Eagle Rock to Host Council for Aid to Education Training March 14

Early next month, we’ll be opening the doors of our on-campus Professional Development Center for a daylong Council for Aid to Education (CAE) training on Performance-Based Assessments. For a few years now, we’ve been closely associated with the works of this nationwide, non-profit council, which is committed to helping education institutions measure and improve learning outcomes by offering innovative assessments and developing custom tests.

In particular, here at Eagle Rock, we use CAE’s College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA+) alongside more than 300 other schools throughout the country and internationally. The CWRA+ assesses higher-order thinking and written communications skills for students from all walks of life — from the most privileged to the most disengaged.

So, it’s no wonder we were eager to help out when CAE asked us to host the March 14 training from 8:30am-5pm, which is entitled, Performance-Based Assessment Workshop.

The training offers participants the opportunity to Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Educators Put the Spotlight on Literacy

Each year, the instructional staff here at Eagle Rock School chooses a narrow and specific curriculum focus for the year. Known as the annual focus, our educators are continuing to pinpoint improving student literacy, an undertaking that actually began last fall. Specifically, our instructional specialists are focusing on Literacy Across the Curriculum (LAC), a topic of focus as way back as 2011 and 2012.

LAC Image2

And while a lot of learning and progress was made, the consensus was that there wasn’t enough systematic implementation to make a lasting difference. As a result, this time around the instructional staff is seeking ways to improve student’s reading comprehension across the board.

Specifically, from now through August, instructors intend to hone our students’ abilities to find evidence within claims, and write persuasively with a warrant, claim and impact.

To prepare for this literacy focus, every staff member at Eagle Rock is reading Continue reading…

Strategic Plan Update: Curriculum and Instructional Practices Improvement

Editor’s Note: Back in 2013, Eagle Rock’s board of directors embarked on a strategic planning process that resulted in the adoption of a plan titled ‘Vision 2020’ that assures what we do day-to-day reflects the long-term goals that the organization aims to achieve (see News From The Rock: Vision 2020 for an overview of that plan and process). ‘Vision 2020’ includes seven distinct areas of focus (a.k.a. domains) that guide our board, administrators, staff members and students. In today’s blog post, Jen Frickey offers an update on our third strategic domain — Academic Curriculum.

– – – – – – – – –

By Jen Frickey, Director of Curriculum

Here at Eagle Rock, we intentionally place a significant amount of energy into graduating students who have the desire — and are prepared — to make a difference in the world. We implement effective and engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and these help young people use their minds well. To support this, we are working on improving our approach to assessment at Eagle Rock so there is more consistency in assessing what we value across all classes.

As we continue to improve our curriculum and instructional practices, it is important to us that we are challenging our students and delivering quality instruction across all classes and other learning experiences at Eagle Rock. For that reason, we are focusing a portion of our strategic work around creating a framework for normed common formative and summative assessments.

Strategic-Planning-Eagle-Rock-School

Our aim is that 50 percent of our assessment practices will be normed and shared across classrooms and disciplines by Continue reading…

Ready, Start, Launch — Albuquerque’s Entrepreneurial High School Starts to Take Shape

Editor’s Note: Albuquerque, New Mexico, is quickly becoming an entrepreneurial hub, and today we’re pleased to bring you a write-up by Eagle Rock’s very own Dan Hoffman, a literature arts instructional specialist, who details the work going on behind the scenes to launch one of that state’s first entrepreneurial-focused high schools.

By Dan Hoffman, Language Arts Instructional Specialist

How do you create meaningful curriculum based on real world problems? How do you foster an entrepreneurial spirit in young people and give them the skills they need to create meaningful change in their communities and in their own lives?

Michael Soguero, Eagle Rock Director of Professional Development; Anastacia Galloway, Eagle Rock Professional Development Associate; and I headed back down to Albuquerque, N.M., in early May to find answers to these pressing questions. We collaborated with Tim Kubik of Kubik Perspectives — a Colorado-based curriculum-design, assessment and evaluation consultancy — to continue our work with the New Mexico Center for School Leadership (NMCSL) on launching its newest venture — a new charter school that will focus on entrepreneurship.

The plan to create an entrepreneurship-focused, project-based learning school dedicated to creating new leaders in the field for the city is being advanced in part by tapping the local wisdom of community and industry partners to generate real-world entrepreneurship curriculum for the future school.

Entrepreneur-High-School-Albuquerque

NMCSL invited Eagle Rock to kick off its work with the start-up charter school in February of this year. We engaged a group of local entrepreneurs who had a great sense of social responsibility and wanted to create something of value for local youth. We worked together in a workshop setting to generate the knowledge, skills and attributes that students would need in order to be successful entrepreneurs in their community.

In addition, we brainstormed initial project ideas for the school. And while the initial workshop was a great success, we knew we could push the group further, generating not just school projects, but real-world work that students could accomplish as part of their high school experience.

Last month, we returned and reconvened the Continue reading…

Spring 2015 Reading Recommendations From Eagle Rock

We’re thinking it was Harry S. Truman who said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers,” and that rhymed remark certainly holds true for educators. The staff here at the Eagle Rock School are avid readers, each knowing full well that in order to be good educators, you have to keep up with trends in education — not to mention culture.

Here then are some books they suggest for your spring perusal:

TheGlobalAchievementGapThe Global Achievement Gap — By: Tony Wagner
Recommended by Sarah Bertucci, Professional Development Center Associate

The premise of this book is that there is a gap between what our schools are teaching and the skills and knowledge students actually need in today’s world. Tony Wagner, who currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, shows convincingly that even our “best” schools are not teaching key skills like critical thinking and adaptability. I’ve drawn upon Wagner’s work when helping Eagle Rock’s partner schools articulate their priorities for student learning, and to fuel work, finding better ways to assess what students are learning and how well schools are doing. Wagner recommends the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) as one of the very few assessments that measure the skills that matter. And that is a key assessment that we have chosen to use at Eagle Rock.

CoveringBookCoverCovering: The Hidden Assault of Our Civil Rights — By: Kenji Yoshino
Recommended by Philbert SmithDirector of Students

This book provides a different lens through which to look at civil rights. The premise is that we all have a tendency to tone down an identity that does not fit the mainstream. In other words “cover.”  I found this book to be insightful. I like the final paragraph, which reads, “We must use the relative freedom of adulthood to integrate the many selves we hold.” This includes uncovering the selves we buried long ago because they were inconvenient, impractical or even hated. Because they must pass the test of survival, most of the selves we hold, like most of our lives, are ordinary. Yet sometimes, what is consequential in us begins to shine.”

WhatKindOfCitizenWhat Kind of Citizen?: Educating Our Children for the Common Good — By: Joel Westheimer
Recommended by Diego Duran-Medina, Societies and Cultures Instructional Specialist

I’ve been reading this book for the last couple of weeks and it’s been instrumental in how I think about my teaching.

I love this book because it argues for placing citizenship as one of the most important goals of education, and argues that critical skills are not only useful for reading, writing and academics, but for shaping the kind of society that our students inherit and work to build. The book has been helpful in thinking about what we do in the Heartivism courses and Societies and Cultures Department here at Eagle Rock. Is should be required reading for anyone who teaches social studies or history. A key takeaway is understanding that education can be a force for conformity instead of intellectual and societal liberation.

BlackFacesWhiteSpacesBookCoverBlack Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors — By: Carolyn Finney
Recommended by Jesse Beightol, Instructional Specialist in Outdoor Education

“Finney reveals the perceived and real ways in which nature and the environment are racialized in America. Looking toward the future, she also highlights the work of African Americans who are opening doors to greater participation in environmental and conservation concerns.”

The above quote is from the back cover of this book. Many Eagle Rock School students arrive here with the perception that outdoor education is not for people of color. There are many institutional barriers to equal participation in outdoor pursuits, and books such as “Black Faces, White Spaces” help to explain why these barriers exist and what we can Continue reading…