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CALENDAR

Upcoming summer events.

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NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR

EAST takes home the prize from Arkansas Business of the Year.

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GEAR

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PARTNERS & SPONSORS

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EAST STAFF

Take a look at the cool new stuff we have for sale!

Thank you to all who sponsor and partner with EAST!

Here’s a little insight into what the staff of EAST is really like. SPRING 2018 | EAST QUARTERLY

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New Schools in 2018-2019

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SCHOOL SPOTLIGHTS

THE

ELEMENTS OF

BY ERIC FRANCIS

A

fire that destroys a classmate’s house. A student population faces daily economic challenges. A critical evaluation finds a program falls short.

These are the sorts of crucibles that give rise to the best of EAST, and at the EAST Conference each year the most outstanding are recognized with the Awards of Excellence in the Founder’s Award competition’s three key areas: project innovation and sophistication, student growth and community collaboration. This is not only an opportunity for EAST to celebrate outstanding achievements from its participating

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schools, but it’s also a gut-check for the schools themselves. That’s because they must self-nominate for the Awards of Excellence. There’s no relying only on the plaudits of others here — the students and facilitators have to be ready to show that they have made substantial accomplishments in these areas. And that means they have to have spent the entire year planning, preparing and performing as best they can. Though EAST may primarily be known to the public at large for introducing students to technology, the Awards of Excellence speak to its deeper foundational values. And this year’s honorees once again exemplify those qualities. These outstanding programs are: Kiamichi Technology Centers in Poteau, Oklahoma, for student growth; Don Roberts Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas, for community collaboration; and Sonora Middle School in Springdale, Arkansas, for project innovation and sophistication.


Award of Excellence in Student Growth Kiamichi Technology Centers, Poteau, Oklahoma Kelly Falkner, EAST Facilitator

The two-year-old EAST program Kelly Falkner facilitates at Kiamichi Technology Center in Poteau, Oklahoma, draws its students from 14 area schools and many layers of hardship.

Falkner. “That’s always been the thing that makes me happiest – that we’re doing something worthwhile, that we’re positive agents of change in education,’’ she said.

Falkner has had students from foster care who have been separated from their siblings, those with Hispanic backgrounds whose families are on unsure footing because of the challenges to the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and an overwhelming majority of students qualify for the free or reduced price lunch program.

The need is evident, she said, when she interviews students who have applied to the program.

“Those are some of the things we’re going through,’’ said Falkner. “[And] in general, the majority of our students are coming from homes that don’t have a lot of technology, some don’t have the internet. So here is the only chance to have exposure to the kind of [skills] they’re going to take on to the next level.’’ In other words, there’s a lot of room for student growth. And that’s exactly why she left 14 years of teaching English to become an EAST facilitator at KTC, said

“I always ask them, ‘How do you describe yourself socially?’ Most of them use the term ‘awkward,’’’ said Falkner. “That’s the thing that fosters student growth,’’ Falkner said. “They came here feeling like loners, awkward, afraid to speak to people, and they turn that into confidence. That’s the big thing for me.’’ Senior Austin Alexander said he was “a shy person, not really outgoing’’ before his first year with EAST as a junior. Now, as he prepares to graduate and head off to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, for U.S. Army basic training, he says he has skills that will help him in his military career. “Working with technology can be very tricky and sometimes

you have to find different ways to do things than you planned,’’ said Austin. “I can step back and think about it, and be more clear in planning what I’m doing. Personally, it will help me stand out more in a leadership role, and if they want me to be a squad leader I will know how to be a good example.’’ The experience was similar for Dylan Rogers, another senior and second-year EAST student. He had previously attended a school he didn’t like and had begun to withdraw during his sophomore year, he said. Then he transferred schools and started attending EAST at KTC as a junior. “I met new people, made new friends, and it helped me to connect with a community and see it was a whole lot better than what I knew,’’ he said. Senior Britney Moreno has also been in the EAST program both years and calls the the class her second family. One of her biggest takeaways from Ban the R Word and other projects, she said, was how it had helped her and her classmates step outside of their comfort zones. “For anybody who doesn’t really know what EAST is about, it isn’t just a place where you sit down and work together,’’ said Britney. “It’s a place where you grow and be your own person and be creative and get along with others, and not feel left out even if you feel completely different from someone else.’’

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Approx. 10 x 10

cinch bags

Approx. 3 x 3

shamrock t-shirt

$5

create t-shirt

$15

tumbler

color change cup

$10

magnet

$2

phone wallet

$3

$15

sticker

$2

HAT

$12

$1

COFFEE CUP

$5

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CAST

Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies

Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design

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East Quarterly Spring 2018  
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