Conference 2009

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Founder's Award Judging Criteria & Application Packet

By submitting a Letter of Intent by the deadline, you have nominated your program to become a candidate for the Founder’s Award. Following are the criteria and submission instructions.

Judging Criteria

When planning and developing the presentation (video or presentation) the overall concept is for you to “tell your story.” Each EAST program is unique. Use this to your advantage. We strongly encourage you to be creative, find a way to tell your story that best fits your program’s personality, past, and pathway. If you choose to use advanced technology components, understand that it has to fit. Using technology for the sake of “shock-and-awe” can easily work against you. Please review the Founder’s winner of last year along with the three Programs of Excellence to get a better understanding of the range of possibilities.

1. Student Growth - Is the EAST classroom providing a positive educational environment that promotes student growth?

One of the more significant ways in which EAST sets itself apart from other educational programs is that it focuses on the individual growth and development of every student that enters the classroom. No matter where the student's ability lies when entering, the student is expected and pushed to grow. This category is concerned with evidence that identifies such a learning environment.

Please provide evidence that:

  • Shows specific examples of student growth within or outside of the EAST classroom
  • Includes excerpts or quotes from students who feel that EAST has had a positive effect in their lives
  • Shows Support from Principal, Facilitator, Other Teachers, Counselor, Parent, or Others
  • Demonstrates that your EAST program is helping to change lives both directly and indirectly

Student growth is possibly the most difficult to show; however, it is the strongest demonstration of the power of EAST principles. We encourage you to spend ample time in developing this component. While there is indeed an expected balance between all components, the underlying concept is how all of the tenants that make EAST effective are evident in student growth.

2. Service & Collaboration - What impact has the EAST program’s service made? Is the EAST classroom effectively collaborating with other programs/classes in their school, other EAST schools and/or other educational entities or businesses? Is there a noticeable difference in the atmosphere because of EAST? What would be lost if your EAST program were to cease to function? What evidence exists that demonstrates support for your EAST program?

Please provide as many of the following that are possible and relevant. Brief narrative summaries of several of these categories will suffice where a specific document is not available.

  • Interaction with community members
  • Detail media coverage
  • Community/Other awards received
  • Presentation opportunities
  • Letters/Interviews from community leaders and/or members
  • Letters/Interviews from school principal and/or superintendent
  • Brief project descriptions that have had an impact on community
  • Examples of Collaboration with EAST schools (required)
    • Programs/classes in your school or district
    • Other educational entities
    • Local or national businesses
    • Other
  • Alliances/partnerships that have evolved
  • Other examples of Collaboration and Community Achievement

3. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving - How have your students faced obstacles in the development of their projects? How have they worked through the problems (strategies) that they have encountered in their EAST experience? What has this led them to understand about themselves, their educational experiences, and their communities? Are there examples of students modifying initial plans/actions following project issues? Has there been success from previously avoided projects or problems? Did something simple net huge results? Are there failures that resulted in positive outcomes?

Please provide specific examples of students' methodologies in addressing complex issues and the reflection that either led to or resulted from their decisions, in the use of higher level thinking skills for problem solving.

Include multiple examples which illustrate the processes and successes within your program. How are EAST students using higher order thinking skills within your EAST community? Demonstration is more powerful than discussion.

In retrospect, describe the impact this process has had upon their understanding of formal analysis of community problems.

Application Packet

A complete Application Packet includes two major components; Portfolio and Presentation.

1. Portfolio - The portfolio provides documentation and evidence of the criteria mentioned above. All documentation should be organized in a binder that does not exceed 2 inches (incorrect size results in disqualification – so yes – it is important) in the following layout:

  • Application Summary - This should be a cover letter encompassing the judging criteria detailed above and an explanation of what the judges will be viewing in the Application Portfolio and Presentation. This narrative application summary is limited to a maximum of 1,000 words.
  • Table of Contents
  • Telling Your Story of EAST (please reference evidence in the appendix)
    • Student Growth (2-4 pages)
    • Community Service & Collaboration (2-4 pages)
    • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (2-4 pages)
  • Appendix
  • Pocket – Contains the Application Presentation (Details below) and a signed Video Release form.

We suggest you include various examples from numerous projects that support the judging criteria.

The judges will be looking for the "total package" with an eye to the educational environment that makes such student achievement possible, not just one project. Please address all of the criteria even if your program strengths lie in just one or two areas. Only schools that address all of the judging criteria will be considered for the awards.

Remember that there are numerous Founder's Award Nominees, and although the committee is dedicated to being thorough, their time is limited. Please be as concise as possible! Remember, bigger is not always better.

Tip: Test the portfolio with someone outside the program. Can they get an overall conception of the program via the summary? Does the story have a good flow? Is there interest peaked leading them to look deeper through the appendix materials? Is the entire program represented? Ask someone to give an overview after reviewing the portfolio. Did they miss important events? Did they miss the story? Watch them review; do they have to go back and re-read? What are their expressions and body language saying?

Note: Please note that all items submitted as part of this application packet will not be returned. Good quality copies of items (newspaper articles, letters, etc.) are encouraged so you may retain the originals as documentation in your classroom.

2. Presentation - Each nominee is also required to submit a video presentation that highlights how their program currently addresses each of the judging criteria as well as a brief look to the future of the program. This presentation must be in the following format:

  1. Video - If you decide to create your presentation in PowerPoint format it must be converted to video before submitted. Please consider MovieMaker over PowerPoint. In the end, we need a video.
  2. At least five (5) minutes and no longer than seven (7) minutes.
  3. Excellent sound quality (levels, minimal background noise, proper music mix/levels when used, etc.)
  4. Submitted on DVD – This must play on a standard home DVD player. Make sure to test this on multiple players before submitting. If it does not play, it cannot be judged.

Applications will not be considered for an award if this presentation does not meet the requirements listed above. Situations have arisen every year that have resulted in program disqualification stemming from lack of adherence to the basic guidelines – these are important!

We realize this is a short amount of time to demonstrate the vastness of your program, and again encourage you to be concise and focus on the absolute best key elements of your program and not get lost in the details of the individual projects. The content is most important within the presentation.

The judging committee will view your Application Presentation first and then review your Application Portfolio. The Portfolio will be used to provide additional documentation and verify information in the Presentation.

This presentation, once submitted, is the final version and cannot be updated once received. If your program wins, this presentation will be shown at the Award’s Banquet. No editing will be allowed after submission.

After the Conference, EAST may also use this video as a promotional tool which requires a signed release from your school. This signed release needs to be submitted in the pocket of the Application Portfolio.

Video Release Form

Application Packet Submission

Application Packets (portfolio and presentation) must be RECEIVED by Wednesday, January 28th. Packets received after January 28th will not be eligible for the competition. If delivering in person, the EAST Office must have them no later than 5:00 PM, CST.

Please send to:

Founder's Award Committee
c/o EAST Initiative
8201 Ranch Boulevard, Suite B-1
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Need a Founder’s Award Submission Checklist?

_______ Submitted letter of intent by November 12th.
_______ Portfolio does not exceed the confinement of a 2 inch binder
_______ Portfolio has the correct layout
_______ Copy portfolio contents / retain originals
_______ All of the judging criteria is addressed within the portfolio and presentation
_______ Video plays on multiple standard home DVD players
_______ Signed Video Release Form is included in the portfolio
_______ The entire submission tells the story of our EAST program
_______ The complete Application Packet was received by the EAST office by 5pm on  January 28th.

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