Winter/Spring 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Winter/Spring 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note:  Each year, the highly skilled and energetic staff from within Eagle Rock Professional Development Center (PDC) pack up and head off to visit dozens of high schools from coast to coast. Once on the ground, they meet up with teachers and administrators in support of efforts intended to engage students in their own education.

Professional Development Eagle Rock

Our insistence on creating high-functioning centers of learning — fueled by active student engagement — is what has kept our professional development services so popular with educators nationwide for nearly 25 years.

What we offer below is a calendar listing of what we have done so far this year, and what lies in the immediate future as our PDC crew participates with schools in cities that touch all corners of our country. This schedule was compiled by Sebastian Franco, our 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development.

JANUARY 2018

Crosstown-High

Jan. 8 – 11
Crosstown High School (CXH) and Future Focused Education (formerly the New Mexico Center for School Leadership) Memphis, TN — Crosstown High School (CXH is among the newest public charter schools, opening this August. Last month, Eagle Rock’s Director of Professional Development Michael Soguero, 2017/2018 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Music Josue Quintana, and World Languages Instructional Specialist Josan Perales led a retreat for CXH. They facilitated this XQ Super School’s efforts to build curriculum in partnership with community partners. Josan and Josue followed up by conducting three local student focus groups while Michael joined with leaders from Future Focused Education to assist with the creation of new schools.

Jan. 10
Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD), OR — NWRESD supports school districts northwest of Portland with the mission to provide students with the right tools and resources to prepare them for higher education and potential careers. Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci headed a team retreat for Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Take on Letter Grades vs Competency-based Education

In her recent article for Edutopia entitled Will Letter Grades Survive?, freelance education writer Laura McKenna writes that hundreds of top schools, lawmakers and boards of education have determined A through F grades and their subsequent grade point averages are outmoded, unfair and inaccurate gauges of a student’s educational progress.

Hear, hear!

McKenna is an educator, researcher, professor, parent and a writer. Specializing in the politics of education and education policy, McKenna’s article also opines about the future of the archaic A-F letter grade system that appears on most of this nation’s student transcripts.

Will Letter Grades Survive

“The old models of student assessment,” she writes, “are out of step with the needs of the 21st century workplace and society, with their emphasis on hard-to-measure skills such as creativity, problem solving, persistence, and collaboration.”

She writes that there is a growing consensus among educators and legislators that grades, standardized tests — even homework — cannot accurately reflect a students’ skills. Further, she sees these tools as Continue reading…

20-Mile March Takes Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Team to Vermont and Beyond

Our Professional Development Center team members — usually individually or in groups of two — visit dozens of educational sites across the nation each year. While this “you go this way and I’ll go that way” approach enables us to serve more schools and cover more ground, we find that we can potentially lose touch with those practices that make our center so successful.

Among the tools we bring along on these coast to coast educational retreats, seminars and workshops is a concept called “20-Mile Marching,” which helps our team members achieve great things in their work — despite the chaotic schedule and workload that confronts all of us on an annual basis.

Eagle Rock's Professional Development Center staffers: (Back row - from L to R) — Sarah Bertucci, Christi Kelston, Dan Condon, and Michael Soguero. (Front row - from L to R) — Sebastian Franco and Anastacia Galloway Reed.

Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center staffers: (Back row – from L to R) — Sarah Bertucci, Christi Kelston, Dan Condon, and Michael Soguero. (Front row – from L to R) — Sebastian Franco and Anastacia Galloway Reed.

The noted business consultant, author, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth, Jim Collins, first offered up the notion of “20-Mile Marching” in his 2011 book, Great By Choice, and we here at Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center are particularly drawn to its implications about working smart and resting well in order to operate on a near-even keel as opposed to a constant roller-coaster ride.

And along the lines of “working smart,” we make a point once each year to arrive — as a group — at one client engagement that has asked for our expertise in facilitating the big picture work associated with reengaging youth in their own education. By traveling at least once per year as a complete team, we enjoy the bonus of Continue reading…

Fall 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

Editor’s Note: Often traveling by themselves and sometimes as a team, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff works with educators and school administrators across the country with the goal in mind of ensuring high school becomes an engaging experience for youth.

We see all high schools as having the potential of being high-functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. For more than two decades, we have facilitated school improvement and supported practices that foster each student’s unique potential, thus stimulating their minds, through the engagements we’ve facilitated under the work of our PDC.

Below is a list of what we’re working on this fall as our staff facilitates, convenes, supports, and participates with local schools spanning both coasts.

This schedule was compiled with support from Sebastian Franco, Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development. The calendar is just a small illustration of what Eagle Rock does on a national scale, offering schools and communities of practice the tools necessary to develop their own youth engagement initiatives:

SEPTEMBER                                                                                       

Sept. 11

Toronto_HS

Toronto High School, Ohio Valley, Ohio — Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, is one of the newest facilities in eastern Ohio providing various enrichment opportunities for students. These include Destination Imagination (a program that teaches students the creative process and empowers them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world), science fairs, debate team, among others. The school also offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as they prepare students for post-secondary education. Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed revisited this school as it continues collaboration on implementing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.

Sept. 11 — 12… Continue reading…

Summer Break 2017 at Eagle Rock School

To paraphrase the American nonfiction writer Charles Bowden, summertime at Eagle Rock offers the best of what might be.

For new students who arrived in early-June, it’s the beginning of a new high school experience and the wilderness orientation trip that accompanies it. For our Public Allies fellows, it’s the end of an advanced year-long service and leadership development experience. And of course, summer signals the graduation of another group of Eagle Rock School students.

(Image ©2017 Joven Nichols)

(Image ©2017 Joven Nichols)

The summer months on our mountainside campus never fail to impress upon us some of the values we hold so dear — namely, that we choose to focus on continuous improvement and that we are a small organization with an outsized impact.

Along those lines, summer break at Eagle Rock School offers time for some staff, instructors, and administrators to regroup by focusing on Continue reading…