At Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, staff and students alike share in the principles of positive growth and addressing the greater good.
And while Eagle Rock’s backdrop is beautiful Estes Park in Colorado, our Professional Development Center team travels throughout the United States, engaging in the improvement of other learning institutions through consulting and coaching. This spring, that “greater good” took our PDC staffers to Albuquerque, N.M., where they worked with three new charter high schools — all part of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership — and all at various points in their development.
The New Mexico Center for School Leadership currently consists of three leadership high schools:
- Health Leadership High School (Founded in 2013)
- Ace leadership High School (Founded in 2010)
- Tech Leadership High School (Opening in 2015)
The center, founded by Tony Monfiletto, is dedicated to the premise that “learning by doing, positive youth development and the highest level of private industry collaboration, results in schools that can dramatically improve the graduation rates in our (their) community.”
As the New Mexico Center for School Leadership grows, we provide guidance and support through professional development, aiding in teacher learning, community development, metric development and any number of other projects.
At Health Leadership High School, where our focus is on aiding teacher learning, our Professional Development Team recently engaged staff in a session on improving group-work in the classroom. Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, engaged teachers through group-work modeling projects, research and discussions.
Dan’s lesson was designed for teachers to participate in their own group-work, which allows them to relive and redefine the elements of positive group-work. Gabriella Blakey, Health Leadership High School principal, told us afterwards that the teachers were reminded of how important group-work is for student development, and how they can better integrate group-work into their own lessons.
After Health Leadership High School, the next stop for was Tech Leadership High School, the newest addition the New Mexico Center for School Leadership. Here our team organized and operated an event to bring local technology professionals in on the development of an ideal school culture and an ideal school graduate. Facilitated by our own Michael Soguero, director of professional development, professionals from a range of technology backgrounds, brainstormed the knowledge, attributes and qualities of the ideal Tech Leadership High School graduate. The spirit of the room was inspired as education and technology professionals alike discussed the future integration of their two disciplines.
In the final project, the Professional Development crew gathered with teachers from all three high schools to begin designing new metrics to describe the intersection between personal and academic growth in school. Educators from the schools shared stories of their students’ personal and academic growth, in addition to potential means of sharing that growth consistently and without bias. As each educator shared his or her stories, the group’s passion seemed to grow as they became aware of the possible impact of the work they were doing.
Throughout our time in New Mexico, our professional development team provided invaluable support for these developing schools. The New Mexico Center for School Leadership is building learning communities where students feel comfortable to fail, grow, and connect, which aligns with Eagle Rock’s own 8+5=10.
By trip’s end, the one phrase that was continuously bandied about was “education reform.” And Eagle Rock stood as a clear foundation for this word to land upon.