Eagle Rock Staff Descends on Tucson for School Reform Initiative Winter Meeting

With five staff members in attendance, Eagle Rock was well represented at last month’s School Reform Initiative (SRI) Winter Meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

The theme for this year’s meeting was “Place,” and while our visit included learning a lot about Arizona and Tucson, what truly brought the conference to life was coming together with educators from around the country to share in the common struggle and opportunity of teaching.

Unlike traditional conferences, where participants sign up for various workshops and lectures, most of the work at the SRI Winter Meeting takes place in small groups. Within these gatherings, 10 to 12 educators share dilemmas facing them in their practice. And, through the use of collaborative protocols, these groups work to reach a greater understand of issues, solve problems or uncork ideas.

The work in small groups is also a chance for educators to practice using protocols and facilitating Critical Friends Groups®, which we use in many different ways here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center.

SRI_WinterMeeting15In our Critical Friends Groups at Winter Meeting, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center staff worked through a variety of dilemmas. Science instructor Janet Johnson got her plan for internally run professional development at Eagle Rock tuned, and Societies and Cultures instructional specialist Diego Duran-Medina got a fresh perspective on his “Heartivism” class. Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development Kelsey Baun worked on ways to increase diversity in the Public Allies Fellows corps, and I received feedback on plans to increase literacy across the curriculum at Eagle Rock.

Even though we were working with Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Classes That Add New Meaning to the Term ‘Non-traditional’

Editor’s Note: Here at Eagle Rock, we’re known for modeling successful strategies and tactics in the effort to re-engage students in their own education. What that means in part is that we often offer classes in our Estes Park, Colorado, high school that resemble in no way those offered in a traditional school setting.

We tell you this because we use our blog to share our work, and we share our work because it’s not in our fabric to keep it to ourselves. In fact, publishing posts like the one you’re about to read is meant to inspire you to examine how education is delivered in your community.

With that in mind, here’s part one of a two-part series by our own Dan Condon detailing the unique class offerings that are already underway this trimester at Eagle Rock:

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By Dan Condon, Associate Director of Professional Development

Listen to me!” We all have times when we feel alone, believing we’re the only ones who suffer both tragedy and happiness. But no matter how dark things may get, you must know that you are not alone, someone has felt it, lived through it and can empathize.

This is the story of the characters in Spring Awakening, a dramatic play that is also the subject of an Eagle Rock class by the same name. In this class, students are developing basic singing and acting concepts through their character’s perspective. This is a rigorous class that tests beginning and advanced students in the development of performance skills.

Those accepted as cast members through an audition and call back were asked to commit to weekly rehearsals (class), final week dress rehearsals, costuming, makeup, set construction, and a final cast dinner and reflection. The show goes on in April.

In Rocky Mountain National Park Murals, the class is painting three murals in two different buildings located in Rocky Mountain National Park. The class is studying the visual communication power that is unique to mural art as they work alongside national park employees to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the park.

Students are studying significant historical murals in America as they design, plan and paint two sites in the Hotshot dorm, and one in the Science Studies Center. Students are using stencils and project images and are creating art that honors the work that explores the park — some of it created by park service employees.

This is an opportunity to continue to strengthen the bond between Eagle Rock and the park, as well as explore opportunities within this beautiful wilderness area.

In a class called Research, students are investigating and researching a topic that interests them, steadily progressing from a novice to an expert in that particular field. Students choose a topic through a process that balances their interests with the general feasibility of the topic, including resources available, rigor and depth.

These students then learn how to find and evaluate both print and digital sources and examine the main arguments, purposes and biases within them. Students pull key ideas and details from the sources in notes that support their emerging research questions and claims.

Participants learn how to synthesize and represent their Continue reading…