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…

Spring 2016 Update from the Professional Development Center

“Plan your work, then work your plan.” I’m not sure who said it first or if it really matters. All I know is if you decide in advance precisely how you’re going to get from where you are to where you want to be, you stand a much better chance of getting there.

At the level of the lowest common denominator, that’s the essence of any plan, including Eagle Rock’s strategic plan for 2015-2020, aptly titled Vision 2020. And as I shared just last week here on the Eagle Rock Blog (see: Strategic Plan Update: National Contribution), the Professional Development Center team is hard at work facilitating programs, trainings and other custom offerings that lead the high schools with whom we work to transform themselves into high-functioning centers of engagement and learning.

Eagle Rock Professional Development Center Update June 2016

More than half of Eagle Rock School’s instructional specialists — those educators who work within our own school — are now engaged in supporting this national mission-related work, along with the entire professional development center team. As a reminder, “national contribution” is the fifth domain within our strategic plan, a document that enables us to fulfill our organization’s mission and make significant steps toward realizing our vision. And, of course, that vision is that this country’s high school youth be fully engaged in their education.

The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center staff kicked off the spring by actively participating in a number of seminars, retreats, focus groups, workshops and educational events across the country, including the ones mentioned below. If you would like to know more about our work — or how your school or organization can work with the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center — please contact Dan Condon, our associate director of professional development, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

May 2 and 3

The Professional Development staff traveled to the Ryan Banks Academy in Chicago, helping to develop STEM and Humanities curriculum for the academy, which is an urban boarding school scheduled to open in September 2017.

May 2 and 3

Our staff also attended an advisory leader retreat to develop advisory vision and plans at Randolph Union High School in Randolph, Vermont.

May 4 and 5

We conducted asset-based observations and appreciative interviews with the staff of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellows Indulge In A Mid-Year Day Away

Editor’s Note: Kelsey Baun, our own Professional Development Center Fellow, joined other Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows at a recent ‘Day Away’ experience to celebrate reaching the halfway mark in their yearlong time with us here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Think of it as a “senior ditch day” for these 10 Fellows, only without the pinch and giggle that normally accompanies most 12th-grader ditch day events. Here then is Kelsey’s report.

By Kelsey Baun

Our most recent Mid-Year Fellow Day Away was held at the Estes Park Resort, highlighted by early morning inspiration provided by bucolic views of Lake Estes. A total of 10 Public Allies Fellows from here at Eagle Rock gathered to reflect during a day dedicated to exploring strengths, values and risks.

Our day began with the Fellows and Eagle Rock’s own Professional Development team members breaking bread — more like bagels — and partaking in an activity that shed light on individual perspective and success through the use of a dowel rod.

We then revisited our theme for the year of Refocusing Using Strengths and referenced to the use of Gallup’s Strengths Finder to focus each Fellow on what is it that they bring to the Eagle Rock community table.

Mid-Year-Day-Away-Public-Allies

In order for the Fellows to see their assets in a different light, the Professional Development team facilitated for us an activity centered on values. It entailed asking each Fellow to rank a list of values and identify the top five values they might integrate into their own daily lives. Everyone then processed how values pertain to the Team Service Projects (TSPs) on which our Fellows will be working for the remainder of their time at Eagle Rock.

When this exercise was completed, we all split up into teams to further explore the subject matter:

  • Allison McManis (Societies and Culture Fellow) and myself (Kelsey Baun) will be creating a new high-touch recruitment philosophy to increase the diversity of Eagle Rock’s own Public Allies Fellowship application pool.
  • Life After Eagle Rock Fellow, Molly Milota, and Service Learning Fellow, Courtney Lancaster, will be Continue reading…