Founder's Awarded, 16 New EAST Schools Announced


Founder's Awarded, 16 New EAST Schools Announced
3/23/2017 12:07:54 PM

Buffalo Island Central High School won the 2017 Timothy R. Stephenson Founder's Award, and 16 schools were announced as adding EAST for the upcoming school year.

The EAST Initiative presented the 2017 Timothy R. Stephenson Founder’s Award to Buffalo Island Central High School, while also welcoming 16 new schools that will establish EAST classrooms next school year. The announcements came during the 2017 EAST Conference, an annual gathering of all EAST schools at the Hot Springs Convention Center.


“The Founder’s Award isn’t a program of the year award passed around from school to school,” said Matt Dozier, president and CEO of the EAST Initiative. “Receiving it signifies achievement in all the core tenants of EAST: using sophisticated technology, collaborating with your community, and students growing through those experiences.


“While Buffalo Island Central is relatively new to EAST, they have excelled, and tremendously so. They deserve and have earned this highest honor we can bestow,” he continued.


EAST at Buffalo Island Central High School is in its third year. It is led by facilitator Jill Sanders.


“It was a surreal moment, to say the least,” said senior Alex Talavera, who presented to competition judges for his school and subsequently delivered that presentation to an audience of more than 3,000 when Buffalo Island Central was named as the winner. “I’m just filled with that feeling of pure satisfaction, knowing how hard we’ve worked all year and all the things we’ve done for our community. To have accomplished this in only three years, I don’t know that it’s sunk in as a reality yet.”


To win the Founder’s Award, schools must submit work showing achievement in three categories: community collaboration, project sophistication and student growth.  Each category also comes with its own individual Award of Excellence. The winners of these category awards were:


  • Community Collaboration: Nettleton High School
  • Project Sophistication: Armorel High School
  • Student Growth: Helen Tyson Middle School (Springdale)


In addition to handing out these awards, the gala ceremony for the first time also included an introduction of 16 schools that will be adding an EAST classroom in the 2017-2018 school year. Three of these were made possible via a grant from the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), in partnership with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Office of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The remaining 13 schools received grant funds from the Arkansas Department of Education. These schools are:


  • Arkansas School for the Blind
  • Barton High School*
  • Cedar Ridge Elementary (Newark)
  • eStem Junior High School
  • Goodwill Excel School
  • Gosnell Elementary School*
  • Hamburg Middle School*
  • Hope Academy of Public Service
  • Hoxie High School
  • Huntsville Intermediate School
  • McCrory High School
  • Nettleton Middle School
  • Shaw Elementary School (Springdale)
  • Southside High School (Bee Branch)
  • White Hall Middle School
  • Williams Elementary School (Farmington)


* Denotes DRA grant recipient



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