News From The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center

PDC_Update_Sep:OctWe’re fresh into a new school year here at Eagle Rock and our Professional Development Center (PDC) has so many projects, plans and proposals in the works that we found it necessary to create a new position of PDC associate.

This new hiring signals our intent to increase the center’s national outreach and impact, contributing to — and accelerating — school improvement through strength-based approaches that support the organizations with which we partner and assist.

In fact, even as we write this, we’re interviewing candidates for the PDC position with hopes of having that new assistant ready to jump into a pile of projects right out the gate.

Below is a listing of our Professional Development Center’s activities scheduled from now through the Thanksgiving holidays. To inquire about working with the PDC, call Dan Condon at (970) 586-0600.

Sept. 24

  • Launching our Student-centered Coaching Initiative with Eagle Rock School, which is part of our annual professional development focus on student learning.
  • Hosting monthly directors phone call for the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) centers nationally who are planning for the CES Fall Forum. At that conference, which runs Nov 8 and 9, we are presenting with other centers on implementing the Common Core, while staying true to the 10 common principles of CES. Eagle Rock is also responsible for convening CES center directors for their biannual meeting.

Sept. 24 – 25

Sept 26

  • Today, we’ll be facilitating further curriculum development and charter school application work with Noble Impact, an Arkansas-based organization that engages with scholars to pursue public service as entrepreneurs.

Oct. 4 5

  • We will be hosting and working with Colorado teachers who utilize the Facing History organization’s resources in their schools. If you’re unfamiliar with this Brookline, Mass.-based organization, it promotes the belief that education is the key to combating bigotry and nurturing democracy. Through a rigorous investigation of the events that led to the Holocaust – as well as other recent examples of genocide and mass violence – students in a Facing History class learn to combat prejudice with compassion, indifference with participation, and myth and misinformation with knowledge.

Oct. 8 – 10 

  • We will host and work with representatives from the Rochester (N.Y.) Teachers Association, with a focus on the ways that serious outdoor and wilderness activity, experiential learning and voluntary commitment to behavioral values might transfer to an urban setting where large numbers of students are disengaged in their own education.

Oct. 14 – 16

  • We’ll be working with three Big Picture Learning Schools in Detroit: Blanche Kelso Bruce Academies, East and West Campus, and Catherine Ferguson. These schools have adopted the Big Picture Learning model but have only a year under their belt with this approach. We are being engaged to coach staff on how to make sense of and work effectively within this model.

Oct. 15

  • We will be working with Health Leadership High School in Albuquerque to facilitate the development of their professional development systems. Specifically, we will introduce them to the use of protocols as a way to foster continuous improvement with their project-based learning approach.

Oct. 17–18

  • Here, we’ll be working with South Burlington High School in South Burlington, Vt., to facilitate integration of the Common Core State Standards in the school’s Math and English departments. We’re looking forward to seeing Jason Cushner, a former math instructional specialist here at Eagle Rock, who is now a Rowland Fellow charged with leading systemic change in schools. Jason is working on getting schools to adopt innovative professional learning systems across the state of Vermont.

Oct. 25

  • We will be working with The Kingsbury Center in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to learn how to better practice differentiation in the classroom to apply to Eagle Rock School.

Oct. 29

  • Monthly CES (Coalition of Essential Schools) Directors call.

Oct. 30 (and Dec. 3)

  • Facilitating the launch of Puget Sound Consortium Critical Friends Group. This is a multi-year project to establish a network of secondary schools as a regional learning lab to improve long-term educational outcomes for Puget Sound, Wash., highest-need families. The focus is on student engagement as the strongest lever for increasing long-term success indicators such as college persistence, access to and preparedness for careers of choice, and non-cognitive attributes related to wellness and self and social efficacy.

Nov. 6

  • Eagle Rock is co-hosting the Rowland Conference and, following the keynote address we will be taking half of the attendees and running a workshop called “Managing the Rapids.” In the afternoon, we will take on the other half of the conference’s attendees so that by the end of the day we will have worked with an estimated 600 people. Our approach in these workshops is to employ the mindset and tools of “less is more.” Attendees will experience a set of processes that will help them get a handle on the various initiatives launched in their school setting and help get them under control within a clear framework. They will learn to move from confusion to disciplined focus and greater confidence, leaving the experience with a clear structure, aligned initiatives and focused strategy.

Nov. 8 – 10

  • Our entire PDC team, as well as some of our School’s staff, will be attending and working at the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) Fall Forum. Two workshops are scheduled, including one in which our own Holly Takashima and Karen Ikegami discuss how notebooks can be used to evaluate growth and mastery in different disciplines. The second workshop features Ike Leslie presenting, “Queer!” “Privilege!” “Power!” – Strategies for Facilitating Real Conversations in School.” This workshop answers the question of how to create a safe space for students and staff to discuss how power and privilege affect their personal and learning experiences.

Nov 18-21

  • Big Picture Learning coaches will be at Eagle Rock and we will be facilitating their adoption of new strategies to add to their coaching toolkit. They are working on integrating material from their newly published book Leaving to Learn and deepening their use of design thinking processes in their work.

Nov. 20 – 22

  • We’ll be returning to Detroit for a second visit to work with Big Picture Schools.

 

News From The Rock

ER_The_RockEditor’s Note: One of the reasons we’ve chosen to publish a blog is because like many organizations nowadays, we’ve come to the realization that with a blog, we have access to a digital press of our own… one that’s capable of helping us share Eagle Rock’s news in a timely and dynamic format. And you may have noticed, our blog recently underwent a major facelift.

With that in mind, we’re pleased to introduce a new type of blog post and one that we hope you’ll come to enjoy and look forward to reading every month-and-a-half or thereabouts. Here, in our ‘News From The Rock posts, we intend to share some of what’s going on behind the scenes at Eagle Rock, both in our award-winning residential high school and our professional development center. Driven by our head of school, Jeff Liddle, these ‘From The Rock’ posts will replace many of the mass email messages we’d been infrequently sending to parents and other Eagle Rock stakeholders. (Note: If Email’s more your style, you can enter your email address in the ‘Get Blog Posts by Email’ box at the top of the right hand column, and we’ll send you an email message each time we update the blog!)

So now that you’ve arrived at “The Rock,” here’s what’s been happening lately:

Around campus…

To get us started, we’re happy to report that the Eagle Rock board of directors recently approved — and a dedicated group of Eagle Rock School alumni will soon launch — our own Alumni Association. For details, read our recent blog post Orbiting The Rock: The Eagle Rock Alumni Association Takes Flight, and stay tuned for more information on this exciting development.

Next up, we recently graduated eight more Eagle Rock students, comprising ER-60 (Eagle Rock’s 60th group of graduates since our first group in April 1995). Congrats to these new grads, including:

  • Axaria Campbell
  • Blayke Curtis
  • Jonathon Deras
  • Valentin Deras
  • Derek Gaines
  • Marwan Johnstone
  • Nyeema Lee
  • Valentina Ramirez

Farewell to this year’s Eagle Rock Public Allies Teaching Fellows – they did a fantastic job and we wish them the best as they spread their wings and carry what they experienced and learned at Eagle Rock into their next endeavors:

  • Eliza Wicks Arshack – Outdoor Education
  • Laura Baumgardner – Health & Wellness
  • Clay Chiles – Human Performance
  • John Finefrock – Societies & Cultures
  • Rebecca Garrison – Literacy & Literature
  • Catherine Graham – Visual Arts
  • Jeff Holoubek – Service Learning
  • Athena Jin – Math
  • Jaimie LaPine – Music
  • Laura Nolan – Life After Eagle Rock
  • Colin Packard – Professional Development Center
  • Brighid Scanlon – World Languages

After two full decades, the pool side of the Human Performance Center roof here on property is being replaced.

We recently installed photovoltaic solar panels to reduce our dependence on electricity from the grid, and the School’s solar panel class spent five weeks studying that technology.

Around the country…

  • Eagle Rock students Steven “Ray Cat” Legér and Song Candea have been away in Boston studying on a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program, now in its 27th year. Better known as “Five-Week,” the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program, with its diversity of study options, world-class Berklee faculty, visiting artists, and state-of-the-art facilities, is the premiere contemporary music summer program for young musicians. Each summer, approximately 1,000 participants from across the U.S. and around the world (70 countries) share in this unique summer experience.
  • Eagle Rock student Franco Casas just wrapped up a rafting, backpacking and climbing trip in Utah as part of an Continue reading…

An Innovative Model For School Improvement

The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.” – Seth S. Horowitz

In a school with a comprehensive innovative vision that breaks the mold for school as we know it, I watched Michael Soguero and Dan Condon from Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center provide a range of support that equally breaks the mold for conventional educational consulting. I returned to my own work in schools with renewed optimism in the possibilities for supporting innovative educators to achieve their visions.

Tony Monfiletto’s vision for ACE Leadership High Schools is far-reaching and significant for the field. Not just anyone could step up and match this level of creative courageous thought and commitment to action.

Michael and Dan step up. From the minute we arrived at the school, they paid attention. Throughout the three days, I saw them bring a breath of optimism, a belief in possibilities for what we can accomplish for our kids, and that we can find our way in a complex educational landscape in a diverse nation.

They backed that optimism with a wide range of experiences and learning in multiple modes of organizational and individual professional support, from education and from business and other fields. They offered a breadth of experience from schools across the country along with depth of experience from their own Eagle Rock School. Being in a school themselves, they understand the continuous challenges that keep us grounded and humble. Furthermore they offered specific field-tested examples, solutions, and stories.

Their agility was inspiring as they turned on a dime from Continue reading…