Students ‘Owning’ Their Projects: Highline Big Picture High School

Editor’s Note: Last July, staff from Highline Big Picture High School in Washington State participated in Eagle Rock’s weeklong Growing Equity Together Summer Institute for educators — an initiative that grew out of an Eagle Rock staff member’s (Sarah Bertucci’s) 24-month Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship. Other schools participating in the Institute — which is scheduled to meet again this July here at Eagle Rock — include City Neighbors High School in Baltimore, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in the Bronx, Winooski Middle/High School from Vermont, and Eagle Rock School. As you’ll see from today’s post, a lot has happened at Highline since last July:

By Highline Big Picture High School staff in Burien, Washington

Highline Big Picture High SchoolHighline Big Picture High School (HBPHS) and Eagle Rock have a history of collaboration, with several advisors and administrators traveling to Eagle Rock in the past and representatives from Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center arriving in Seattle to support us at different stages of our school’s development.

Having heard good things about past work, several newer staff members were excited to be able to join the Growing Equity Together cohort. Our team consists of Dan (STEM specialist), Gwen (301 Advisor), Mia (201 Advisor) and Bev (201 Advisor).

In mid-July of 2016, we traveled to Eagle Rock to begin our work with a cohort of adults representing five different schools with five different goals connected by the common theme of equity. We quickly jumped into it, utilizing a method of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Student Reflects on His Work in Professional Development

Editor’s Note: Nigel Taylor — who arrived at Eagle Rock in the Fall of 2014 as part of ER64 (the 64th entering group of new students since we opened our doors in the fall of 1993) — has done substantial work with our Professional Development Center. Nigel, who hails from Atlanta, Ga, and Detroit, Mich., hit the deck running by participating in last summer’s Deeper Learning and Equity course and helping to organize and run our relatively new weeklong Summer Institute for educators. Since then, Nigel has presented at the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Fall Forum and worked with professional development associate Sarah Bertucci on a school visit to City Neighbors High School in Baltimore, Md. This summer, Nigel — who is projected to graduate from Eagle Rock School in August — is co-teaching Deeper Learning and Equity with Sarah Bertucci and Brett Youngerman, our 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Literacy & Literature. And he’s slated to again help run our Summer Institute.  Continue reading…

Summer 2017 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center works with educators and schools committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our youth. That’s because we envision high schools as high functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. Through our offerings (click here for a full list), we facilitate school improvement and support the implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.

Below is a list that’s inclusive of where we’ve been thus far this spring, along with information about where our staff is headed between now and August. Complied by Eagle Rock’s 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, Sebastian Franco, this list demonstrates just a portion of Eagle Rock’s relevance on a national scale, and offers inspiration for educators and schools interested in professional development initiatives of their own.

Traveling separately, and sometimes as a team, our professional development staff members facilitate, convene, support, participate and work with local schools through the following engagements:

MAY

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May 8 – 10: Austin Independent School District (AISD), Austin, TX — The Austin Independent School District is responsible for the quality of education in the Austin District of Texas. Its mission is to prepare students for college and beyond as they live in one of the best cities for working and living. Eagle Rock’s director of professional development, Michael Soguero, will continue working with the leadership of AISD, as it continues to develop and support an entrepreneurial education program. This is part of efforts to better prepare students for 21st century demands. Michael will be traveling with Eagle Rock Human Performance and Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist, Jon Anderson to continue working with AISD from June 26 – 30.

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May 11: Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, CO — 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. Sarah Bertucci, Professional Development Center Associate, and Sebastian Franco, Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow, have supported the school district on outreach efforts in conjunction with the district’s Estes Thrives initiative. This Professional Development Center’s work focused 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.

Eagle Rock School

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…