CES Gathering Provides Educational Participants with the Essentials

Earlier this month, the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) – a national organization that works to create and sustain equitable, intellectually vibrant, personalized schools and to make such schools the norm of American public education — held an extraordinary national gathering in Providence, R.I., where its work first began back in 1984.

Called Fall Forum 2016, this most recent event featured a gathering of educators and progressive education advocates skilled at — and committed to — student-focused, teacher-led, equitable, and challenging learning.

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During the Dec. 1-3 event, participants reflected on the work of the Coalition of Essential Schools, the contributions of CES Founder Ted Sizer and generations of CES educators, the inheritors and sustainers of CES’s work, and the future of schools led by the passions of students and teachers.

Eagle Rockers in attendance included Jeff Liddle, Head of School; Dan Condon, Associate Director of Professional Development; Sarah Bertucci, Professional Development Center Associate; and Eagle Rock students Nigel Taylor and Soren Arvidson.

On Thursday evening of the event, Dan and the students attended a viewing of the film Most Likely to Succeed, followed by discussion with local and national education change leaders. (As an aside, if you haven’t watched Most Likely to Succeed, add it to your list. Many people are saying it’s the best film ever made on the topic of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students and Staff Taking a Breather Until Next Year

Beginning a few days ago, our mountainside campus took on the appearance of a sparsely populated village rather than a vibrant education hub inhabited by students who want to reengage in their own education and instructors who want to support them.

It’s winter break — officially marked last Friday when our latest graduates picked up their diplomas during ceremonies in our Human Performance Center. Our student body left campus last Saturday, followed by educators and staff members who packed up their work for the trimester and headed out for the holidays.

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Oh, there will be a few instructors and staff members on campus during the break, but for the majority of our community, it’s an opportunity to take a breather from the day-to-day work we do here at Eagle Rock, taking time to visit friends and family and mentally regrouping for ER 71, (our 71st trimester since our founding in the early-1990s).

Most of the staff returns to campus on Continue reading…

Winooski School Tackles Equity in Personalization

Editor’s Note: Inspired by Sarah Bertucci, our professional development associate, Eagle Rock is leading five schools through a yearlong project with the objective of improving equity at those schools by means of independent projects. Last summer, Growing Equity Together was launched with representatives from all five schools gathering on at our campus in Estes Park, Colo., to make plans. Today’s post is an update from Winooski Middle/High School — one of the five schools involved in this innovative program.

From Lindsey Cox, iLab Humanities Teacher — Winooski Middle/High School

As one of the schools participating in The Growing Equity Together Project, Winooski Middle/High School is nearing the end of its first continuous improvement cycle aimed at supporting students in Grades 6 through 9.

ilab-winooski-logoThe objective is to develop the confidence these youngsters need to be successful when working on personalized learning projects.

Winooski is a small town in northwest Vermont that also serves as one of our nation’s refugee resettlement locations. Our middle/high school has about 380 students in grades 6-12 with about 30 percent being English Language Learning (ELL) students and 70 percent qualifying for free or reduced lunch status.

Over the past four years, Winooski has benefited from being part of a student-centered learning grant in collaboration with Burlington High School in Burlington, Vt., with funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

The grant effort, known as the Partnership for Change, has supported educators in shifting their teaching and learning systems to be more student-centered by being more personalized and proficiency-based. Simultaneously, legislation passed in 2013 known as (PDF) Act 77: The Flexible Pathways Bill (PDF), mandates a progressive educational agenda for the entire state because it requires all students — beginning with the class of 2020 — to graduate based on proficiencies instead of Carnegie units.

Act 77 also requires students in grades 7 through 12 to Continue reading…

Pomp and Parchments Presented This Week to 4 Eagle Rock School Grads

With as much fanfare as such occasions warrant, the four members of this trimester’s graduating class will be honored beginning at 4 p.m. tomorrow in the Human Performance Center here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo..

Graduates include Javon Banks, part of ER 65 (the 65th incoming group of students to arrive at Eagle Rock since its founding in the early 1990s). Others include Stacy Escobar, Alysha Dan and Katie-Lynn DeRaps, all members of ER 64.

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This quartet of Eagle Rock School grads has completed the requirements for graduation and has participated in a number of magnificent activities during their time here that most high school graduates can’t even imagine. And as a community, we can’t wait to see what great achievements await them in the future.

If you can’t make it to campus tomorrow afternoon, the graduation ceremony will be broadcast live on our Ustream channel. To view the event, visit:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-rock-school-graduation.

We asked each of our four new grads to offer up a short note about their time spent at Eagle Rock, some sage advice for incoming students, and what the future holds for them. Here are their responses: Continue reading…

Eagle Talk with Alexus Bell

This year — in my position as an Eagle Rock School Public Allies teaching fellow — I have had both the privilege and opportunity to connect with students in order to create meaningful learning experiences.

alexus-bellFor the past month, I’ve been working closely with Eagle Rock students through a program I created called The Eagle Talks. This program enables students to engage with a number of successful, inspiring and diverse professionals from outside the Eagle Rock community.

These professionals are Skyped in for an hour to share their stories of success and accomplishment. This discussion provides students with insights about life after high school, race relations in college, and overall life journeys. Afterward, the students ask questions and extract further illuminating dialogue from the presenter.

One major success I credit to this program illustrates how powerful life stories can be for high school students. It was during a discussion period following a presentation and the guest speaker was talking about his passion for music and how he chose to attend college as well as pursue his dreams within the music industry.

The speaker shared stories about Continue reading…