Welcome Back!


Matt DozierPres./CEO - EAST Initiative

Matt Dozier
Pres./CEO – EAST Initiative

Well, the wheels on the bus have started to go round and round again and it looks like the 2013-2014 school year is more than upon us. Over the course of the new school year I’ll be sharing many of the comings and goings in the EAST world, and we have a great year planned for everyone. I want to personally welcome the twelve new EAST programs, the two new EAST Core schools and the seventy some-odd new EAST teachers and facilitators. What a time to be in education!

This year, our national service project will focus on health and wellness; we will put together our considerable talents and sophisticated network to address a major challenge in our world, but we’re going to raise the bar on what is possible in these projects. EAST Night Out is scheduled for October 15 and as soon as school settles in, our facilitators and students will begin planning to open their doors and welcome their community in. This spring, we will host our sixteenth conference. Surrounding all of this is, of course, thousands of students, hundreds of sophisticated service-projects and a level of educational engagement that is unparalleled.

I’ll begin the recruiting process for the 2014-2015 school year soon because EAST is always looking ahead. That means I’ll get to run the highways and byways and visit schools in all kinds of communities. The rest of the team has already started going out and providing on-site support.

It really is all happening. It really is very exciting. And it really is EAST.

I want to leave you with some words of wisdom from my very good friend and everyone’s favorite EAST staff member, Mr. Tim Stephenson. Over the past few weeks, he has had the privilege of addressing teachers in their district-wide preparatory meetings. He tells me it went over well, and no one has called to contradict that, so we’ll go with that story.

Tim Stephenson Photo courtesy of Springdale School District

Tim Stephenson, Founder of EAST Initiative
Photo courtesy of Springdale School District

“Too many people are looking for the easy answer,” said Stephenson. “When they look at EAST students, most people think they are wonderful, but make the mistake of concluding they are special because they can demonstrate some ‘gee wiz’ technology or because they have worked on some specific project and have mastered some difficult content.”

“Our students are special because they have grown and developed into people of principle and know who they are and how they can use their gifts for good. EAST students don’t achieve because they are better at learning some common content or discreet pieces of information; their ‘superpowers’ are developed through a series of experience-based processes and mentors of high quality. My hopes and prayers are that we as a society quit looking for easy answers and ‘get real’ about creating environments in all our schools that will accomplish this before we lose our capacity for innovative and creative growth. We can’t let future generations believe that being accomplished at social media and self-gratifying entertainment activities are the pinnacle of achievement.”

Tim has labeled this his “hope and pray” list, and I think we can all learn from it:

“I Hope and Pray” by Tim Stephenson

  • I hope and pray my students will learn to stand on principles.
  • I hope and pray my students will come to understand that hard work, not luck, determines their success.
  • I hope and pray my students will learn to value the amazing diversity the world offers.
  • I hope and pray my students will learn to value their community.
  • I hope and pray my students understand that because they are Americans, they are guaranteed the God given right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not government granted rights that can change with favor.
  • I hope and pray my students will understand that they deserve, equal opportunity NOT equal outcome.
  • I hope and pray my students will stand for the rights of people they strongly disagree with.
  • I hope and pray my students learn to value generosity and charity.
  • I hope and pray my students will learn to explore who they are, what they stand for, what gifts they have and how they can I use them for good.
  • I hope and pray my students will learn that freedom and liberty can only exist through personally responsible actions on their part.

EAST never really stops happening, but it’s time to move the throttle to full. Let’s have a great school year!

MD

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4 Responses to Welcome Back!

  1. Let me know how we can help! ASTA awards $500 grants and this initiative would be a great fit. We can also put info on our website and in our newsletters. And we could sponsor a break at a meeting…list goes on and on. Let me know! Michele

    • Matt Dozier says:

      Michele, thank you so much. I’ll have someone on our team get in touch with you. Can you please send me your email offline (matt@eaststaff.org)

  2. April McGee says:

    I know I’m not an EAST teacher, Matt, but I’ve been so impressed with the program and the impact it has had on my students over the years. What an exciting year this could be for all of us if we focus on our students’ needs instead of what is easy or expected. “I Hope and Pray” was wonderful, and I would like to share it. I want to give credit where it is due, so did Tim Stephenson write that?

    • Matt Dozier says:

      April,

      Thank you for the kind words. Who’d a thunk it 20 years ago, right?

      Yes, Tim did write “I Hope and Pray” and fell free to print and disseminate or link to it, just please make sure he gets the blame…er, credit. Thank you!

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