Summer 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: Whenever the summer months begin to make themselves known, you can be certain Eagle Rock School’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff is fully immersed in working with schools and learning organizations throughout the United States with the mandate of helping engage students in their own education.

Our knowledgeable Professional Development staff is on a tight schedule that continues through the summer months, visiting teachers and administrators at high schools in cities across the nation. For a quarter of a century, our PDC staff has been tasked with facilitating high-functioning oases of education — one school at a time.

Below is the ambitious schedule for Summer 2018 that includes areas where we’ve already met with educators and what’s on the agenda for the remainder of the summer season. The schedule was painstakingly prepared by Sebastian Franco, our 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development.

MAY 2018

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May 10

Toronto High School, Toronto, Ohio: Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, provides various enrichment opportunities for students, including Destination Imagination, science fairs, and the debate team. The district offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as it prepares students for post-secondary education. Eagle Rock Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed and Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow Sebastian Franco conducted an asset observation throughout various classrooms, based on the Universal Design for Learning model.

May 10

Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, Colo.: 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. Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci  worked on essential learning outcomes with the school district’s superintendent and teacher leaders on the district’s Global Outcomes team.

May 11

I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD), Boulder, Colo.: iHAD of Boulder provides support and resources to high school students by helping them graduate and achieve their dreams of attending college. Most students in the program have the opportunity to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students, Instructors and Staff Wrap Up Another Successful Year

It’s been a busy December here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and as we wind down for the holiday season, we thought it might be helpful to post a schedule for the rest of 2017 and the beginning of the calendar year ahead.

First off, where we’ve been this month:

  • We graduated three of our amazing students with pomp and circumstance last Friday, with the rest of the student population heading back to families spread across the nation last weekend.
  • Our staff held a holiday party this past Sunday, wrapping up the trimester with a final staff meeting on Monday morning.

Many staff members will be gathering together to make plans for our 74th trimester (ER-74) this week, as well as put additional thought and work in on the planning for our 25th Anniversary Celebration, which is scheduled for June 30, 2018, here in Estes Park, Colo. And, of course, our business office and operations team continues to run the day-to-day tasks that recognize deadlines and schedules (in addition to holidays and celebrations).

Meanwhile, staff from our Professional Development Center are wrapping up the current trimester with several commitments in Wisconsin in support of our clients. These include visits with Continue reading…

Tips for Videoconferencing with Professional Learning Communities

School Reform Initiative (SRI) protocols within Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) have more impact when they are facilitated face-to-face by a skilled facilitator.

Being a member of the professional development team here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, I personally support about 10 school network or district clients nationally, which means there are times when I can’t be with them in person. Such face-to-face meetings are important, and I try to arrange these more personal consultations when possible.

But for those times when that’s not possible, I’ve facilitated such gatherings using Zoom’s video and web conferencing platform — a simple to use online tool that allows me to increase the amount of support I can offer clients sandwiched between in-person consulting visits to their local context.

photo for virtual protocol

If you’re unfamiliar with them, School Reform Initiative protocols offer structured processes to support focused and productive conversations, build collective understanding, and drive school improvement. Thoughtful use of these protocols is an integral part of building resilient professional learning communities.

In recent months, I’ve gathered up and written down a number of tips I believe can greatly increase efficacy of such gatherings online. These tips, which I’ll offer here as suggestions, include: 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…

Artist in Residence Highlights Summer 2017 Explore Week

As if a selection of diverse and interesting courses weren’t enough, we’re adding Scott James to our Explore Week mix this time around, which means this poet and artist is on campus and meeting with students all week long.

As our official “Artist in Residence,” during Explore Week, Scott is in the midst, on the periphery and face-to-face with students every day this week. In fact, during most lunch and dinner hours, he’s poised over his vintage typewriter, ready for a good poetic challenge. The deal is, any Eagle Rock School student can walk up to Scott and offer a word — any word — for inspiration and Scott will write an original poem around that word. In fact, that’s pretty much his specialty, and a few years ago he churned out and gave away more than 1,000 such impromptu poems.

An Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellow in ER 40-42 (that would be the 40th through 42nd semesters since Eagle Rock’s founding in the 1990s), Scott currently resides in Austin, Tex., where he performs his instant typewriter poetry for events and parties, and helps writers turn their ideas into published books. His tools of trade include a 1946 Smith-Corona and he uses high-quality and handcrafted papers and techniques in his art that blend improvisation, metaphor and classic poetry.

Scott’s artistic career has included performance around the country, including Chris Guillebau’s World Domination Summit and Austin’s SxSW Interactive festival. And during Explore Week, this poet is available for one-on-one sessions with students. He’s also sitting in on several courses and conducting four workshops.

Meanwhile, for the students themselves, they’re all participating in one of the following course offerings: Continue reading…