If you know anything about the goings-on at Eagle Rock, you’re probably aware that our Professional Development Center (PDC) works hand-in-hand with educators from across the nation.
Educators and others come to us for insights on how to successfully re-engage, retain and graduate students. They come to us because we’re experienced and really good at what we do. There’s a bit of a boast in that statement, but it’s the truth.
And what we don’t do is tout ourselves as the only solution available. In fact, solutions aren’t what we offer. What our PDC offers is a process that enables schools to re-engage with their students within their own particular campus environment based on what resources are available to them and how the educators and students themselves define success in such endeavors.
As a result of our efforts, we continue to attract schools from all corners of the country. Take educators in Iowa, for example. Sometime early next year, we’ll be conducting observations of competency-based systems for the Iowa State Department of Education. We’ll be visiting a pair of school districts in Collins-Maxwell and Van Meter — both situated near Des Moines.
Also, you might recall back in September we told you about how we were helping six schools in New Mexico develop metrics for success. Come next month, we’ll also be conducting observations at those six schools. They include ACE Leadership, Health Leadership, Amy Biehl High School, South Valley Academy, Native American Community Academy and American Sign Language Academy. Our plan is to follow up our observations by meeting up with leaders of these schools — along with Tony Monfiletto, executive director of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership (NMCSL) — and the good folks at the McCune Charitable Foundation.
Also in New Mexico, the NMCSL will soon be launching the chartering process for a new Entrepreneurship-focused school. As we have with their previous three charters (ACE, Health, Tech), we will facilitate the initial curriculum vision for the school, which involves engaging industry partners.
About four years ago we assisted in the launch of the Mid-Atlantic Critical Friends Group (CFG) for Big Picture Learning. In 2015, those CFG gatherings will continue in Philadelphia, Pa. (Wed, Jan 14 at El Centro), Newark, N.J. (Fri Mar 13 at Big Picture Academy), and in March and April (dates TBD) at Fannie Lou Hamer High School in Bronx, N.Y.
Speaking of Fannie Lou Hamer, we have two visits in the pipeline to continue supporting the Bronx school. Previously, we’ve helped them launch their peer observation system, which is built around Fred Newmann’s Authentic Intellectual Work framework.
And we plan to continue our support of transforming public education in the state of Washington to better meet the learning needs of all students — particularly those least effectively served by existing programs — by supporting the work of the Puget Sound Consortium for School Innovation (a Big Picture Learning initiative).
Below is a listing of our Professional Development Center’s activities scheduled from now through the end of March. If you would like to know more about our work or how your school or community program can work with our Professional Development Center, please contact our associate director of professional development, Dan Condon, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.
Jan 7 and Mar 11, 2015
We’ll be in Winooski, Vt., where PDC Associate Sarah Bertucci continues consulting with the Winooski School District as they move toward proficiency-based graduation systems.
Jan 8, 2015
We return to Albuquerque, N.M., where Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, will be supporting the work of Health Leadership High School on increasing productive group learning in a project-based learning school.
Jan 9, 2015
Also in Albuquerque, Michael Soguero, director of professional development, leads a daylong session for Amy Biehl High School and its stakeholders, including students, graduates and student mentors. Michael’s focus is on facilitating the development of standards to assess graduating seniors for college, work readiness and civic engagement.
Jan 14 — 17, 2015
PDC team members and instructional staff will be in Tucson, Ariz., attending the annual School Reform Initiative (SRI) Winter Meeting. Here at Eagle Rock, we regularly use protocols developed by SRI to drive our own professional development.
Jan 21 — 23, 2015
We’ll be at the 2014-15 Big Picture Leadership Conference in Oakland, Calif., well represented by Dan, Michael and Sarah, who are facilitating sessions and workshops. We have organized a visit to Met West High School — a Big Picture School where Dan is directing some of his efforts.
Jan 26 — 31, 2015
As you may have read, the PDC team is conducting an ongoing search for a new Public Allies Director to replace Mark Palmer. We will be hosting candidates on site this final week of January.
Jan 29 — 30, 2015
Here, we’ll be hosting the current cohort of Rowland Fellows on site at Eagle Rock in Estes Park, Colo. These fellows work on a variety of initiatives at their home schools including developing advisory systems, creating personalized learning plans and transforming schools to proficiency-based graduation.
Feb 17 — 20, 2015
Michael, along with Jon Anderson, Eagle Rock’s Human Performance Center instructional specialist, are working with Big Picture coach Dana Luria at Blanche Kelso Bruce in Detroit to strengthen the rigor of real world learning projects.
Mar 8 — 12, 2015
We will be holding our biannual convening of Coalition of Essential Schools Center Directors, this time around in Austin, Tex., to coincide with South by Southwest EDU.
Mar 28 — 29, 2015
Finally, the PDC team will be joining Tony Monfiletto of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership at TEDxABQ from March 28-29 in Albuquerque, N.M. There, we will follow up with TEDx presenters to help them develop action plans following their talks.
Once again, if you would like information about our work or how your school or community program can work with our Professional Development Center, please contact our associate director of professional development, Dan Condon, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.
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About the Author: Michael Soguero is the director of professional development at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. There, he is primarily responsible for developing strategy that positively affects public education throughout the United States.