Editor’s Note: Back in 2013, Eagle Rock’s board of directors embarked on a strategic planning process that resulted in the adoption of a plan titled ‘Vision 2020’ that assures what we do day-to-day reflects the long-term goals that the organization aims to achieve (see News From The Rock: Vision 2020 for an overview of that plan and process). ‘Vision 2020’ includes seven distinct areas of focus (a.k.a. domains) that guide our board, administrators, staff members and students. In today’s blog post, Jen Frickey offers an update on our third strategic domain — Academic Curriculum.
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By Jen Frickey, Director of Curriculum
Here at Eagle Rock, we intentionally place a significant amount of energy into graduating students who have the desire — and are prepared — to make a difference in the world. We implement effective and engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and these help young people use their minds well. To support this, we are working on improving our approach to assessment at Eagle Rock so there is more consistency in assessing what we value across all classes.
As we continue to improve our curriculum and instructional practices, it is important to us that we are challenging our students and delivering quality instruction across all classes and other learning experiences at Eagle Rock. For that reason, we are focusing a portion of our strategic work around creating a framework for normed common formative and summative assessments.
Our aim is that 50 percent of our assessment practices will be normed and shared across classrooms and disciplines by August 2018. By the following August, we expect students will be achieving to demonstrated normed standards for learning.
The initial work we’ve done has helped us make progress in this direction. To start, we enlisted the help of a staff “Champion Team” to help guide the work and keep us connected to various stakeholders. Eagle Rock’s human performance and outdoor education instructional specialist, Jon Anderson, and professional development associate, Sarah Bertucci, have been incredible assets in this work to date. We have hosted two staff meetings where we shared the vision of this project, seeking staff input on the direction and plan moving forward.
We have also increased the impact and depth of this work by intentionally integrating it with our annual instructional focus on literacy across the curriculum. Our first high-leverage area of focus was to tap into the work we were already doing with the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) — an innovative assessment designed explicitly for the twenty-first-century student.
This is a performance task assessment that we’d been using at Eagle Rock School for four years, with a number of instructors using such task assessments in their classrooms. We were ready to start using this type of assessment across all classes. Under the leadership and modeling from Anna Magle-Haberek (Human Performance Center Instructional Specialist), Dan Hoffman (Literacy And Literature Instructional Specialist), Janet Johnson (Science Instructional Specialist) and Jon Anderson, our Instructional Specialist (IS) team is now undergoing professional development on creating relevant and challenging performance tasks for all Eagle Rock classes.
Beginning this trimester, these performance task assessments are showing up in various ways in all classes as a type of formative or summative assessment.
We still have a ways to go with our work on common assessment, and we are excited for the progress being made. Having the direction and intention behind our strategic domains helps drive and prioritize this work, and keeps us accountable to various stakeholders — especially our students. We’re excited for the outcomes of this work over the coming years.
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About The Author: Jen Frickey is Eagle Rock’s director of curriculum, overseeing the school’s academic curriculum and learning experience for students. She also supports staff in the creation of engaging, innovative and experiential learning opportunities for Eagle Rock’s diverse student body.