Sustainable Solutions in Education Supported by our Professional Development Center

At Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, staff and students alike share in the principles of positive growth and addressing the greater good.

And while Eagle Rock’s backdrop is beautiful Estes Park in Colorado, our Professional Development Center team travels throughout the United States, engaging in the improvement of other learning institutions through consulting and coaching. This spring, that “greater good” took our PDC staffers to Albuquerque, N.M., where they worked with three new charter high schools — all part of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership — and all at various points in their development.

The New Mexico Center for School Leadership currently consists of three leadership high schools:

The center, founded by Tony Monfiletto, is dedicated to the premise that “learning by doing, positive youth development and the highest level of private industry collaboration, results in schools that can dramatically improve the graduation rates in our (their) community.”

As the New Mexico Center for School Leadership grows, we provide guidance and support through professional development, aiding in teacher learning, community development, metric development and any number of other projects.

Participants discussion designing new metrics.

Participants discuss designing new metrics.

At Health Leadership High School, where our focus is on aiding teacher learning, our Professional Development Team recently engaged staff in a session on improving group-work in the classroom. Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, engaged teachers through Continue reading…

There’s Life After Eagle Rock For Public Allies Fellows

It’s not just our students who have to come up with a plan for “Life After Eagle Rock.” Consider the plight of our Public Allies fellows, who must face this challenge each and every summer as their year-long commitment to Eagle Rock comes to a close.

Which brings us to a trio of our fellows who have discovered different ways of extending their work in education next fall.

Eagle Rock's 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Eagle Rock’s 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Clay Elkin, our current Math Fellow, came to Eagle Rock with experience in a variety of educational settings. By the end of last summer, Clay had served as a high school lacrosse coach, a raft guide at a Boy Scout camp, and a classroom assistant at High Tech High — a renowned project-based learning school in San Diego, California. He spent this past year teaching math at Eagle Rock, with topics ranging from “Feeling Lucky” to “The Physics of Mountain Biking.”

Next year, Clay will continue his work in experiential education as a 9th-12th grade math teacher and “crew leader” at Rocky Mountain School for Expeditionary Learning in Denver.

Clay was attracted to the Denver offer because it provides him with another opportunity to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Gathering: A Daily Ritual for Coming Together

For those of us who work and learn at Eagle Rock School, community is at the core of our experience. And our daily “Gathering” has long been the centerpiece of that idea.

Every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we sit in the hearth area of the Lodge to engage in a 20-minute conversation about community. On Wednesdays, Gathering is held in a number of different ways ­– but that’s a topic for another blog post.

We begin each Gathering with 30 seconds of silence; then we move on to a 10-minute presentation, followed by five minutes of announcements and five minutes of live music. Anyone can sign up to speak at gathering and the topics are as varied as the students and staff themselves.

Eagle-Rock-School-Gathering

A sampling of recent topics is in order:

  • Student Song Candea wowed us with a Dr. Seuss-inspired mid-career personal growth presentation.
  • Eagle Rock receptionist Susie D’Amico shared her knitting talents and talked about aesthetic expression.
  • Our College Tour Explore Week class shared insights from its Midwest tour of college campuses.
  • Sonya Stolmar and Ryan Powell addressed one of our 10 commitments – “Develop my mind through intellectual discipline, my body through physical fitness, and my spirit through thoughtful contemplation.”
  • Since every Gathering wraps up with music, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow Rebecca Fenn on ukulele, along with and wilderness instructor, Matt Bynum on guitar, brought down the house with their own special version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”

We’d like to think a successful Gathering occurs when we walk away thinking differently, inspired by live music, and most important, become reconnected.

Recently I asked Robert Burkhardt, Eagle Rock’s founding head of school, to share some of the history behind our Gatherings. Here’s what he recalls: Continue reading…

Introducing Eagle Rock’s 2013-2014 Public Allies Fellows

Public-Allies-LogoToday we’re happy to introduce you to our latest crop of Public Allies Fellows, all of whom we are very proud to have on our campus and part of the Eagle Rock community. But before we introduce these young adult leaders, we’d like to tell you more about the amazing program that brought them to Eagle Rock in the first place.

Public Allies is an AmeriCorps-funded program that’s dedicated to developing leadership skills in young adults. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads, and that everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up and take action.

Officially, the mission of Public Allies is to advance new leadership in order to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation The Milwaukee, Wis.-headquartered nonprofit demonstrates a profound conviction to the long held notion that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds take responsibility and work together.

Since it’s founding in 1992, about 5,000 Allies have completed the program with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Eagle Rock’s participation with the program began a decade after the founding of Public Allies, and was initiated by our own Dan Condon and directed by him for two years. In the years that followed, 132 Public Allies have walked through the gate here at Eagle Rock with 98 percent of them graduating – making the Public Allies Eagle Rock program the most successful in the nation in terms of retention of Allies.

Each year we host 12 Public Allies Fellows, and as mentioned at the top of this post, we welcomed our latest group earlier this month, including (full bios appear below photo):

Eagle Rock's 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Eagle Rock’s 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows (click photo for large image).

  • Jake Sund, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Jake hails from Starkville Miss., and has a Bachelor’s Degree in English in Secondary Education from Mississippi State University. He has taught at Starkville High School and has outdoor experience with SUW of the Carolinas.
  • Sara Benge, Science Fellow: From Columbus, Ohio, Sara most recently taught at the Horizon Science Academy High School and recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Sara has a Bachelor of Arts degree in exercise science from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
  • Clay Elkin, Math Fellow: Clay, “Don’t Call Me Chiles or Cindy” Elkin has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and leadership from the University of San Diego and has served with AmeriCorps as a VISTA Volunteer. Clay previously worked at High Tech High in San Diego.
  • Calvin King, Societies/Culture Fellow: This former Eagle Rock School student is a Bonner Scholar and graduate of Morehouse College where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Over the past few years Calvin has worked with the City of Atlanta Freedom Schools, as well as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support.
  • Katie Funk, Visual Arts Fellow: From Grand Rapids, Mich., Katie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art and design with an emphasis in fine arts and K-12 teaching from Kendall College of Art and Design. She has worked at Northview High School in Grand Rapids along with student taught within the Byron Centers Public School system.
  • Lindsey Rodkey, Human Performance Center Fellow: Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, Lindsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and human development from the University of Maryland. She has been operating swimming programs for several years and will soon be certified to certify lifeguards.
  • Jennifer Pearsall, Service Learning Fellow: Jennifer most recently served as the assistant director and AmeriCorps member of the Camp Fire Camp in Central Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and has done work with the YMCA of Three Rivers, Mich. Jennifer has extensive experience in working with and teaching public speaking and will bring that asset to our school and Service Learning Department.
  • Mary Reid Munford, Professional Development Center Fellow: Straight out of Louisiana, Mary has worked with the ExpandEd Day Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans, along with doing some relief work in South Africa. Mary earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton.
  • Brian Rudd, Outdoor Education Fellow: Brian was a part of the HPOE Department before he joined the wilderness course in ER 59. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University and is originally from Pleasant Hill, Calif.
  • Rebecca Fenn, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: This year’s LAER Fellow most recently worked as an admissions officer at the University of Chicago and will bring that experience to our students at Eagle Rock School. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative human development from the University of Chicago.
  • Jesse Taitt, Music Fellow: Our music fellow is a Berklee College of Music graduate, receiving his degree in jazz composition and professional music. Jesse has also worked with the Berklee Mentoring Program along with the Alumni Creative Corps, which is sponsored by the Boston Arts Academy.
  • LuLing Osofsky, Curriculum Fellow: LuLing received her master’s degree in fine art from the University of Wyoming. She has worked for Green Seas Humanitarian Expeditions, The Art Institute of Indonesia and the Wu Wei Si Monastery in China. LuLing speaks several languages and is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian.

So there you have it. Over the years, we’ve seen many of our Public Allies Fellows from Eagle Rock impact public secondary education after they leave us. Some of these include Stanley Richards who is an instructional coach for New Tech in the Bay Area, Calif.; Dan Hoffman, a teacher and curriculum specialist at Voyager Academy in Durham, N.C.; Sarah Glasband, an advisor with MetWest in Oakland, Calif.; Michael Dunn, currently an upper school history instructor and service learning coordinator at the AIM Academy in Philadelphia, Pa..

Also, Liz Berliant, who is a music teacher at KIPP Bridge Charter School in the Oakland, Calif.; Adrienne Kovacik, who teaches chemistry at Mission Early College High School in Durham, N.C.; and Emily Matuzek, director of learning and development at Teach For America.