Strategic Plan Update: Thriving as an Eagle Rock Staffer

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the third in a series of updates about Eagle Rock’s strategic plan — Vision 2020. Below, director of professional development, Michael Soguero, provides the Eagle Rock community with an update on our efforts related to the plan’s second domain: Staff Thrives. If you’re interested in learning about the overall aim of the plan, please see News From The Rock: Vision 2020.
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Strategic Plan Update: Thriving as an Eagle Rock Staffer
By Michael Soguero, Director of Professional Development

A key theme that emerged during our strategic planning process was a focus on ensuring Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center was as engaging and purposeful a workplace as possible. We committed to develop clear statements and strategies addressing how to thrive as a staff member, provide training and support to help staff live healthy professional lives, and to create greater clarity on Eagle Rock’s limitations and reinforce that we are not designed for everyone.

We believe staff members thrive when they expend effort based on their strengths while improving the organizational mission of improving student engagement and serving the mission of making a difference nationally. Eagle Rock strives to be a model; an inclusive organization serving a diverse set of high schools nationally, each with a diverse student body with a diverse staff.

Numerous project ideas were generated as part of our planning process but we quickly realized that in order for any new initiative to succeed we needed to have some fundamentals in place. For that reason we chose to focus our early efforts on developing a robust professional management system and rationalizing the effects of working within a matrix organization — that is, an organizational structure in which the reporting relationships are set up as a grid, or matrix, rather than in the traditional corporate hierarchy.

Eagle Rock Staff Thrive

We believe that once a robust system with clear foundational practices is in place, we could drive almost any other initiative addressing staff engagement and it would have a much greater chance of taking root, disseminating practice and sustaining for the long term. We were initially inspired by a great management resource called Manager Tools. While much adaptation has taken place for our mission driven, nonprofit setting we have remained true to instituting the top three management behaviors: Continue reading…

Applicants Sought for Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellowship Program

Public Allies Eagle RockIn just five short months, Eagle Rock’s 2015-2016 Public Allies Fellows have made significant impacts on our community, and have helped better serve our students, as well as our national mission that supports re-engaging high school youth in their own education.

A few of their initiatives include the development of new courses, including Other Worlds, Street Art as Social Action, Alternative Energy, Call of Duty, The Shape of Space, and Holocaust & Indigenous Genocide. In addition, these dozen 2015/2016 Public Allies fellows were instrumental in creating new student programs, such as our Writing Center, Workout Warriors, Youth Radio, along with affinity groups and support mechanisms that foster a healthier culture around sexual health and relationships.

Michael Grant, our Music Fellow, established regular Instructional Fellow meetings on his own initiative to discuss and reflect on experiences in the classroom. Our Residential Life fellow, Aranda Salazar, is defining her newly created position by creating a more structured and engaging curriculum for out-of-class time.

When not on wilderness trips, Monse Alvarez, our Outdoor Education Fellow, has been translating our outdoor education materials into Spanish, and is eager to help support literacy across the Eagle Rock curriculum within her department.

With the help of Claire Oliphant, our Visual Arts fellow, Mia Stroutsos has taken lead on a new project in Santa Fe, N.M., as our Professional Development Center fellow. In that capacity, she is partnering students from an underserved community with a video storytelling nonprofit called Little Globe in order to tell their stories.

These are just a sampling of the projects and initiatives our Public Allies fellows are engaged in. All 12 of them are making their mark on Eagle Rock.

Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows 1

These are huge accomplishments that, without question, will Continue reading…

Winter Classes Range from Musicals and Murals to Soilless Gardening

erslogo2Eagle Rock’s busy student body is already well into the winter trimester, with many among them enjoying a number of class offerings — most of them new — that promise to challenge their intellect and maybe even spark interest in an avocation, adventure or activity that can last an entire lifetime.

Ten-week classes sprinkled among the mix for ER 68 (our 68th semester since our founding of Eagle Rock School in the early 1990s) include:

La Telenovela: In this class, which we first offered in the fall of 2014, students analyze and create their own Spanish-language “soap opera” episodes. By doing so, they are gaining insight into telenovela structure, characters and themes by viewing real telenovelas. (For the uninitiated, a telenovela is a type of limited-run serial drama and popular on European, West Asian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Arab World, Brazil, Portuguese and Spanish television networks.) By watching these programs, students are refining their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in Spanish, which is enhanced by working together on their Spanish in the classroom. As a final project, students will be asked to script and film their own telenovelas — themselves portraying the characters as well as completing all of the required behind-the-scenes production work. They will work on acting as well as filming and directing techniques to produce the final episode. (Brighid Scanlon is teaching this class.)

Data Analysis: In this class, which first appeared at Eagle Rock School in the spring of 2015, students are beginning to explore data sets, looking for patterns and using statistics to answer student-generated questions. Each student explores one question, researching data that will help answer that question. By analyzing the information, they can communicate their newfound knowledge using infographics, written articles, presentation or blogs. Experts in the field, peers, and Eagle Rock staff will review the work and provide feedback for the inevitable revision. (Becky Poore and Helen Higgins are teaching this class.)

Five-week classes offered this trimester include:

101 Years of Murals: This all-day class presents students with the opportunity to appreciate what murals can teach us, communicate and add vitality to our lives. Students are part of a hard-working team with an emphasis on leadership that is designing and painting a mural in the Rocky Mountain National Park. We are learning how to use different mural techniques to create Part 2 in a series of murals. Students in this class are already capable at drawing — or are teachable — and they’re all willing to take risks. This class promises a lot of hard work, but it also promises to yield a lot of new skills as well as possible connections that may benefit them in the future. (Cindy Elkins and Claire Oliphant are teaching this class.)

RMNP Mural ER65

The Wiz” Musical: Ease on down the road with Continue reading…