinitiative.org for more information about this unique organization.

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a facilitator for east initiative for just a few months and I have already seen how this program empowers children to make decisions, lead other students, solve problems, and get involved in ways they never thought they could. I am a firm believer of the flipped classroom or the fact that kids learn best when they are the ones responsible for gaining their own knowledge with the assistance of a facilitator. EAST is all of that and more rolled into a classroom that puts the technology in their hands to help them solve the issues of today. My favorite thing is that the technology is secondary to the life long skills that problem based learning allows the students to develop in a very real setting. I wish all classes could have this structure!!!

2

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been involved in public education for over 26 years. This is the first organization I have found that is truly in it for the students. They give way more than they require from the schools that have an EAST program. The materials, support and program concept are all top notch and have opened a world of opportunities for our students. Our students can build a better world with the encouragement they get in EAST.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative program is challenging our students to become responsible civic leaders and an asset to our community. Their innovative teaching strategies allows students use problem solving and advance technology to develop excellent opportunities for our youth.

2 John282

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST is a powerful initiative that is designed with student achievement at the forefront. Students engage in real world learning that involves in-depth interaction with community leaders. EAST makes education real! The potential students have, within the constructs of EAST, is limitless. The students rise above their standards and achieve to a level that they only dreamed possible.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EAST Initiative is an organization placed within the Little Rock community, as well as multiple school districts in Arkansas. EAST is designed to help the community using advanced technology systems. From ARCGis, to Blender, to Final Cut Pro, EAST is designed to teach students tools used in everyday life. The organization as a whole has a great impact on the entire state of Arkansas

2 Breonna E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative is a program that has transformed the way students learn and develop. The students of EAST take charge of their own learning! This unique educational model gives them the time and opportunity to explore technologies and soft skills to help themselves, their schools, and their communities. By taking control of their own learning, these students develop the confidence and motivation to take on the most complex projects.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative family has given my students many opportunities for growth. Teaching in a rural school district limits these students to access to many things, however, with EAST they are able to explore the many different areas for educational adventures. They are given plenty the freedom to do things and if they fail...it's OK!!! The greatest joy is when I see young EAST students go out and spread their wings after graduation! Hopefully my grandkids will enjoy EAST when it is their turn:)

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative has given my students the wonderful opportunity to learn to use professional -grade technology to solve real-life problems that affect our community. EAST has broadened their view of our place in society, giving them the skills to help their neighbors in ways they never thought possible. Now, EAST students @ Sulphur Rock look beyond "what is wrong" to "what can be done to make this better." That vision has empowered them to become active members of the community, even at the ripe old ages of 9-12.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative has provided my students with a unique learning environment where no student is afraid to try. The students are much more motivated than in a regular classroom and are benefiting the community at the same time. My students beg to work after school and during the summer. They amaze me more everyday with what they accomplish.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative has had a profound impact on me and my children. My kids enrolled in EAST in High school and learned more in that class than they did in the rest of their classes combined. My kids learned to design websites, take amazing photographs, and use some pretty awesome software I can't even spell. The impressive part to me, wasn't the technology they learned to use, it was why they learned to use it. The EAST program pushed my kids to use the technology to help others through community service projects. I wish all children could get to experience EAST.

3

Advisor

Rating: 5

The EAST Initiative is a quality, STEM education organization that has impacted not only students, but communities across the nation. EAST students are bright, innovative and ready to take on real-world challenges through critical thinking and focus on developing civic-minded youth. EAST is making a difference one student and community at a time by preparing students with 21st Century skills.