Founder’s Award Judging Criteria & Submissions

By submitting a Letter of Intent, you have nominated your program to become a candidate for the Founder’s Award. Following are the criteria and submission instructions.

Judging Criteria

When planning and developing the portfolio and video presentation, remember the overall concept is to “tell your story.” Each EAST program is unique. Use this to your advantage. Be creative; find a way to tell your story that best fits your program’s personality, past, and pathway. Review the presentations of the last year’s winning programs to see the range of possibilities.

1. Student Growth: Does your EAST classroom provide a positive educational environment that promotes student growth?

One the significant ways that EAST sets itself apart from other educational programs is that it focuses on the individual growth and development of each student entering the classroom. No matter where the student's ability lies when entering, the student is expected and pushed to grow. This category is concerned with evidence identifying this type of learning environment.

Possible examples:

  • Specific examples of student growth within or outside of the EAST classroom
  • Excerpts or quotes from students who feel that EAST has had a positive effect in their lives
  • Support from principal, facilitator, other teachers, counselor, parent, or others
  • Evidence that your EAST program is helping to change lives both directly and indirectly

Student growth is possibly the most difficult result to show; however, it is the strongest demonstration of the power of EAST principles. Spend ample time developing this component. While there should be balance among  all components, all of the tenets that make EAST effective are evident in student growth.

2. Service & Collaboration: What impact has your EAST program’s service made? Is the EAST classroom effectively collaborating with other programs/classes in the school, other EAST schools and/or other educational entities or outside businesses? Is there a noticeable difference in the school atmosphere because of EAST? What would be lost if your EAST program were to cease to function? What evidence exists that demonstrates support for your EAST program?

Please provide as many of the following as possible and relevant. Brief narrative summaries of several of these categories will suffice where a specific document is not available.

  • Interaction with community members 
  • Media coverage Community/other awards received
  • Presentation opportunities
  • Letters/interviews from community leaders and/or members 
  • Collaboration with: 
  • EAST schools (required) 
  • Programs/classes in your school or district
  • Other educational entities 
  • Local or national businesses 
  • Other Alliances/partnerships that have evolved 
  • Other examples of collaboration and community achievement
  • Letters/interviews from school principal and/or superintendent Brief project descriptions that have had an impact on community

3. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving: How have your students faced obstacles in the development of their projects? How have they worked through the problems that they have encountered? What has this led them to understand about themselves, their educational experiences, and their communities? Are there examples of students modifying initial plans/actions following problems? Has there been success from previously avoided projects or problems? Did something simple net huge results? Were there failures that resulted in positive outcomes?

Please provide specific examples of students' methodologies in addressing complex issues and what led to or resulted from their decisions (use of higher-level thinking skills for problem solving).

Include multiple examples illustrating the processes and successes within your program. How are EAST students using higher-order thinking skills within your EAST community? Demonstration is more powerful than discussion.

In retrospect, describe the impact this process has had on their understanding of formal analysis of community problems.

4.  Resource Integration: One trademark of EAST is the presence of advanced-level tools and resources that assist in the projects and processes. The Founder’s Award is an excellent opportunity to showcase the unique power of these advanced techniques. Detail how you use resources in your classroom. Explain how they push the limits and go beyond what is typical. Describe the use of advanced applications and innovative merging of multiple technologies or resources.  In closing, provide a glimpse of what more is possible for those students willing to push a little harder. This component should not be dominant in the overall story.  

Do not include a bulleted list of all of the tools used (.e.g. PowerPoint, NotePad, Internet, Computer, Monitor, Keyobard, Mouse, etc.). 

Application Packet

A complete application packet includes two major components: Portfolio and Presentation.

1. Portfolio: The portfolio provides documentation and evidence of the criteria mentioned above. All documentation should be organized in a binder not exceeding 2 inches (incorrect size results in disqualification) thick, arranged in the following order:

  • Application Summary: A cover letter addressing the judging criteria detailed above and an explanation of what the judges will be viewing in the application portfolio and video presentation. Limited to a maximum of 1,000 words.
  • Table of contents
  • Telling Your Story of EAST (please reference evidence in the appendix)

Student Growth (2-4 pages)
Community Service & Collaboration (2-4 pages)
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (2-4 pages)
Resource Integration (2-4 pages)

  • Appendix
  • Folder Pocket: Contains the video presentation (details below) and a signed Video Release Form

Include various examples from numerous projects supporting the judging criteria. The judging committee is well-versed in EAST methods. It is not necessary to explain the general concept of EAST within this portfolio unless you are using this documentation for purposes other than for this competition. 

The judges will be looking for the ”total package” with an eye to the overall educational environment that makes such student achievement possible—not just one project. Please address all of the criteria even if your program strengths lie in just one or two areas. Only schools that address all of the judging criteria will be considered for awards.

Remember that there are multiple applicants, and although the committee is dedicated to being thorough, their time is limited. Please be as concise as possible. Bigger is not always better.

Tip: Test the portfolio with someone outside the program. Do they understand the overall concept of the program? Does the story have a good flow? Is their interest piqued, leading them to look deeper through the appendix materials? Is the entire program represented? Ask someone to give an overview after reviewing the portfolio. Did they miss important events? Did they miss the story? Watch them review; do they have to go back and re-read? What do their expressions and body language say?

Note: Items submitted as part of this application packet will not be returned. Send good quality copies of items (newspaper articles, letters, etc.), and retain the originals as documentation in your classroom. Laminated or plastic covers are accepted but not necessary.

2. Video Presentation: Each applicant is required to submit a video presentation highlighting how their program currently addresses each of the judging criteria, as well as a brief look to the future of the program. This presentation, once submitted, is the final version and cannot be edited or updated after submission. If your program wins, the presentation will be shown at the Banquet.

The presentation must follow the guidelines detailed below.

  • Format: If in PowerPoint format, it must be converted to video before being submitted. Please consider MovieMaker over PowerPoint. The end product must be video. 
  • Length: At least five (5) minutes and no longer than seven (7) minutes. 
  • Media: DVD. This must play on a standard home DVD player. Make sure to test on multiple players before submitting. If it does not play, it cannot be judged. 
  • Technical Merit: You will not be judged on ability as an advanced film maker, but good technical merit is crucial. Standard video components are required, including excellent sound quality (volume levels, minimal background noise, proper music mix/levels, etc.) and composition (framing, lighting, etc).  Special effects are welcome but not required. Ultimately the video needs to tell a compelling story in an attractive manner, not relying too heavily on special effects.
  • Music Use: Student-created, royalty free, and copyrighted music with documented permission are the only acceptable uses of music in your presentation. Include documentation if you are using copyrighted music. 

Video Tips (Shared Ideas—Not Requirements)

  • Consider using secondary footage (B-Roll) to enhance longer interviews.
  • Research techniques from video professionals.
  • Great information is out there. Search for “video production 101“ if you are having problems finding what you are looking for.
  • Sequence your video with variety: tight, medium, wide shots as well as cut-away shots. Make 50 percent of shots tight, 25 percent medium and 25 percent wide.
  • Remember the 80:20 ratio (80 percent b-roll and 20 percent interviews). 
  • Use of text can be powerful if used wisely.
  • Have fun! It typically shows in the final product.

Applications will not be considered if they do not meet the requirements listed above. Situations arise every year resulting in disqualification, stemming from lack of adherence to the basic guidelines. These are important!

We realize 5-7 minutes is a very short time in which to demonstrate the vastness of your program. Remember to be concise and focus on the absolute best key elements of your program. Don’t get lost in details of individual projects.

The judging committee will view your video presentation first and then the portfolio. The portfolio should provide additional documentation and verify information presented in the video.

Video Release Form 

After the Conference, EAST may choose to use your video as a promotional tool, which requires a signed release from your school. The signed release must be included in the pocket of the Application Portfolio.

Video Release Form

Application Packet Submission

Completed application packets (portfolio and video presentation) must be RECEIVED at the EAST office by Wednesday, January 13, 2010 (extended to January 20 due to inclement weather).  Packets received after this date will not be eligible for competition. If delivering in person, the EAST office must have them no later than 5:00 PM, CST.

Please send to:

Founder's Award Committee
c/o EAST Initiative
8201 Ranch Boulevard, Suite B-1
Little Rock, Arkansas 72223

Founder’s Award Submission Checklist

_______ Letter of intent submitted by November 11
_______ Portfolio contained in binder not larger than 2 inches
_______ Portfolio contents in correct order
_______ Copies of documents in portfolio, retain originals
_______ All judging criteria addressed in portfolio and presentation
_______ Video tested on multiple standard home DVD players
_______ Application has been critiqued by others
_______ Signed Video Release form included in portfolio
_______ Entire submission tells the story of your EAST program
_______ Complete application packet received at EAST office by 5:00 PM January 13, 2010

This page was last updated on Monday, January 11, 2010 at 12:30:17 PM | View update history