Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment

Strategic-Planning-Eagle-Rock-SchoolEditor’s Note: “Vision 2020” is the name of the strategic planning process adopted five years ago by Eagle Rock’s board of directors. It helps ensure that our long-term goals coincide with what we do on campus on a day-to-day basis. The vision focuses on seven distinct areas — known as domains — that guide our board, administrators, instructors, staff members and students. One of these domains centers on our academic curriculum, focusing on creating a framework for normed common assessments.

In today’s post, Eagle Rock staffers Jen Frickey, director of curriculum, and Jon Anderson, outdoor education instructional specialist and this year’s instructional coach, address and update the work our staff is doing in the domain of academic curriculum.

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Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment
By Jen Frickey (Director of Curriculum) & John Anderson (Human Performance & Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist / 2018 Instructional Coach)

This year, the theme for professional development within Eagle Rock School’s instructional realm, is a close scrutiny of our academic curriculum — specifically pinpointing our power standards. At Eagle Rock School, all students must successfully pass power standard classes on each of our 5 Expectations. These include:

  1. Leadership for Justice
  2. Expanding Knowledge Base
  3. Effective Communication
  4. Healthy Life Choices
  5. Engaged Global Citizen

Top of mind for our educators this year are the school’s Enduring Understanding and long-term learning targets for their own professional development. Enduring Understanding — also known as our 10-Year Takeaway — asks teachers to consider what it is that students will remember about their particular class and what they retained a decade from now.

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By creating and implementing schoolwide common assessments, instructors can improve teacher capacity, thus enhancing Continue reading…

Engaged Global Citizen As Part Of Eagle Rock’s 5 Expectations

Teacher_LoungeA quick glance at the curriculum here at Eagle Rock School illustrates how we insist our students take charge — and take possession — of their own learning experiences and responsibilities. As a value-driven school, we encourage our students to concentrate heavily on mastering certain competencies.

Among these competencies is a fundamental philosophy that we call “8 + 5 = 10.” That’s eight themes, five expectations and 10 commitments that are a roadmap of sorts, intended to shape daily experiences both on campus and off.

Specifically, among the five expectations are:

  1. Learning to communicate effectively
  2. Expanding one’s knowledge base
  3. Become an engaged global citizen
  4. Acquiring leadership skills in order to achieve justice
  5. Creating healthy life choices

A few weeks ago we told you about Expanding Knowledge Base as Part of Eagle Rock’s 5 Expectations. In today’s post, we’re going to tackle the intricacies of the third expectation: evolving into engaged global citizens. And what is it that we expect from these newly emerging global citizens?

This expectation is based on a worldwide plan of action, where we encourage our students to develop skills and knowledge in order to concentrate on peaceful, productive interactions with global issues within the context of cultural and ecosystem diversity.

What are some of these issues? According to the non-profit Peace Jam a Denver-based nonprofit that we align with very closely, especially as it relates to helping our students become engaged global citizens — these issues include: Continue reading…

Expanding Knowledge Base as Part of Eagle Rock’s 5 Expectations

We expect a lot from students here at Eagle Rock School, and we make no bones about ensuring these expectations are understood and accepted. In fact, we even call them the “5 Expectations” so that every student leaves here as a productive, engaged citizen, ready and willing to make a difference in the world.

Among these five expectations are:

  1. Learning to communicate effectively
  2. Expanding one’s knowledge base
  3. Become an engaged citizen
  4. Acquiring leadership skills in order to achieve justice
  5. Creating healthy life choices

Today we’re going to focus on No. 2 of these expectations: Expanding Knowledge Base.

One of our expectations for all Eagle Rock students is that they will acquire the skills necessary to become independent learners and problem solvers. Traditional math and English courses often fall within this expectation.

In our math classes, this expectation is usually tied to a specific content area such as algebra, geometry, probability, statistics or calculus. Within these areas, many math courses at Eagle Rock revolve around specific real-world situations. For example, exploring gambling games and how probability factors into that casino floor equation. Others include how to research and interpret (data analysis), how to predict outcomes (statistics), and how to hide things (cryptography).

Within many of Becky Poore’s math classes, final projects are assigned for the purpose of assessing what’s been learned and offering students the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase the skills they’ve acquired. For the gambling example above, from a math class on probability, students are expected to expand their knowledge base by creating their own game of chance.

In other math classes, students are tasked with Continue reading…