Summer 2017 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center works with educators and schools committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our youth. That’s because we envision high schools as high functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. Through our offerings (click here for a full list), we facilitate school improvement and support the implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.

Below is a list that’s inclusive of where we’ve been thus far this spring, along with information about where our staff is headed between now and August. Complied by Eagle Rock’s 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, Sebastian Franco, this list demonstrates just a portion of Eagle Rock’s relevance on a national scale, and offers inspiration for educators and schools interested in professional development initiatives of their own.

Traveling separately, and sometimes as a team, our professional development staff members facilitate, convene, support, participate and work with local schools through the following engagements:

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May 8 – 10: Austin Independent School District (AISD), Austin, TX — The Austin Independent School District is responsible for the quality of education in the Austin District of Texas. Its mission is to prepare students for college and beyond as they live in one of the best cities for working and living. Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, Michael Soguero, will continue working with the leadership of AISD, as it continues to develop and support an entrepreneurial education program. This is part of efforts to better prepare students for 21st century demands. Michael will be traveling with Eagle Rock Human Performance and Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist, Jon Anderson to continue working with AISD from June 26 – 30.

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May 11: Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, CO — 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. Sarah Bertucci, Professional Development Center Associate, and Sebastian Franco, Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow, have supported the school district on outreach efforts in conjunction with the district’s Estes Thrives initiative. This Professional Development Center’s work focused Continue reading…

This Eagle Rock Mom is Celebrating Mother’s Day With 15 of Her Kids

With my fourth Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I find myself grateful for the experience of having my own child and family. Every day is both a blessing and a challenge. Cleaning up messes, receiving sticky kisses, disciplining a small child, and cuddling during family movies are all a part of my daily routine.

Frequently, I’m late to events with friends because of “one more kiss,” and all too often I show up at work with a messy up-do and only mascara on my face because that’s all the time I had to get ready after rushing my family out the door.

When our son was just six months old, Philbert Smith, Eagle Rock’s now-retired Director of Students, sat down with Kevin and I to discuss the possibility of becoming the next houseparents for Pinon House. Having no clue of what raising a child would entail, and having no point of reference for the challenges we would face, we nevertheless eagerly accepted the opportunity.

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Imagine yourself with your own six-month-old. They aren’t really crawling yet and they definitely aren’t talking. They have some pretty basic needs — requirements that often occur in the middle of the night — that once again disrupt your sleep schedule.

That’s fine because you can always go to sleep early the next night and catch up, right? Okay, take this scenario and insert 14 teenagers into the equation. Sounds disastrous, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing. The love you give your Continue reading…

Graduate Higher Ed Funding Grows With Each Rubber Duck Purchase

Whoo-hoo — it’s Duck Race season! We’re very blessed to have such an incredible base of support in the extended Eagle Rock community and we’re super excited to kick off this year’s race.

And when it comes to fundraisers for our school’s Graduate Higher Education Fund, what could be more festive than a Rubber Duck race? Why, you can’t even say rubber ducky without smiling. So, when you’re offered the opportunity to make a contribution to our Graduate Higher Education Fund — and potentially win valuable prizes — it becomes an easy decision.

Estes Park Duck Race Mascot Quilten T. Canvasback visits with Eagle Rock students and staff.

Estes Park Duck Race mascot, Quilten T. Canvasback, visits with Eagle Rock students and staff in advance of the 2017 Estes Park Duck Race.

Which probably goes a long way in explaining why the Estes Park Duck Race is such a huge success. Held each year on the first Saturday in May, this event has raised more than $2 million for local charities and organizations since the first event back in 1989. And among the big beneficiaries of the festivities has been Eagle Rock School’s Graduate Higher Education Fund.

The 2017 edition of the Duck Race & Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6, and here’s how it works and why you may want to considering adopting a duck or two or three or more: Continue reading…

Spring 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

Since beginning my Public Allies Fellowship with Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center last fall, I have taken note of the many traits that make our professional development team so successful.

As background, the Professional Development Center team is charged with executing on a mission to support schools (we refer to them as “partners”) around the country to increase high school student engagement. What is not well known is that the team provides those services to our partners at no cost to them, and our team consists of just four facilitators who regularly provide our services. This presents an interesting challenge as we cannot increase our headcount despite the ever-increasing demand for our services.

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To meet that challenge, the team has developed a set of practices characterized by working smarter rather than harder. Hallmarks of the team’s practice include organization, efficiency, and constant communication among staffers. Everyone understands what the goals are for each trimester and how their portfolio of partners needs to be shaped for maximum impact.

In normal circumstances, observing such traits among a high-functioning team should be a simple matter. But circumstances here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center are not normal, with all six members of the professional development team constantly Continue reading…

Using ‘Improvement Science’ to Advance Teacher Preparation

Editor’s Note: Today’s Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center blog post comes to us by way of Kari Thierer, organizational director at School Reform Initiative (SRI) — a nonprofit that works to support the creation of transformational learning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence. Eagle Rock recently hosted Kari and some of her SRI colleagues for a two-day retreat centered on improvement science. Below, Kari discusses her group’s work and its experience with tapping into Eagle Rock’s professional development services.

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Using ‘Improvement Science’ to Advance Teacher Preparation
By Kari Thierer, Organizational Director — School Reform Initiative (SRI)

We have the privilege of working with educators serving pre-kindergarten students all the way through college, in schools throughout the world. Our work began in 1995 as a way to provide better professional development for the schools that were part of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) network, and this mission has continued to grow and evolve over the years.

We are fortunate to have a relationship with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, both through our work as a CES National Center, as well as having the opportunity to work alongside amazing facilitators like Eagle Rock’s Michael Soguero, Dan Condon and Anastacia Galloway — all of whom are part of the SRI community of facilitators.

As our work has evolved, a growing area of conversation has centered around how to support pre-service education programs and bring the principles and practices of SRI critical friendship into licensure programs. Our belief is that these tools and practices will Continue reading…