Reporting on the Fall 2019 School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting

Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) team — along with Josán Perales, our world languages instruction specialist — descended on Boston in early November to participate in the 2019 School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting.

Presentation at 2019 SRI Fall Meeting about the renaming of Coolidge Corner School.

The School Reform Initiative, or SRI, is a Denver-based organization serving educators across the country, with the objective of creating equitable and effective learning communities. To accomplish this, SRI hosts a variety of professional development workshops across the country, such as reflective learning communities institutes (scheduled for Texas, Florida, and Illinois in 2020) and two-day equity institutes (available on-demand in 2020). It also employs a comprehensive database of protocols for use in professional learning settings. The November 2019 Fall Meeting encouraged participating educators to collaborate with others, tackle pressing challenges facing their organizations, and participate in a variety professional development trainings.

To that end, Sarah Bertucci, our director of professional development, and Travis Burhart, Eagle Rock’s 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, arrived a few days early in order to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Participates in School Reform Initiative’s Fall 2018 Meeting

Earlier this month, Dan Condon, Eagle Rock’s Associate Director of Professional Development — along with three of our 2018/2019 Public Allies Fellows — attended the School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Joining Dan in representing Eagle Rock were Doen Lee, Professional Development Center fellow, Kim Tellez, Societies & Cultures fellow, and Zach Greimann, Math fellow.

Michael_Soguero_2017_SRI_Fall-Meeting

For those unfamiliar with it, the School Reform Initiative (SRI) is an independent, Denver-based organization that creates transformational learning communities that serve thousands of educators and students throughout the United States and elsewhere. The non-profit specifically targets educational equity and excellence, and its annual fall meeting attracts educators for the purpose of fostering a community of learners to practice the skills, habits, and dispositions of professional collaboration and reflective discourse — using SRI’s protocols and resources.

Our attendees used the time in San Antonio to renew their commitment to Continue reading…

Tips for Videoconferencing with Professional Learning Communities

School Reform Initiative (SRI) protocols within Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) have more impact when they are facilitated face-to-face by a skilled facilitator.

Being a member of the professional development team here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, I personally support about 10 school network or district clients nationally, which means there are times when I can’t be with them in person. Such face-to-face meetings are important, and I try to arrange these more personal consultations when possible.

But for those times when that’s not possible, I’ve facilitated such gatherings using Zoom’s video and web conferencing platform — a simple to use online tool that allows me to increase the amount of support I can offer clients sandwiched between in-person consulting visits to their local context.

photo for virtual protocol

If you’re unfamiliar with them, School Reform Initiative protocols offer structured processes to support focused and productive conversations, build collective understanding, and drive school improvement. Thoughtful use of these protocols is an integral part of building resilient professional learning communities.

In recent months, I’ve gathered up and written down a number of tips I believe can greatly increase efficacy of such gatherings online. These tips, which I’ll offer here as suggestions, include: Continue reading…

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…

Eagle Rock Instructors Work Together on Formative Assessment

JanetJohnsonJenFrickeyBy Janet Johnson and Jen Frickey

Each year, our school’s instructional team fine-tunes its collective classroom practice by learning together. Instructors submit ideas for possible topics of study and the director of curriculum, in conjunction with our Professional Development Critical Friends Group, chooses an area of focus for the year.

The Critical Friends Group then meets weekly to plan for four instructional meetings each trimester. The members of the group — both instructional specialists and Eagle Rock Public Allies fellows who are seeking Colorado state teaching licensure — volunteer to study an annual theme, design and deliver engaging adult learning, and facilitate our weekly planning meetings.

A hallmark of these meetings is using School Reform Initiative protocols to share our instructional meeting plans and get feedback about them. We commonly use The Charrette Protocol (note: link opens a PDF) and Tuning Protocols (note: link opens a PDF) to examine our works in progress. These protocols — as well as those that help us to learn from texts, investigate teaching, learning and assessment, and examine student work — are often the backbone of our instructional meetings.

This year’s annual theme is Formative Assessment. For assessment to be formative, teachers and students must ask themselves where they are going, have a realistic appraisal of where they are now, and make a plan together for how to get there. These questions are central to our formative assessment approach.

We attempt to develop our skills in four distinct areas:

  1. Communicate learning targets and criteria for success
  2. Provide effective feedback
  3. Foster strategic questioning among students and teachers
  4. Promote self-assessment and goal setting

Formative assessment is student centered and transparent, with students and teachers working together to set learning objectives and collect evidence of meeting goals. The explicit result, of course, is improving student achievement.

Since the Critical Friends Group had varying levels of understanding and experience with formative assessment, we decided to ground our work together using two texts: Continue reading…