Using ‘Improvement Science’ to Advance Teacher Preparation

Editor’s Note: Today’s Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center blog post comes to us by way of Kari Thierer, organizational director at School Reform Initiative (SRI) — a nonprofit that works to support the creation of transformational learning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence. Eagle Rock recently hosted Kari and some of her SRI colleagues for a two-day retreat centered on improvement science. Below, Kari discusses her group’s work and its experience with tapping into Eagle Rock’s professional development services.

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Using ‘Improvement Science’ to Advance Teacher Preparation
By Kari Thierer, Organizational Director — School Reform Initiative (SRI)

We have the privilege of working with educators serving pre-kindergarten students all the way through college, in schools throughout the world. Our work began in 1995 as a way to provide better professional development for the schools that were part of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) network, and this mission has continued to grow and evolve over the years.

We are fortunate to have a relationship with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, both through our work as a CES National Center, as well as having the opportunity to work alongside amazing facilitators like Eagle Rock’s Michael Soguero, Dan Condon and Anastacia Galloway — all of whom are part of the SRI community of facilitators.

As our work has evolved, a growing area of conversation has centered around how to support pre-service education programs and bring the principles and practices of SRI critical friendship into licensure programs. Our belief is that these tools and practices will Continue reading…

From Farm to Table to Deviance & Social Control — Eagle Rock School’s Diverse Class Offerings: Part Deux

Here at Eagle Rock School, we have always added new meaning to the term unique class offerings, and in fact, we’re fairly well known nationwide for the progressiveness of our classroom topics.

For example, not many high schools offer a class in on-the-job training to be a park ranger. In fact, some of our students will even be on the payroll of the Rocky Mountain National Park during the upcoming summer break as a direct result of taking this class.

Eagle Rock School Learning Resource Center

Below, we present the second of a pair of blog posts describing the unique classes offered during this, the second half of ER 69 (the 69th trimester since our founding in the fall of 1993):

Farm To Table: In this class, Eagle Rock School students are studying the methods and effects of different food production systems around the world. By planting, harvesting and tending the Eagle Rock garden, our “farmers” are growing and producing food for our own school cafeteria. A primary outcome of this class is to transform the Continue reading…

Princeton Internship in Civic Services Brings Emma Latham to Estes Park

Editor’s Note I: Emma Latham is a Princeton University junior who is interning at Eagle Rock for the summer. Emma is here as part of the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), which was established by the Princeton University Class of 1969 in the belief that community service is essential to the welfare of society. More than 800 Princeton University undergraduates have participated in PICS since its inception, with 10 or so interning at Eagle Rock since Eagle Rock’s founding in the early 1990s. Below is Emma’s take on her experiences so far at Eagle Rock — and some advice for those who want to become Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center interns.

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I’m Emma, the summer intern from Jersey City, N.J., and I arrived on the Eagle Rock campus in mid-June. Following this trimester, I’ll be returning to Princeton University for my junior year. I am an ecology major — which means you can often find me on Rick’s Trail, crouched in the shrubs trying to identify a wild flower. Or that’ll be me with my face buried in a pine tree observing a trail of ants.

My family is in the restaurant business, so, naturally, I love cooking — and more important — I love eating. This means that if you can’t find me on the trail, I might be in the Lodge shoveling down the delicious creations of the Eagle Rock chefs (shout out to their buttery, flakey biscuits!)

Eagle Rock School student Djibril Cayolbah with Eagle Rock Summer Intern Emma Latham.

Eagle Rock School student Djibril Cayolbah with Eagle Rock Summer Intern Emma Latham.

I ended up at Eagle Rock because I wanted to Continue reading…

Reporting on Another Successful Explore Week

The effects of our most recent Explore Week — that staple of the Eagle Rock School experience whereby our students have the opportunity to learn about careers, hobbies, art, music, physical pursuits and other offerings that may not necessarily fit into the daily academic curriculum — are now being felt here on campus.

The latest installment of this thrice-annual event took place June 20-24 with students vying for learning experiences related to earthen building, canoeing through Canyonlands National Park, music, poetry, beauty and hair care.

Eagle Rock School Explore Week

In addition to a few of our own instructional specialists, Explore Week offers experiences presented by instructors from the community and as you’ll see below, Eagle Rock School alumni — all highly experienced in what they do.

Here’s a short recap of courses and instructors from our most recent Explore Week:

For those musically inclined students with an interest in turning their words into lyrics, the Songwriting, Stories, and Live Performance course was the perfect opportunity to complete songs that they might have started writing and put aside or put time into new materials that they wanted to turn into song. The course included a lot of interaction, discussions, writing activities — all capped by live musical performances by the students, completed individually and sometimes collaboratively.

About the instructors — Eric Ian Farmer, Ph.D and Juan Torres: Farmer is no stranger to Eagle Rock. He served as an intern from the fall of 1999 through the summer of 2000, and was an Eagle Rock School instructional specialist from the fall of 2005 through the summer of 2008. Torres studied music at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and now plays with the Estes Park Jazz Big Band and teaches concert, jazz, and marching percussion at schools in the Estes Park School District.

Led by a pair of street poets, Poetry of Initiation: From Pain to Purpose was best described as a writing and performance course fueled by the Continue reading…

Michael Soguero Hosts TeachingPartners Office Hour

Each week since the end of April, education startup TeachingPartners has been inviting classroom teachers and education thought leaders to share and learn from one another online. Using TeachingPartners.com and the hashtag #TPOfficeHour on Twitter, participants submit questions and thoughts about the week’s topic, and then gather at 6pm PT / 9pm ET on Thursday evening for a one-hour ‘edchat’ about the topic at hand.

Well in advance of each week’s production, TeachingPartners asks one thought leader or educator to share their own ideas and host the week’s Thursday night gathering online, also known as Office Hour.

TeachingPartners Michael Soguero

As you can see from the image above, this week, Eagle Rock’s own Michael Soguero is the host of TeachingPartners Office Hour. As Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, Michael has much to say about the Continue reading…