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.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

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.

image2-1

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

Searching The Globe for a World Languages Teacher

Do you favor an educational process that backs diverse high school students in their search to discover their gifts and passions and then nurturing those gifts and passions? Does that sound better to you than rote instruction based on standardized tests and curricula?

Eagle Rock School World Languages

Do you like the notion of enabling students to explore and examine their lives and the world around them through language and culture? Do you think Spanish and other languages can be taught in cross-curricular experiences that are meaningful to teens that are actively working on reengaging themselves in their own education? Does a boarding school that bases its ”disciplinary action” on relationships and mutual respect resonate with you?

If you answered yes to those questions, consider applying for our latest job opening: World Languages Instructional Specialist.

At Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center (PDC), our instructional specialists work together to develop empowering active-learning opportunities for our students. We care about each other’s success and our student’s experience, and the way we work constantly and consistently leads to innovations that have an impact at our school and beyond.

That means we’re not only committed to our students here at Eagle Rock, but we learn from those experiences in order to Continue reading…

Strategic Plan Update: Curriculum and Instructional Practices Improvement

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.

– – – – – – – – –

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.

Strategic-Planning-Eagle-Rock-School

Our aim is that 50 percent of our assessment practices will be normed and shared across classrooms and disciplines by Continue reading…

World Class Instructors Visit Eagle Rock for Explore Week

Did you know that throughout recorded history, humans have had an attraction and affinity for gemstones? People from kings, pharaohs, monarchs, and businessmen, to artisans, shamans, scientists, and commoners have honored the power of the stones and worked with them for various personal and spiritual purposes.

That’s just one of the many topics Eagle Rock School students learned about at the end of October during the latest installment of Eagle Rock Explore Week. Students had a chance to discover a variety of topics related to hobbies, music, art, sporting and outdoor activities and other pursuits intended to enrich our community and better their lives.

EagleRockExploreWeek2

The weeklong learning options had the added benefit of offering a slight break for many of our Instructional Specialists, so they can prepare for the rest of the trimester, while enabling students to pick up knowledge they’ve self-selected as being beneficial to the future.

We have listed the titles of some of these opportunities below, along with the name or names of the instructors involved: Continue reading…

Explore Week Adds New Meaning to the Term ‘Alternative Education’

Jimmy_FrickeyThis week at Eagle Rock School, we find ourselves once again immersed in Explore Week, a thrice annual offering of lectures, classroom experiences and events that have little to do with credits or curriculum leading to a high school diploma, and everything to do with engaging students in their own education.

This special week enables Eagle Rock School students the opportunity to look at different job choices, hobbies, art and music, trending exercise regimens and outdoor activities they may have never experienced in the past.

So, instead of wondering if you’d maybe like to take up rock climbing as a pastime, Explore Week gets you past the “future planning stage” and onto the mountainside, learning the ropes and helping each other reach the peak.

Explore Week is also an opportunity during this — an intentional week on the School’s schedule — for many of our instructors to catch up on future schoolwork. Meanwhile, students explore alternative learning options, with many of the instructors coming from outside the Eagle Rock faculty family.

Below is an offering of this week’s “classroom” opportunities that already have students doing everything from writing songs to creating their own robot:

Robotics
Instructors: Jacob Guggenheim and Daniela DiGiamcomo

Students in this Explore Week course create their own robot under the watchful eyes of MIT Engineer Jacob Guggenheim and University of Colorado Boulder Learning Scientist Daniela DiGiamcomo. Here, students are exploring the fascinating field of engineering by learning how to program and going on visits with local design experts. Taking a deep dive into the life cycle of design and iteration, they are constructing robots and navigating them through mazes and challenges that the class created and will showcase for the final day’s presentations.

IMG_0307

About the Instructors: Jacob is a first year masters student in mechanical engineering at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He originally became interested in engineering — and robotics in particular — when he joined his high school’s first robotics team. What really hooked Jacob into robotics was the ability to take a problem (how to kick a soccer ball) and build something that could do it. During college he sought out projects and research that would continue to allow him to tinker and play with new systems. Today he applies this same mindset —though backed with a significant amount of math and theory — to automating single cell micromanipulation.

Daniela is a third year doctoral candidate in educational psychology and learning sciences and ethnic studies. She is working as a research assistant for the MacArthur Foundation’s Connected Learning Research Network as well as for the Ford Foundation’s “More and Better Learning Time” national initiatives. Daniela is a graduate instructor for Continue reading…