Winter-Spring 2019 Briefing from the Professional Development Center

As Eagle Rock School’s staff members and students immerse themselves into the school’s 77th trimester, our non-stop Professional Development Center (PDC) continues its work in helping high schools across the country develop programs and protocols aimed at re-engaging youth in their own education.

For decades, our dedicated Professional Development Center team has signed on to collaborate with progressive and innovative educators around the United States in order to enhance educational strategies and design. To achieve the objectives and goals these educational organizations have developed for themselves, our facilitation builds on the assets they already possess (we refer to it as asset-based facilitation).

Please see the schedule below to see what’s on our facilitation agenda for now through the middle of April (and use the information presented at the end of this briefing to get in touch with us about your organization’s upcoming professional development-related needs):

JANUARY 2019

Jan. 21 – 23

Princeton Program for Teacher Preparation, Estes Park, Colo.: Dan Condon, Eagle Rock Associate Director of Professional Development, along with Doen Lee, our 2018/2019 Fellow in Professional Development, are hosting Ally Markovich from the Princeton Program for Teacher Preparation here on the Eagle Rock campus. In this visit, Ally will have many opportunities to observe Continue reading…

Cultivating Democracy in High Schools Across Illinois

As you may have read in the Press Release section of the Eagle Rock website, our Professional Development Center is deeply engaged in supporting education renewal work in Illinois. Specially, we’re working in collaboration with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to further the organization’s Democracy Schools program in select high schools across the Prairie state.

The Democracy Schools program is based on the premise that a healthy democracy requires the informed and active participation of all its citizens. Together, Eagle Rock and the McCormick Foundation are supporting a growing network of Illinois high schools committed to educating and empowering students to nurture and sustain democracy. Through high-quality civic learning experiences, students develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that facilitate informed participation in democratic institutions and communities.

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Research has shown that these experiences also promote civic equality, build 21st century competencies, improve school climate, and reduce high school drop-out rates.

Instructional Rounds: The Mechanism for Improvement

Digging a little deeper, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation has engaged our Professional Development Center to provide a key mechanism for improvement in Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Supports Austin’s Youth Entrepreneurs

The Austin (Tex.) Independent School District’s Board of Trustees has many admirable core beliefs, including “All students will graduate college-, career-, and life-ready.”  With that in mind, the District’s latest Strategic Plan Scorecard (PDF file) reveals that 90 percent of its students graduate from high school in four years, but only 70 percent enroll directly in college within one year of graduation (or earn college credit prior to high school graduation).

Among the district’s many efforts to improve college enrollment rates — and prepare more of its students for what life holds in store for them post-graduation — is an innovative program aimed at raising the bar on youth entrepreneurship. Aptly named Student INC, the district-embedded program is on a mission to ignite and align the youth entrepreneurship movement in Austin, and along the way, play a leading role in establishing the central Texas community as the youth entrepreneurship capital of the world.

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In South Austin, where Crockett High School is located, the school district turned to our Professional Development Center to facilitate the enhancement of an existing Student INC program and implement programming that sets students up for success after graduation. That’s a perfect project for our professional development team, which works with educators across the country to make the high school experience more engaging for young people.

It turns out, Austin ranks No. 6 in the nation for its ability to attract experienced entrepreneurs and tech talent to the city’s south side. It also ranks No. 3 for economic growth potential and is No. 2 when it comes to the concentration of tech jobs within the country, according to Business Facilities’ 2018 Metro Rankings Report. In addition, the city is ranked No. 4 in the Technology IT Hiring Forecastwhen it comes to desirable locations where CIOs would like to add tech teams.

But if you stop to ask Desiree Morales, the Austin Independent School District’s entrepreneurship program director, about those figures, she’s quick to point out a Continue reading…

Professional Development Team on Pace to Facilitate 30 Events This Trimester

As our 76th trimester gets underway at Eagle Rock School, our Professional Development Center continues to host and facilitate the needs and opportunities of educational organizations around the country — with 30 such events on the calendar for the trimester at hand.

With an asset-based lens embedded in our facilitation, we support educators in determining and applying steps that lead towards powerful organizational transformation. The objective is to re-engage students in their own education. Learn more about our work by visiting the Professional Development Center section of our website. Or, for a more precise accounting of our work — including a partial list of current PDC clients and the work we’re doing between now and the end of this year — please see below:

AUGUST 2018

August 9 – 10

iLEAD_CircleLogo_Blue

iLEAD, Castaic, Calif.: Founded 10 years ago in the Santa Clarita Valley area of Southern California, iLEAD  charter schools focus on project-based learning and student-led assessments to improve the quality of education. Dan Condon, Eagle Rock’s Associate Director of Professional Development, spent two days with Empower Generations (a charter school that supports pregnant and parenting teens) and Innovation Studios (a high school with a hybrid learning environment of human resources and technology). Dan’s objective was to cover enduring understandings and learning targets with the two program’s instructors.

August 20 – 21

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I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD), Boulder, Colo.: With the objective of assisting low-income students to and through college, iHAD’s seeks to provide a long-term, comprehensive educational and cultural enrichment programs to members of Boulder’s student body. Dan Condon was on hand to provide support for launching professional learning communities within this organization.

August 24

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New Visions Charter School for the Humanities IV, Queens, N.Y.: Dan visited the charter school in Queens, N.Y., to discuss a future partnership. New Visions school in Rockaway Park, offers routes to success for urban students who otherwise might not have access to both formal arts training and a college preparatory education. Eagle Rock envisions working with the organization to Continue reading…

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…