"The EAST Initiative is a bright spot in our historical commitment to STEM education in Arkansas. As one of the founding funders of EAST, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation is excited by the model’s continued growth and the impact it is having on student achievement at nearly 220 schools in five states."
-- Cory Anderson, Vice President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
Since 1996, the EAST Initiative has reached more than 175,000 students with hands-on learning opportunities that have significantly improved student performance on state math and English language arts tests. In addition, the community projects EAST students undertake have had millions of dollars in economic impact in Arkansas alone.
EAST classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art workstations, servers, software and accessories, including GPS/GIS mapping tools, architectural and CAD design software, 3D animation suites, virtual reality developmen,t and more. The focus, however, is not on the technology itself, but on the unique learning environment of the EAST classroom, where students are responsible for creating their own project-based learning experience, guided by an EAST facilitator (a certified teacher trained in the EAST process). EAST aims to prepare students better for both college and the business world. In the process, it seeks to inspire students to care more about learning and serving their communities.
The EAST(R) method has been named a model by the United States Departments of Education and Labor and has research-based results. The non-profit EAST(R) Initiative works with schools and institutions across the country to establish and implement local EAST programs, equipping classrooms, training facilitators and providing technical training for students. 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.
Companies have diverse opportunities to get engaged with EAST. It costs roughly $115,000 over two years to start EAST in a new school, but smaller grants can help strengthen or sustain the project in schools where it is already present. In addition, EAST welcomes STEM professionals as volunteers who can mentor EAST students or offer guidance on community projects.Funders and Partners
Arkansas Department of Education
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.