Announcing Eagle Rock’s 2017/2018 Cohort of Public Allies Fellows

We’re about two months away from welcoming nine new and three returning Public Allies Fellows to Eagle Rock for the 2017/2018 academic year.

Public Allies Eagle RockAchieving the title of Fellow is no easy task. Funded by AmeriCorps, Public Allies is insistent in the philosophy that everyone has the ability to lead and anyone can be an inspiration to others. Creating just and equitable societies takes hard work, and the job requires a great amount of passion, and the courage to step forward and take action

Arriving September 1st, each of the fellows referenced below will be active participants in our residential and community-based school and professional development center. To that end, each fellow has expressed or demonstrated a passion for teaching and youth development — and more specifically — an interest in progressive education.

So, who exactly are these young leaders? Below are short biographies and a few fun factoids about each of our 2017/2018 Fellows:

AdamAdam Louie, 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education: Adam was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration from San Francisco State University. With an emphasis in Outdoor Education, Adam has worked as a field instructor for Outward Bound California and frequently takes courses with WMI (Wilderness Medicine Institute). His love for nature and passion for traveling has brought him to many corners of the earth. Adam enjoys getting lost in foreign countries, learning their language, and eating local street food. He also can’t get enough of playing sports, experimental cooking, and binge watching tv series.

AdrianaAdriana Ortiz, 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Health, Wellness & Counseling: Adriana is originally from the Bronx, NY. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia and recently completed her Master’s degree at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Prior to pursuing graduate school, Adriana served as an AmeriCorps Member for City Year Los Angeles. When she’s not in school or working, Adriana enjoys discovering new places to eat, reading, listening to music, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

ErinErin Byrd, 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Math: Los Angeles native Erin studied biology with a concentration in molecular biology and biochemistry at Kalamazoo College, near Lake Michigan. Her professional aspiration is to make the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum something that is more accessible to young students.

Erin’s hobbies include Sudoku, watching reality TV shows, and lounging on the beach. 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.

EPSD

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…

2017 Public Allies Fellows Tackling a Trio of Team Service Projects

Among the many responsibilities taken on each year by Eagle Rock’s cohort of Public Allies Fellows are Team Service Projects (TSP). This time around, our 2016/2017 fellows have their eyes set on three such projects that are expected to come to a close by the end of this summer.

Taking a step back for a moment, each year, we offer full-time apprenticeships to 12 Public Allies Fellows from across the nation. These fellowships provide an advanced year-long service and leadership development experience at our full-scholarship residential high school in Estes Park, Colo. Once here, the fellows are tasked with working with our educators in re-engaging, retaining and graduating our most prized assets — our students — many of whom have not found success in conventional school settings.

Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows

Once on campus and acclimated to their new roles, each fellow participates in a Team Service Project that seeks to recognize the assets of a community instead of approaching communities in a needs-based manner. In small groups of fellows — and in partnership with community members — members of the cohort create, implement and evaluate a service project with sustainable and lasting positive impact.

What we offer below are updates to three such projects that have been taken on by our Public Allies Fellows: 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…

Fall 2016 Reading Recommendations from Eagle Rock Staff

Editor’s Note: Sure, there’s tons of reading to be undertaken when you’re working in progressive education. That’s because there’s no shortage of authors offering compelling reads that actually changes or reinforces the mindset of the educator.

Here we present reviews of a handful of fictional and nonfiction books — some of them new, some of them a bit longer in the tooth — that come highly recommended by members of our staff. See if any of them spark your curiosity. And then check them out:

the-dharma-bumsThe Dharma Bums – By Jack Kerouac

This 1958 semi-fictional novel relates the understanding and relationship between the outdoors and nature with that of the daily grind of working in the city life as seen through the eyes of the main character, Ray Smith. For our World Languages Instructional Specialist, Josán Perales, this book took him all summer to read because he had to stop every few pages to reflect on his own life experiences. As a college student studying philosophy and world religion, Josán found the story helped him, “empathize with people from all walks of life.” To him, it created a stronger interest for learning about other “experiences and dichotomous lives.” ~ Recommended by Josán Perales, World Languages Instructional Specialist.

witnessing-whitenessWitnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It – By Shelly Tochluk

This nonfiction book has the intention of educating individuals who are working in the education field with a diverse environment. Sara Benge, Eagle Rock’s interim science instructional specialist, said the book helped her witness her own identity as a white woman and how to develop herself as an anti-racist. The reading provides information on Continue reading…