Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment

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Strategic-Planning-Eagle-Rock-SchoolEditor’s Note: “Vision 2020” is the name of the strategic planning process adopted five years ago by Eagle Rock’s board of directors. It helps ensure that our long-term goals coincide with what we do on campus on a day-to-day basis. The vision focuses on seven distinct areas — known as domains — that guide our board, administrators, instructors, staff members and students. One of these domains centers on our academic curriculum, focusing on creating a framework for normed common assessments.

In today’s post, Eagle Rock staffers Jen Frickey, director of curriculum, and Jon Anderson, outdoor education instructional specialist and this year’s instructional coach, address and update the work our staff is doing in the domain of academic curriculum.

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Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment
By Jen Frickey (Director of Curriculum) & John Anderson (Human Performance & Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist / 2018 Instructional Coach)

This year, the theme for professional development within Eagle Rock School’s instructional realm, is a close scrutiny of our academic curriculum — specifically pinpointing our power standards. At Eagle Rock School, all students must successfully pass power standard classes on each of our 5 Expectations. These include:

  1. Leadership for Justice
  2. Expanding Knowledge Base
  3. Effective Communication
  4. Healthy Life Choices
  5. Engaged Global Citizen

Top of mind for our educators this year are the school’s Enduring Understanding and long-term learning targets for their own professional development. Enduring Understanding — also known as our 10-Year Takeaway — asks teachers to consider what it is that students will remember about their particular class and what they retained a decade from now.


By creating and implementing schoolwide common assessments, instructors can improve teacher capacity, thus enhancing student achievement and promoting equitable outcomes for our students. Through normed common formative and summative assessments, we challenge our students and deliver quality instruction through all classes and other learning experiences both on and off campus.

The end objective is to have half of our assessment practices become normed and shared across all Eagle Rock School classrooms by August of this year. And by late summer of 2019, we expect students will be achieving to normed standards for learning.


As a result of this year’s work, we anticipate that Eagle Rock School instructors will be able to:

  • Explain how common assessment positively affects student achievement and promotes equitable outcomes
  • Inventory and analyze current assessment practices to create a foundation for common assessment practices
  • Collaboratively and iteratively create and implement schoolwide common assessment
  • Examine student work to norm and improve assessments across the curriculum

One of our core beliefs is that professional development and curriculum revision should be instructor-led and implemented. We are excited about the work our instructional team is doing and know that because they are the key players in creating these common assessments, the products will be used in a much more authentic and long-term way.

Here at Eagle Rock School, our professional development is led by a team of teachers working in our Professional Development Critical Friends Group® (CFG), which is modeled off the work of the School Reform Initiative. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, CFGs consist of five to a dozen members who commit to improving their practice through collaborative learning and structured interactions.


This partnership between our school’s instructional team and Eagle Rock’s nationally recognized Professional Development Center (PDC) team is a great example of how the PDC team’s expertise — and its national connections — improve the work we do here at Eagle Rock School.

From an inner workings perspective, this project and professional development are being co-lead by the PDC team as part of its annual school improvement project. Using a strengths-based approach, the PDC team is supporting us — Jen Frickey, Eagle Rock’s director of curriculum, and Jon Anderson, the instructional coach and change agent for the project — along with Anna Magle-Haberek, our Human Performance Center instructional specialist and coordinator of the Professional Development Critical Friends Group.


And from the PDC’s side of the equation, the team there is helping to support the project through and number of efforts including:

  • Creating lead and lag measures to check in with Eagle Rock School instructors about the work being done, have a check-in process to clear up instructor questions and misconceptions, and steer and track instructor knowledge over time.
  • The creation of a rubric to measure instructor engagement and participation with Power Standard common assessment.

The PDC also dedicated Sarah Bertucci from its team to check in weekly with us about the project.

If you’d like to know about our work on common assessment or anything else covered in this write-up, please reach out us using the online Contact Form that’s available on the Eagle Rock website.

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About the Authors: Jen Frickey is Eagle Rock’s director of curriculum, overseeing the school’s academic curriculum and learning experience for students. She also supports staff in the creation of engaging, innovative and experiential learning opportunities for Eagle Rock’s diverse student body. Jon Anderson is Eagle Rock School’s human performance & outdoor education instructional specialist, as well as the school’s 2018 Instructional Coach. Jon came to Eagle Rock as a student teacher and then stayed on as an intern for a year prior to joining the team full-time.

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