Nine of our staff members actively took part in the recent 2013 Fall Forum hosted by the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES). The conference was held earlier this month at Mission High School in the heart of San Francisco, with this year’s theme titled “Making the Invisible Visible: Stories and Counter Stories for Educational Equity.”
Our Eagle Rock staffers got the long weekend off to a good start by facilitating a two-hour meeting with directors from about a dozen CES Affiliate Centers — including our hosts, the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools — at the Clift Hotel.
That meeting presented a great opportunity for directors to check in with each other and explore the nature of their collaboration.
In addition, Eagle Rock staff members led three of the longer workshops on Saturday afternoon, including Michael Soguero and Dan Condon co-presenting “The Ten Principles as the Lens for Implementing the Common Core.”
CES is celebrating more than 25 years of what it terms “creating and sustaining personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging schools.” The 2013 gathering saw representatives from schools and organizations from as far away as the Netherlands and Japan — all eager to explore how the CES 10 Common Principles apply to their practice.
Each year, the fall forum presents an opportunity for educators to continue “a conversation among friends,” as CES founder Ted Sizer once said.
Richard Carranza, superintendent of San Francisco’s Unified School District, started Saturday’s sessions off by addressing the need for transformational school change, using his home district of as an example. As someone who entered the public school system speaking no English and who is now the district’s superintendent, Carranza spoke about his vision and work to improve the entire education system.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, followed Carranza. Her talk addressed the reality of education inequity in schools today. Darling-Hammond is the former president of the American Education Research Association and the author of countless publications, including her books The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future and The Right to Learn.
Among the dozens of workshops offered on Saturday were three that featured Eagle Rock staffers, including one facilitated by Karen Ikegami, our mathematics instructional specialist who co-led a session called “Notebook Know-How.”
That workshop explored the use of notebooks to uncover student thinking and individualize assessment. Using examples from each of their own subjects, Ikegami and her co-leaders engaged participants from five states and two countries to discuss new tools to use in their home classrooms.
Isaac Leslie, a music instructional specialist here at Eagle Rock, presented “Queer! Privilege! Facilitating Real Conversations,” with participants discussing ways they were either the oppressed or the oppressor in a situation. Leslie presented examples from his own participation in Spectrum, a mixed student and staff gay-straight alliance at Eagle Rock.
Soguero and Condon well represented our Professional Development Center in a co-presentation called, “The Ten Principles as the Lens for Implementing the Common Core!” with the other CES Center directors. Hosting an overflow crowd, the group discussed four case studies from CES schools in a effort to prepare and implement the shifts needed to empower all students to use their minds and hearts while mastering these new standards.
Suffice to say, spending three days in interesting and meaningful dialogue with fellow educators from around the world was time well spent.