Wrapping Up Another Trimester of Progressive Education

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Our winter trimester break is now underwayhere at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, which means many of our students have returned to their hometowns or headed elsewhere for this thrice annual vacation from school. Back here on campus, it’s been a busy trimester, with the graduation celebration for three of our students last Friday, followed by a mass departure of students the following day after an end-of-trimester community meeting. The staff held a holiday party on Saturday, and individual work teams met this past Monday for some trimester wrap-up work.

And while many of our instructors and staff head off to their holiday destinations, some — including Dan Condon, our Associate Director of Professional Development — are working during parts of the trimester break with educators who are committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth. In Dan’s case, he was working earlier today on a Restorative Practices project with the Étude Group in Sheboygan, Wis., while tomorrow he’ll be working with TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project), and on Friday he will be participating in a meeting at Public Allies, Inc. in Milwaukee.

Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock's Professional Development Center.

Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

As for our organization itself, our campus schedule for the weeks ahead is as follows:

  • Our staff members return on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019
  • Veteran students return to campus on Sunday, Jan. 13
  • All-school activities and House Retreats run from Monday, Jan. 14 through Wednesday, Jan. 16
  • New ER-77 students (signifying our 77th trimester) arrive on Saturday, Jan. 19
  • Classes begin on Monday, Jan. 21
  • New ER-77 students depart for their Wilderness Experience on Monday, Jan. 28, returning on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Should anyone reading today’s post need to connect with us during the holiday break, we recommend using email. Many of our staff and instructors check email during break and will respond to messages based on availability.

Meanwhile, if you find yourself with a few free moments over the holiday break, or you’re thinking about the new trimester and want to catch up on some of our more noteworthy blog posts from this past year, just click on the headlines below.

From January 2018 — School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment: “Vision 2020” is the name of the strategic planning process adopted five years ago by our board of directors. The plan itself focuses on seven distinct areas — known as domains. One of these domains’ centers around our academic curriculum, focusing on creating a framework for normed common assessments. Read this write-up for an update on the work we’re doing in the domain of academic curriculum.

From February 2018 — Eagle Rock’s Take on Letter Grades Versus Competency-based Education: In her article for Edutopia entitled “Will Letter Grades Survive?” freelance education writer Laura McKenna writes that hundreds of top schools, lawmakers, and boards of education have determined “A through F” grades and their subsequent grade point averages are outmoded, unfair, and inaccurate gauges of a student’s educational progress. Curious to know what we think? Read this post, authored by our director of professional development, Michael Soguero.

From May 2018 —Rock Climbing Embodies the Spirit of Eagle Rock Commitment No. 2: “One of my duties as Eagle Rock School’s Public Allies Fellow in Outdoor Education,” wrote Public Allies Fellow Leila Ayad, “is taking our students to the indoor climbing gym at the nearby Estes Park Mountain Shop.” In this writeup, Leila says that the act of rock climbing itself is the “total embodiment” of Eagle Rock Commitment No. 2, which asks us to develop our minds through intellectual discipline, our bodies through physical fitness, and our spirits through thoughtful contemplation. Learn more by reading Leila’s post.

From July 2018 —Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Reengaging Youth in Their Education: It seems fitting that our 25th anniversary served as an opportunity for those of us who work at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center to unveil our keenest insights from the past quarter of a century, neatly packaged and available to anyone who is interested by means of a new downloadable eBooklet. Access the eBooklet is available via this post, which we recommend you share with anyone who may benefit from reading it.

From September 2018 — Leading for Learner-centered Education Requires a Particular Set of Competencies: Change is afoot all around us, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the way we choose to educate children and young adults. Our own Michael Soguero (Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center’s Director of Professional Development) writes about one of the changes he’s encouraged by — Learner-centered Education. Read Michael’s write-up, which includes an overview of the competencies you’ll need when leading an effort to bring Learner-centered Education to your school.

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