Eagle Rock Supports Continued Legacy of the Coalition of Essential Schools

Coalition of Essential Schools LogoIf you’re even a casual supporter of progressive education, you’ve probably heard or read about the shuttering earlier this year of the national operations of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). Coming on the heels of more than three decades of ground-breaking work in student-centered teaching and learning, this well-celebrated school reform network ceased national operations at the end of January.

However, the formal closure does not spell an end to the education organization’s website, nor the resources available on that site. In fact, these resources — as well as the Essential Visions video collection and the CES benchmarks — remain available, enabling educators to receive the help and support they require to continue the practice of educational reform.

Of course, we here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center stand ready and able to assist anyone interested in learning more about CES and its unparalleled resources for progressive educators going forward. As the convener of CES Centers, we are a full-service, not-for-profit educational reform organization that operates a year-round residential high school in Estes Park, Colo., and offers professional development services at school and community sites around the United States.

If you aren’t sure where to start, reach out and we will connect you with the appropriate CES Center that best serves your interests. Just use the Continue reading…

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.

eagle-rock-school-students-2016-ces-fall-forum

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 Staffers Dive Deep at the Deeper Learning Conference

A handful of Eagle Rock staffers recently attended a worldwide conference called Deeper Learning 2016 in San Diego, walking away with new ways to influence students to begin thinking critically, collaboratively and to embrace fresh challenges.

Deeper Learning Conference

Attending from Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) were Michael Soguero, director of professional development; Dan Condon, associate director of professional development; Sarah Bertucci, professional development associate; and Maya Edery, 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in society and cultures.

The purpose of the late March conference was to assist educators who truly strive to prepare their students for college and future careers. Among the core competencies for those who practice this Deeper Learning philosophy is to teach students how to master core academic content.

Attendees heard about methods of teaching students to think critically and solve complex problems, work as a group, communicate with each other and others, and develop academic mindsets. Put simply, the concept is to help students “learn how to learn.”

Our PDC team members arrived for the Southern California event and immediately headed to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Shines at Coalition of Essential Schools’ Fall Forum

Eagle Rock staff and students returned from Portland, Maine, last week, savoring the time they spent working with educators from around the country during this year’s Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) Fall Forum.

This was the 31st such fall conference and Kim Carter, executive director of the QED Foundation kicked things off with her reflections on how the Coalition of Essential Schools came about, reiterating the core ideas put forth in 1984 by CES founder Ted Seizer.

Afterward, Michael Soguero, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) director, said he loved Carter’s keynote that outlined the history and connections of CES over the decades. He said he was most impressed with how Seizer’s ideas presented way back in the 1980s are today entrenched in school practices. As examples, he cited advisories, demonstrations of mastery (such as Eagle Rock’s own Presentations Of Learning), interdisciplinary courses and more.

As in past forums, Eagle Rock played an active role this time around, with staff and students presenting three sessions at the conference that attracted more than Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Participates in the CES Fall Forum: The Recap

The Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) Fall Forum was held last month at Mission High School in San Francisco, and Eagle Rock was well represented with a total of eight staff members and two students attending this annual event.

The theme of this year’s three-day forum was the 30-year Celebration of Common Principles and Uncommon Schools. CES remains at the forefront of creating and sustaining personalized, equitable and intellectually challenging schools. Essential schools are those where all students have the chance to reach their fullest potential. With a focus on the ten common principles, CES works with educators to support and promote innovative and effective teaching and learning.

The first day of the forum saw our six Professional Development Center team members co-hosting a school visit at MetWest High School, a Big Picture school that we support. MetWest is one of the first “new small autonomous schools” in Oakland, Calif., designed to foster student success through experiential learning and an extensive internship program.

Educators from Southern California and Ohio joined us on the visit and we had the opportunity to sit in on student exhibition presentations. Afterward, we facilitated a two-hour CES Affiliate Center directors meeting where we reconnected with other CES centers and shared what we face at our own locations. Later we broke up into small groups to discuss potential improvements.

In addition, a pair of our Eagle Rock students participated in a student leadership forum held at the Boys and Girls Club in the Mission District, where they met with 20 students from around the country for a discussion about, “What can students teach their teachers about what works when they are teaching them?” Meanwhile, two Eagle Rock School staff members participated at other school visits at Arise High School in Oakland, Calif., and Oceana High School in Pacifica, Calif.

Keynote speaker Pedro Noguera (the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University) kicked off Day 2 of the Forum, speaking to participants from Continue reading…