Eagle Rock’s Michael Soguero Highlights ‘Getting Smart’ Podcast

Michael Soguero, Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, discusses what he believes high-quality professional learning looks like — within the context of secondary education — and what it entails for educators in a recent podcast produced by Getting Smart.

The 20-minute podcast focuses on Michael’s take on the quality professional development offered through our Professional Development Center and how great teaching is the key to increasing student engagement. The Getting Smart Podcast covers topics in K-12, higher education and lifelong learning, with episodes that cover developments in educational research, technology and methods. Michael was interviewed by Emily Liebtag, herself a teacher in settings ranging from K-12 public schools to online institutions of higher learning.

As you listen using the embed above, you’ll hear as Michael uses the metaphor of a cooking school, stating that the concept of quality learning is based on teaching students how to cook with the ingredients to be found in their own kitchen. Calling it an “asset-based approach,” he said good educators begin by completing an inventory of the assets on hand.

“What we do is ask the folks that we work with,” Michael says, “what got your attention? What is it that you’re aspiring to (what is your vision)? And then we help them develop their own answer / version of that aspiration by building on their local context.”

Michael then goes on to say Continue reading…

Spring Break at Eagle Rock School is Worktime for Many Eagle Rockers

Eagle Rock School’s 71st trimester officially ended last week, with students from all points of the compass heading home for a well-deserved break. Same goes for many staff and instructional specialists — many are welcoming a short break afforded by the trimester cycle. But as you’ll see from reading on, not all who call Eagle Rock home are on break.

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Staff that are on break return to campus on Monday, May 8, followed by veteran students who come back on Sunday, May 14, to participate in some All School activities and house retreats before classes start on Monday, May 22.

Eagle Rock’s new students — the incoming group we’ll refer to as ER 72 — arrive on Saturday, May 20, just in time for a week of being on campus before heading out for their 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…

Eagle Rock Staffers Recommend Their Favorites Podcast Episodes

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ve noticed that our staff isn’t the least bit shy about recommending books and movies to our peers in progressive education. It is in that vein that we’re pleased to recommend the below episodes from among some of our staffers favorite podcasts. If one or more of them grab your attention, just click on the title and listen in:

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Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? An episode from the Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This episode of the Freakonomics Radio Podcast goes to great lengths to explore the notion that maybe some students aren’t succeeding today because of teacher quality. While it’s true we spend more money per student than practically any other nation in the world, the U.S. education system is failing on many fronts — especially in math. It begs the question: Are our students getting the 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…