Every year at our Summer Seminar we include a session we call the Gallimaufry. This is a session that basically covers updates, announcements and other things that don’t really fit anywhere else. It’s an odd name, I know, and one that was picked for two reasons:
1) I love words. Plain and simple. Interesting, odd or unique words warm my heart. My favorite word of all time is “terpsichorean,” I love the way it sounds and I love the look I get from people when I say it. I’ll let you look it up.
2) We were using an internal designation for the session that just wouldn’t be taken in the vein we intended if we were to put it in writing (I’ll let you fill in the blanks of what we would call a mix and match session).When we needed to put something in the program I was sitting in an airport in Cincinnati and Melanie Ridlon said she needed something “NOW.” I grabbed my phone and started to look up words that meant what we were trying to say. I ran across Gallimaufry and loved the sound of it…and thus was born a tradition for summer.
The funny thing is that when other EAST staffers questioned that name (and even whether or not it was a real word) we wound up at a big conference that used that very title for one of their large sessions.
In looking at preparing a blog post I realized that there was a lot to say. But it didn’t all fit into one cohesive narrative, so I ask your indulgence as I wander all over the place today. By the way the definition of “gallimaufry” is:
n. pl. gal·li·mau·fries
1. a miscellaneous jumble or medley; hodgepodge
2. a dish made up of leftovers
Since this is not a cooking blog, you can look forward to the first definition. Shall we begin?
The EAST Training Center is hopping! Just last week we hosted three different student training sessions (GIS, Web Design and microcontroller programming), facilitator Phase II training, and a Broadband focus group of students, facilitators and administrators as part of some work we’re doing with the Arkansas Department of Education and other groups. We had roughly 80 people on campus doing different things. The buildings were full, and the learning was electric!
Speaking of broadband, EAST participated in the “Connecting Arkansas” conference hosted by the Connect Arkansas group. EAST has worked with various groups and agencies on the broadband connectivity issue since 1998 (when broadband wasn’t nearly as broad as it is now). I personally feel that getting everyone, but especially people in rural areas, connected to the rest of the world should be a priority in this country.
Broadband is a democratizing engine that allows everyone to access information and connect to the world for commerce, education, medical care and so much more. Broadband can make sure geography doesn’t limit opportunity. That means a lot to me and should mean a lot to everyone. Just like Governor Beebe said, “…[We’re] not doing this just for ourselves, but also for our kids and our grandkids and for [our] future.”
It goes beyond watching “What Does the Fox Say” on YouTube—though that’s one way to discover the online world…and as near as I can tell the fox says, among other things “Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!,” “Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!,” “Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!,” “Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!,” “Wa-wa-way-do Wub-wid-bid-dum-way-do Wa-wa-way-do.” Why? I don’t know you’ll have to take that up with Ylvis.
We have had our Annual Meeting of the EAST Board of Directors. Our Board is excited about EAST and where it’s going and they have pledged to spend this year working to revisit our strategic plan and help EAST move forward. I had the opportunity to talk with one of our Directors, Dr. David Rainey, the other day and he was sharing how much EAST means tohim. He is just one of a very dedicated group of people who are working to make EAST bigger, better and more available to schools and students. A small confession, when I grow up, I want to be as cool as Dr. Rainey (or Elvis), but don’t think that’s really possible. The Dumas schools and EAST are so lucky to have him.
We have published our fall issue of our EAST Quarterly magazine. If you haven’t checked it out, you need to. My favorite story in it is the profile of Ms. Julia Sites who has gone from the EAST classroom to the EAST Boardroom. It’s inspiring and heartwarming.
We have begun our work with the potential EAST Core schools that will start their Core journey in the 2014/2015 school year. In preliminary discussions with one of the potential schools I was told, “We love EAST. We love everything about it. We want everything we can get from EAST.” No pressure there, right? This is exciting and humbling. EAST is making a difference and people see it. Not just at the macro level, but (and most importantly) at the school and home level.
Our National Service Project has kicked off in grand style. This year we are focusing on health and wellness and have challenged our programs to develop solutions in their communities (and to look at larger solutions) to issues related to overall wellness. We are asking them to use their EAST tools (including those bright EAST brains) to go beyond the standard ideas and find innovative ones that can make a real difference. EAST is a place where projects can “sophisticate up” and exceed the expectations of everyone. While we hope that this project focus will get people moving, eating healthier and making good health choices, we also think that EAST students can approach this with a different toolkit to develop solutions that can truly change bad habits and enhance the community’s quality of life.
All of this is just a quick snapshot of what is happening in EAST right now; the tip of the iceberg so to speak. All of this (and a lot of other stuff I haven’t talked about) is swirling around us. EAST is really, really happening!
Now aren’t you glad I didn’t give you recipes for your cookbook?
Until next time,