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 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…

Eagle Rock an Active Participant in Recent CES Forum

Nine of our staff members actively took part in the recent 2013 Fall Forum hosted by the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). The conference was held earlier this month at Mission High School in the heart of San Francisco, with this year’s theme titled “Making the Invisible Visible: Stories and Counter Stories for Educational Equity.”

Our Eagle Rock staffers got the long weekend off to a good start by facilitating a two-hour meeting with directors from about a dozen CES Affiliate Centers — including our hosts, the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools — at the Clift Hotel.

That meeting presented a great opportunity for directors to check in with each other and explore the nature of their collaboration.

In addition, Eagle Rock staff members led three of the longer workshops on Saturday afternoon, including Michael Soguero and Dan Condon co-presenting “The Ten Principles as the Lens for Implementing the Common Core.”

CES is celebrating more than 25 years of what it terms “creating and sustaining personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging schools.” The 2013 gathering saw representatives from schools and organizations from as far away as the Netherlands and Japan — all eager to explore how the CES 10 Common Principles apply to their practice.

Each year, the fall forum presents an opportunity for educators to continue “a conversation among friends,” as CES founder Ted Sizer once said.

Richard Carranza, superintendent of San Francisco’s Unified School District, started Saturday’s sessions off by addressing the need for Continue reading…