We have been deeply engaged in public education reform in Albuquerque, N.M., since 2007. In particular, Eagle Rock has been working with Tony Monfiletto since his tenure as principal of Amy Biehl High School and now as executive director of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership (NMCSL).
NMCSL is an incubator for local charter schools that serve communities in greatest need. In apparent contradiction to this long and healthy relationship, Albuquerque and New Mexico in general are well known for distrusting solutions imposed by outsiders. In fact, Gov. Lew Wallace — the former territorial governor — famously claimed in the late 1870s that, “All calculations based on experiences elsewhere fail in New Mexico.”
Fortunately, Eagle Rock’s facilitative processes are effective at surfacing local wisdom to solve local problems. We have a clear advantage as an outsider, because we demonstrate over time that we come to nurture and foster the best local thinking rather than impose a turnkey framework.
We have supported schools in Vermont and Iowa to foster competency-based systems, facilitated professional development in Detroit to enhance project-based learning, and launched Mid-Atlantic critical friends groups for Big Picture Learning principals to convene and learn from their collective experiences. In all cases, the center of our work is to identify what is most important to the local educators and systematically support them in what they care about. (To learn more about this approach and the thinking behind it, please read my April 22, 2013 blog post, Experience With Professional Development Influences Eagle Rock’s Approach.)
As a result of our ongoing work in New Mexico, I was invited to attend TEDxABQ Education held on Friday, March 27, 2015, at the African American Performing Arts Center in Albuquerque, where 17 educators offered up visions of reform rooted in their experience in that central New Mexico community. Presentations ranged from Continue reading…