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

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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…

Summer 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: Whenever the summer months begin to make themselves known, you can be certain Eagle Rock School’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff is fully immersed in working with schools and learning organizations throughout the United States with the mandate of helping engage students in their own education.

Our knowledgeable Professional Development staff is on a tight schedule that continues through the summer months, visiting teachers and administrators at high schools in cities across the nation. For a quarter of a century, our PDC staff has been tasked with facilitating high-functioning oases of education — one school at a time.

Below is the ambitious schedule for Summer 2018 that includes areas where we’ve already met with educators and what’s on the agenda for the remainder of the summer season. The schedule was painstakingly prepared by Sebastian Franco, our 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development.

MAY 2018

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May 10

Toronto High School, Toronto, Ohio: Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, provides various enrichment opportunities for students, including Destination Imagination, science fairs, and the debate team. The district offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as it prepares students for post-secondary education. Eagle Rock Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed and Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow Sebastian Franco conducted an asset observation throughout various classrooms, based on the Universal Design for Learning model.

May 10

Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, Colo.: 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. Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci  worked on essential learning outcomes with the school district’s superintendent and teacher leaders on the district’s Global Outcomes team.

May 11

I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD), Boulder, Colo.: iHAD of Boulder provides support and resources to high school students by helping them graduate and achieve their dreams of attending college. Most students in the program have the opportunity to Continue reading…

Winter/Spring 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Winter/Spring 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note:  Each year, the highly skilled and energetic staff from within Eagle Rock Professional Development Center (PDC) pack up and head off to visit dozens of high schools from coast to coast. Once on the ground, they meet up with teachers and administrators in support of efforts intended to engage students in their own education.

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Our insistence on creating high-functioning centers of learning — fueled by active student engagement — is what has kept our professional development services so popular with educators nationwide for nearly 25 years.

What we offer below is a calendar listing of what we have done so far this year, and what lies in the immediate future as our PDC crew participates with schools in cities that touch all corners of our country. This schedule was compiled by Sebastian Franco, our 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development.

JANUARY 2018

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Jan. 8 – 11
Crosstown High School (CXH) and Future Focused Education (formerly the New Mexico Center for School Leadership) Memphis, TN — Crosstown High School (CXH is among the newest public charter schools, opening this August. Last month, Eagle Rock’s Director of Professional Development Michael Soguero, 2017/2018 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Music Josue Quintana, and World Languages Instructional Specialist Josan Perales led a retreat for CXH. They facilitated this XQ Super School’s efforts to build curriculum in partnership with community partners. Josan and Josue followed up by conducting three local student focus groups while Michael joined with leaders from Future Focused Education to assist with the creation of new schools.

Jan. 10
Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD), OR — NWRESD supports school districts northwest of Portland with the mission to provide students with the right tools and resources to prepare them for higher education and potential careers. Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci headed a team retreat for Continue reading…