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EAST students excel in Greenbrier

Posted: February 17, 2014 - 5:41pm

Kim Austin, Facilitator of Greenbrier’s EAST program and five Greenbrier EAST students presented a report on the very ambitious programs selected and implemented by EAST students. Alex Dixon, Max Huggins, Ben Benton, Zack Hollenbaugh and Jay Howard explained some of the most complicated projects EAST students have ever tackled. Austin explained how, with the use of advanced software and hardware made possible with a grant, students were able to identify a problem in school, secure a grant, solve the problem, work with outside business leaders, write proposals and follow a budget. The problem solved was one of a whole room not being able to see a video conference at the same time which impeded their learning process. With a grant of $5,000 and matching funds of another $5,000, they were able to install a new video camera, dual 60 inch monitors and upgraded software and accessories for a new Mac computer system that benefitted the whole school.

The EAST students will be attending the Hot Springs Convention Center for the National EAST conference March 20 as student Ambassadors. They will speak at the convention and hope to achieve some of the lucrative prizes awarded for projects.

The EAST weather balloon project was a huge success — beyond what they had planned for- — and created much interest from  Board members. Their balloon project was featured in The Log Cabin and multiple other media which afforded them the opportunity to meet Joe Gordon, founder of Innovation Hub in Little Rock. Innovation Hub is an EAST program for adults. As well as teaching a scientific lesson to fifth graders at Westside Elementary School, the EAST students were involved with NASA for clearance to launch their balloon, parents and many community leaders.

They are currently embarking on a program to convert a computer scan into a human jaw bone. They have already created a jaw bone for their own dog, Bella, as a trial run. Other programs the EAST students did this year involved Eco-Fest promotion for an eco-friendly environment and a rally for over 100 veterans and their guests.

A report on the new proposed elementary school indicated that a prospective site on twelve acres on Elliott Road fell through after closer scrutiny. They are still looking to trade a site they currently own or sell it. Superintendent Scott Spainhour was given the go-ahead to examine a 20 acre site that might be better just before Springhill church and report back.

The subject of out-sourcing the hiring of substitute teachers for Greenbrier schools was discussed. Conway and Greenbrier School Districts are the only two districts who do not presently hire an outside source to manage substitute teachers. After interviewing two companies who do that kind of work, the Board voted to engage Teach USA to recruit, hire, manage and pay substitute teachers beginning July 1. With the new health care law, the bookkeeping could become a nightmare which would warrant hiring more staff. The extra cost of $6,000 per year for the Teach USA to handle this and open a larger pool of substitutes available all the time seemed a better avenue.

School Board meetings are held at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the District Office on School Drive, north of the Junior High School.

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