Eagle Rock Student Reflects on His Work in Professional Development

Editor’s Note: Nigel Taylor — who arrived at Eagle Rock in the Fall of 2014 as part of ER64 (the 64th entering group of new students since we opened our doors in the fall of 1993) — has done substantial work with our Professional Development Center. Nigel, who hails from Atlanta, Ga, and Detroit, Mich., hit the deck running by participating in last summer’s Deeper Learning and Equity course and helping to organize and run our relatively new weeklong Summer Institute for educators. Since then, Nigel has presented at the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Fall Forum and worked with professional development associate Sarah Bertucci on a school visit to City Neighbors High School in Baltimore, Md. This summer, Nigel — who is projected to graduate from Eagle Rock School in August — is co-teaching Deeper Learning and Equity with Sarah Bertucci and Brett Youngerman, our 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Literacy & Literature. And he’s slated to again help run our Summer Institute.  Continue reading…

Summer 2017 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center works with educators and schools committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our youth. That’s because we envision high schools as high functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. Through our offerings (click here for a full list), we facilitate school improvement and support the implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.

Below is a list that’s inclusive of where we’ve been thus far this spring, along with information about where our staff is headed between now and August. Complied by Eagle Rock’s 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, Sebastian Franco, this list demonstrates just a portion of Eagle Rock’s relevance on a national scale, and offers inspiration for educators and schools interested in professional development initiatives of their own.

Traveling separately, and sometimes as a team, our professional development staff members facilitate, convene, support, participate and work with local schools through the following engagements:

MAY

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May 8 – 10: Austin Independent School District (AISD), Austin, TX — The Austin Independent School District is responsible for the quality of education in the Austin District of Texas. Its mission is to prepare students for college and beyond as they live in one of the best cities for working and living. Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, Michael Soguero, will continue working with the leadership of AISD, as it continues to develop and support an entrepreneurial education program. This is part of efforts to better prepare students for 21st century demands. Michael will be traveling with Eagle Rock Human Performance and Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist, Jon Anderson to continue working with AISD from June 26 – 30.

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May 11: Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, CO — The EPSD is in charge of all education programs in the Estes Valley area and its focus is to prepare students to shine as citizens in a world that is increasingly diverse and technological. Sarah Bertucci, Professional Development Center Associate, and Sebastian Franco, Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow, have supported the school district on outreach efforts in conjunction with the district’s Estes Thrives initiative. This Professional Development Center’s work focused Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Michael Soguero Highlights ‘Getting Smart’ Podcast

Michael Soguero, Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, discusses what he believes high-quality professional learning looks like — within the context of secondary education — and what it entails for educators in a recent podcast produced by Getting Smart.

The 20-minute podcast focuses on Michael’s take on the quality professional development offered through our Professional Development Center and how great teaching is the key to increasing student engagement. The Getting Smart Podcast covers topics in K-12, higher education and lifelong learning, with episodes that cover developments in educational research, technology and methods. Michael was interviewed by Emily Liebtag, herself a teacher in settings ranging from K-12 public schools to online institutions of higher learning.

As you listen using the embed above, you’ll hear as Michael uses the metaphor of a cooking school, stating that the concept of quality learning is based on teaching students how to cook with the ingredients to be found in their own kitchen. Calling it an “asset-based approach,” he said good educators begin by completing an inventory of the assets on hand.

“What we do is ask the folks that we work with,” Michael says, “what got your attention? What is it that you’re aspiring to (what is your vision)? And then we help them develop their own answer / version of that aspiration by building on their local context.”

Michael then goes on to say Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Spirit, Setting and Staff Assists iLEAD in Adopting New Goals

By Dr. Angie Nastovska, Director of Humanities and Innovative Programs—iLEAD Schools.

Since the inception of iLEAD schools, co-founders Dawn Evenson and Amber Raskin have had the clear mission of impacting education through their vision: “Free to Think. Inspired to Lead.

The iLEAD model, which is based on project-based learning schools, goes to the heart of how kids learn — not because such concepts are faddish. Technology integration is approached as an organic part of the learning process — not as a spiffy add-on. iLEAD’s core values focus on encouraging leadership by instilling in each learner the confidence and character that inspires others — not just part of a career track.

iLEAD

That’s why iLEAD encourages learners to think for themselves. This requires a solid grounding in the arts, design and in humanities. It suggests a need for the learner to feel at home in the world. At iLEAD, “thinking for themselves” isn’t just about solving problems. Instead it is an organic view of the world in which they live. A world they will one day inherit.

Finally, iLEAD’s approach to education places strong emphasis on the social and emotional development of the learners. This is based on the belief that there is an implicit, as well as an explicit, curriculum to teach. The ultimate goal for iLEAD is nothing short of Continue reading…

Bay Area Educators Learn About Legacy During Eagle Rock Visit

Editor’s Note: Today’s post details a visit to Eagle Rock School by Nora Houseman, former principal of San Francisco Community School (SFC), and Jessica Fishman, a literary specialist at the school. SFC is a Small School by Design (SSD), meaning the school community selects its leader and the school district cannot under policy remove that person unless the leader is ineffective.

By Jessica Fishman, Literacy Specialist — San Francisco Community School

When Nora Houseman shared our intention to start a lab school and professional development center in San Francisco, a former Eagle Rock employee suggested we bring our vision to Michael Soguero and Dan Condon at Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

For years, Nora had heard wonderful stories about Eagle Rock, so we arrived with high expectations, eager to see the school and learn from Michael and Dan.

Aside from the stunning beauty of Estes Park and the campus, the first thing we noticed was a poster that read, “What’s Your Legacy?” That query highlights the Eagle Rock tradition of culminating student legacy projects. The second thing we spotted was a comfy communal meeting area full of colorful throw pillows and handpainted signs signaling various student-led clubs and activities.

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Everything at Eagle Rock — from the physical spaces to the carefully worded curriculum and the two- to four-student advisories — is intentionally designed to support the school’s mission of engagement and community.

Everyone is encouraged to pitch in and play a role, and that includes visitors. We had the opportunity to participate in a rousing game of Continue reading…