Fall 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

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Editor’s Note: Often traveling by themselves and sometimes as a team, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff works with educators and school administrators across the country with the goal in mind of ensuring high school becomes an engaging experience for youth.

We see all high schools as having the potential of being high-functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. For more than two decades, we have facilitated school improvement and supported practices that foster each student’s unique potential, thus stimulating their minds, through the engagements we’ve facilitated under the work of our PDC.

Below is a list of what we’re working on this fall as our staff facilitates, convenes, supports, and participates with local schools spanning both coasts.

This schedule was compiled with support from Sebastian Franco, Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development. The calendar is just a small illustration of what Eagle Rock does on a national scale, offering schools and communities of practice the tools necessary to develop their own youth engagement initiatives:


Sept. 11


Toronto High School, Ohio Valley, Ohio — Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, is one of the newest facilities in eastern Ohio providing various enrichment opportunities for students. These include Destination Imagination (a program that teaches students the creative process and empowers them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world), science fairs, debate team, among others. The school also offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as they prepare students for post-secondary education. Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed revisited this school as it continues collaboration on implementing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.

Sept. 11 — 12…


Jefferson County Educational Services Center Alternative School (JCESC), Ohio Valley, Ohio — The JCESC provides services and leadership to various school districts and counties in eastern Ohio with the mission of improving the quality of education provided to the students. Anastacia returned to the Ohio Valley this week to collaborate with the JCESC’s Alternative School. The Alternative School supports students from across the districts that are referred for a variety of reasons by their home school. During the 2017 — 2018 school year, Eagle Rock will be working to support trauma-informed practices as a core part of the culture at the Alternative School. Using a mixture of protocols and The Body Keeps the Score as an anchor text, Anastacia will be combining virtual calls throughout the year to discuss the book along with in-person visits.

Sept. 12


Harrison Central High School (HCHS), Ohio Valley, Ohio — HCHS has earned AdvancedED’s nationally recognized accreditation and offers a curriculum that embraces 21st Century technology with among other things, such as Wi-Fi, interactive white boards and overhead projectors, and Elmo projections systems. The institution also offers various out-of-class activities and opportunities to earn AP credits as students start thinking about colleges and universities. Anastacia facilitated some protocols focused on project-based learning as the institution continues to implement alternative forms of teaching.

Sept. 13 — 15


New Mexico Center for School Leadership (NMCSL), Albuquerque, NM — The NMCSL has been focusing on supporting families, students, and communities to succeed at the academic level through alternative education since 2012. Its main goal is to transform the educational landscape with input from those who have the most at stake in the success of New Mexico communities, including students, families, community members, and business leaders. Director of the Professional Development Center, Michael Soguero, will be helping the local STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) network study performance assessments. Building on previous success with the New Metrics project, this new phase will explore opportunities provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The center will be revisited by Anastacia on Oct. 30 and 31 when she will support the work being conducted by an improvement cohort.

Sept. 20

School Foundry, Pacific Northwest, WA — School Foundry, a leadership incubator for public school leaders, provides design support, mentorship, and leadership development to equity-driven school leaders who are designing district and charter public schools to launch the following year. Associate Director of Professional Development Center Dan Condon — who helped launch the School Foundry’s Fellows Program just last month— will be facilitating a session to best learn how fellowship participants would like to utilize mentors and advisors . These mentors include Elliot Washor and Dennis Littky of Big Picture Learning; and Rob Riordan, co-founder and President Emeritus of High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Also, Linda Nathan, co-founder of Fenway High School and Boston School of the Arts and founder/director of the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership, UMass Boston; Larry Myatt of the Education Resources Consortium; and selected mentors of Big Picture Learning’s Equity Fellows initiative.

Sept. 20 – 23


Deeper Learning Equity Fellows Cohort One, Estes Park, CO — The Deeper Learning Equity Fellowship Program is a partnership between Big Picture Learning and Internationals Network of Schools. Fellows develop leadership skills through face-to-face interactions, school visits, conversations with prominent education leaders, and capstone projects. Within the program, there are three different cohorts around the country. The first cohort will be coming to our campus in Estes Park, Colo., where Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci will facilitate a retreat focused on the Fellows making collective impact in the areas of deeper learning and equity. Then, from Nov. 13 to 17, Sarah will be traveling to New York to work with cohorts Two and Three to support Fellows’ entry into the program and development of capstone projects.

Sept. 20 — 22


International Leadership Entrepreneurial Development Arts Design (ILEAD), Lancaster, CA — iLEAD is a network of charter schools that focuses on project-based learning to improve the quality of education. Dan Condon will be continuing competency-based work with ILEAD’s Empower Generations & Innovation Studios programs.

Sept. 22 – 26


High Tech High Graduate School of Education (HTH GSE), San Diego, CA: HTH GSE is designed to support the development of strong leaders within the education field as they learn about progressive and innovative methods of teaching. Michael Soguero will be traveling to San Diego to participate in a collaborative seminar with other educators from around the country focused on college readiness.

Sept. 27


Vermont Personal Learning Collaborative (VPLC), Burlington, VT — The VPLC was formed to focus on the implications of VT Legislative Act 77 (“Flexible Pathways to Secondary School Completion”). The collaborative is particularly focused on figuring out how to facilitate high-quality, out-of-school learning and translate those experiences into high school credit. Sarah Bertucci, Michael Soguero, Anastacia Galloway Reed, Dan Condon, Director of Public Allies Christi Kelston, and Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow Sebastian Franco, will travel together to Burlington to facilitate a collaborative workday aimed at improving school practice, as well as to support planning for continued action.

Sept. 28


Rowland Foundation Shared Leadership Retreat, Burlington, VT — The Rowland Foundation focuses its efforts on improving the quality of education of Vermont schools through leadership and commitment to change by both staff and students. Its fellowship program for teachers in secondary schools supports projects to improve student experience in school. Fellows work with a steering committee, and this retreat will provide tools and frameworks to empower this group to effectively lead the project together. Our Professional Development Center group facilitating the Personal Learning Collaborative workshop (Sarah Bertucci, Michael Soguero, Anastacia Galloway Reed, Dan Condon, Christi Kelston, and Sebastian Franco) will also facilitate this day.


Oct. 3

Dream Big Initiative (DBI), Boulder, CO — Dream Big Initiative is a joint collaboration between the Boulder County nonprofits, government agencies, local school districts, and other community members to provide the necessary tools and resources for kids and their families to succeed academically, emotionally, and socially. Michael Soguero will be leading and supporting DBI’s steering committee as the organization is in its beginning stages and planning the work that needs to be completed before the end of the year. Michael will be returning Nov. 7 to facilitate the ongoing work.

Oct. 4 — 6

Pioneer Lab, Cedar Rapids, IA — The Pioneer Lab Community exists to demonstrate to the nation that learner-centered education can successfully address the most pressing education challenges facing our country. Eagle Rock has been invited to a commissioned inquiry to identify tools and resources to identify learner-centered education. The learner-centered progression tool will help understand how environments can evolve, self-assess and conduct peer reviews of their progress across the five elements of the learner-centered vision. Michael Soguero is participating in the first of two site visits to leading learner-centered environments: Iowa BIG in Cedar Rapids (Oct. 5) and The MET School in Providence, RI (Oct. 25).

Oct. 9 — 11

Student Centered Deeper Learning (SCDL), Philadelphia, PA — The Philadelphia SCDL works to build capacity in existing SCDL schools, incubate new schools, build assessment tools and other critical infrastructure for SCDL models, and facilitate cross-sector dialogue and collaboration about developing SCDL models. Michael Soguero will be returning to Philadelphia (he was last there in May) to wrap up the planning phase for SCDL.

Oct. 10 — 11

Innovations High School

Innovations High School, Reno, NV: Innovations High School is a Big Picture Learning School focused on educating students with the three pillars of relationships, relevance, and rigor. Real-world learning and strong community are infused throughout students’ experience. Sarah Bertucci will rejoin the school to continue work on restorative practices, including pro-active community building and the implementation of harm circles to effectively resolve conflict.

Oct. 19


I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD), Boulder, CO: iHAD of Boulder provides support and resources to high school students by helping them graduate and achieve their dreams of attending college. Most students in this program have an opportunity to receive a four-year scholarship to help them economically succeed a college or vocational school degree. Dan Condon and Sebastian Franco will be traveling to Boulder where they will meet with the program directors of IHAD to identify the next strategic plan outcomes upon which to focus. Dan and Sebastian are also scheduled to continue with that work on Nov. 16.

Oct. 24

Lafayette Big Picture, Lafayette, NY — Lafayette’s Big Picture Learning story began in 2008, and it has grown into a model Big Picture school, shepherding 60 students through four years of strong relationships and interest-based, real-world learning. In its process of continual improvement, Big Picture Learning always wants to ensure students will experience post-secondary success. To this end, Sarah Bertucci will be traveling to Lafayette to work on benchmark assessments and student goal settings.

Oct. 26

Rowland Foundation Conference, Burlington, VT — This event is a premier education gathering in Vermont, hosted by the Rowland Foundation, that has an ongoing partnership with our staff at Eagle Rock. Sarah Bertucci will be traveling to Burlington to lead a conference workshop on Neighborhood Learning Conversations, which is an innovative structure for community voice. Eagle Rock just recently supported this process at our Estes Park campus.

Oct. 26 – 27

Pioneer Lab, Providence, RI — The Pioneer Lab Community exists to demonstrate to the nation that learner-centered education can successfully address the most pressing education challenges facing our country. We were invited to a commissioned inquiry to identify tools and resources for learner-centered education. The learner-centered progression tool will help educators understand how environments can evolve, self-assess and conduct peer reviews of their progress across the five elements of the learner-centered vision. Michael Soguero is participating in the second of two site visit opportunities to leading learner-centered environments: Iowa BIG in Cedar Rapids (Oct. 5) and The MET School in Providence, RI (Oct. 25).


Nov. 1


McCormick Foundation, Chicago, IL — The McCormick Foundation is dedicated to providing underserved youth of Illinois the possibility to succeed academically by focusing on the first eight years of a child’s life. Dan Condon is going to meet with this organization for the first time as he explores ways to support its Democracy Schools. A healthy democracy depends on the informed and active participation of all citizens. Yet, civic learning experiences have nearly vanished from many of our schools. Democracy Schools seek to reverse that trend.

Nov. 1 — 4


School Reform Initiative (SRI) Fall Meeting, Atlanta, GA — SRI is a nonprofit, independent organization with the mission of serving educators around the country and beyond its borders. It is committed to transform the way education is taught by focusing on education equity and excellence. Michael Soguero, Anastacia Galloway Reed, Dan Condon, and Sebastian Franco will be attending this year’s national conference in Atlanta to facilitate some of the workshops offered at the event. Of note, the team will be reconvening the SRI Teacher Pre-Service group around its improvement goals.

Nov. 10 — 12

QED TLC at the Learning and The Brain Conference, Boston, MA – For the past year, Eagle Rock has partnered with the QED Foundation as a member of the Transformative Learning Community (TLC) initiative. One of our veteran partners, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School (Bronx, NY), has joined the initiative as a site to implement brain-based principles of learning. Anastacia Galloway Reed and Sebastian Franco will be joining the TLC group and Fannie Lou HS at the Learning & Brain Conference where they expect to pick up best practices to support follow up work with Fannie Lou Hamer.

Nov. 15 — 16

Fannie Lou Logo

Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School (FLHFHS), Bronx, NY — FLHFHS focuses on the development of students’ minds through academic research and college and career readiness. The school wants to ensure the best possible future for its high-risk youth. Anastacia Galloway Reed and Sebastian Franco will be traveling to New York to continue a long-term project around implementing peer observations, as well as sharing the new learning gained at the Learning & the Brain conference in Boston.


Dec. 2 — 5


Learning Forward Annual Conference, Orlando, FL: Learning Forward focuses on coaching teams on how to plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning within educational systems. Michael Soguero will be attending the organization’s 2017 annual conference to take in sessions on improving facilitation and professional development systems.

Dec. 4 — 7

Big Picture Leadership Conference and Regional Director Retreat, Providence, RI — Big Picture Learning was founded in 1995 with the purpose of placing students at the center of their own education. We are continuing our ongoing partnership on this annual conference. Prior to the conference, Sarah Bertucci will facilitate a work retreat for Big Picture’s five regional directors to focus on professional learning plans and continuous growth.

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If you are interested in the work we do at Eagle Rock, or want to know how your school or organization can connect with the team of talented facilitators in our Professional Development Center, please contact our associate director of professional development, Dan Condon, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

Comment (1)

  1. Sammy says:

    To who it May concern. My name is Sammy form Kenya East Africa and I am actively involved in training teachers on learner centred approches of teaching. As a team of young graduates who completed degrees in environmental education, we engage teachers and learners in outdoor learning what we like to calling wildclassrooms. We would like to engage in shared thinking whereby trainers from your institution can visit Kenya and train our teachers who dearly need professional development. Let me also know if you have short Course or trainings one of us can attend at your institution to gain skills and parhaps train our teachers back in Kenya. Just trying my luck to help out teachers back in Kenya.

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