EAST help other schools grow program

Each year, the number of EAST programs in the Springdale School district continues to grow. With over twenty EAST programs in the district, more students are having the opportunity to have an individualized learning experience while strengthening their communities. This past year, Bayyari Elementary school was granted an EAST program of their own. With the help of Har-Ber EAST students, Bayyari students are now getting the opportunity to learn new software, alongside their facilitator, to begin working on projects of their own. 

Kimberly Cook is a first-year EAST facilitator at Bayyari. At the beginning of the school year, Cook was contacted by Har-Ber facilitator, Bill Mills, who offered to help guide Cook and her students throughout their first year as an EAST program. Having no prior experience with running an EAST program, Cook took him up on his offer. 

“He told me to just name what software I wanted my kids to learn about and he would have some of his students mentor and train us,” Cook said. “That very same day, some of the Har-Ber EAST students emailed me to set up a Google Meet and start working with my students.”

Junior Haley Greer and senior Michael Tisevich are just two of the five students who are meeting with the Bayyari kids. Both Greer and Tisevich have been in EAST for several years now and have had plenty of experience with most of the available software. For at least once a week, students are meeting through Google Meet with the elementary students and are teaching them a variety of different programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Pixton, and more. The facilitators have also created a Google Classroom to allow the elementary students and high school students to communicate effectively. 

“When I was teaching the kids how to use photoshop I was teaching about two to four kids so the classes are relatively small but those students then take what we teach them and help other students in the program,” Greer said. “It’s pretty cool to see what they want to learn and just the minds of third, fourth, and fifth graders is pretty cool because they are coming up with some projects that you would have never even thought of.”

Tisevich has recently been training the elementary students on how to use their Oculus Quest VR set. With just a couple of hours, the elementary students were able to understand the program and set it up by themselves.

“It’s very nice to be able to help them because they’re thankful and you can tell that what we are teaching them is definitely helping them learn and develop new projects,” Tisevich said.  

Both the students and facilitators are planning to expand this mentoring program to other EAST programs in the district in hopes of bringing all of the programs together. The idea is that older students with more EAST experience get to mentor elementary and middle school students on a variety of different topics.

“The Har-Ber students have been outstanding role models for the elementary students,” Cook said. “We have discussed how valuable it is to work together and collaborate as a team.  That is part of the EAST concept and without a doubt, the Har-Ber EAST program exemplifies this.” 

The purpose of EAST is to give students the opportunity to find things they are passionate about all while collaborating with others, using technology, and problem-solving skills to better their communities and education. With an abundant amount of support from both the high schoolers and their facilitator, Bayyari students are beginning to develop an innovative program of their own. 

“They have also helped my students gain confidence in working with others and problem-solving skills,” Cook said. “With myself and the program being new, the students and I were very nervous and unsure of what to do. Har-Ber EAST got us started and gave us both the confidence to learn new things and accept new challenges.”