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EAST is an educational program that combines self-direction, teamwork, service, and cutting-edge technology in a manner that helps students to develop their own interests and aptitudes in a positive environment. At the core of the EAST program is a dedication to service. All students, regardless of past experience or previous expectation, are encouraged, expected, and required to work in teams that tackle self-selected community service projects. In the context of these projects, EAST students often move beyond being "merely" volunteers and begin to assume roles of responsibility for solving local issues.
The EAST(r) Initiative is a non-profit organization, chartered in 2001 that works with schools and institutions across the country to establish local EAST programs. In 1996, the EAST model was piloted to assist schools, facilitators, and students in implementing service-learning projects, technology education, and individualized education goals. The EAST(r) method has been named a model by the United States Departments of Education and Labor and has proven, research-based results.
The Initiative works with schools to equip classrooms, train facilitators, and provide technical training for students at local and regional training centers, as well as online. Participating schools must sign a set of assurances, promising to follow the prescribed EAST(r) methods, and participate in periodic required facilitator and student training sessions.
EAST Core is program that is launching in 2012 that builds on the best practices of the standard EAST program and integrates them into traditional science and math classes in high schools. Students enrolled in EAST Core classes will engage in projects that tie directly into their curriculum