Working with School Districts to Create Safe Learning Environments

ER_GandhiOver the past four years, I have had the enormous privilege of working with ROC Restorative, a coalition of groups in Rochester, N.Y., that is transforming the culture and practices of Rochester City Schools.

Eagle Rock’s work with ROC Restorative began with big picture planning with the three leaders of the group — Ruth Turner, Jennifer Ghourlias, and Kirsten Pryor. Through phone conversations each week, we co-designed our plan, including visioning with the core ROC Restorative team and conducting “bright spots inventories” of schools that wanted to implement restorative work.

One of our most powerful early exercises was using a Back to the Future Protocol to set a vision and goals for the group. The vision was that of a transformed culture that embraces students through relationship-building and promoting positive ways of dealing with conflict. And today, there are myriad examples that show where this vision is becoming a reality.

To find bright spots on which to build and highlight successes, we performed numerous inventories at schools. Our team of select Eagle Rock School students and staff — alongside ROC Restorative members — visited schools to conduct interviews, facilitate focus groups, and make observations in order to discover examples of how each school was building community and relationships, as well as examples of conflict being handled in a positive, healing way.

The focus on bright spots was twofold. In a tough school district confronting the challenges imposed on Continue reading…

Our 75th Trimester Continues with Even More Unique Class Offerings

With another successful Explore Week behind us — and the celebration last weekend of our 25th anniversary of reengaging youth in their own education — Eagle Rock School is back to normal, with students absorbed in a number of new classroom experiences.

“Back to normal” might be a stretch when it comes to our campus, which has pretty much been delivering progressive education to its student body for what is currently the halfway point of our 75th trimester.

A second collection of five-week classes is underway at Eagle Rock, with offerings that include hands-on internships at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, methods of creating actual change in society, the meditative mode of Buddhism, and even a class on the coolness of comics.

Here then is the second installment of ER-75 classroom adventures at Eagle Rock:

Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado,  USA

RMNP Internship: Students accepted into this program are performing internships within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Students are participating in a number of divisions, including Continue reading…