Reporting on the Fall 2019 School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting

Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) team — along with Josán Perales, our world languages instruction specialist — descended on Boston in early November to participate in the 2019 School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting.

Presentation at 2019 SRI Fall Meeting about the renaming of Coolidge Corner School.

The School Reform Initiative, or SRI, is a Denver-based organization serving educators across the country, with the objective of creating equitable and effective learning communities. To accomplish this, SRI hosts a variety of professional development workshops across the country, such as reflective learning communities institutes (scheduled for Texas, Florida, and Illinois in 2020) and two-day equity institutes (available on-demand in 2020). It also employs a comprehensive database of protocols for use in professional learning settings. The November 2019 Fall Meeting encouraged participating educators to collaborate with others, tackle pressing challenges facing their organizations, and participate in a variety professional development trainings.

To that end, Sarah Bertucci, our director of professional development, and Travis Burhart, Eagle Rock’s 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, arrived a few days early in order to Continue reading…

Dan Condon Sums Up Eagle Rock’s Mission in Getting Smart Podcast

Tom Vander Ark, chief executive officer and a partner of the popular Getting Smart online community for educators, was treated to a personal tour of Eagle Rock’s one-square-mile mountainside campus this past August — an experience that was hosted by our own Professional Development Center.

Vander Ark’s popular Getting Smart Podcast features news, stories, and information about innovations in learning and teaching, and during his visit, the Seattle, Wash.-based CEO took time to tape a segment for the show with Dan Condon, associate director of our Professional Development Center.

Vander Ark, who may be known to some readers for his appointment as the initial executive director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now heads Getting Smart, a learning design company with headquarters in Seattle. The company provides advocacy, advisory, and coaching services with the objective of providing resources that lead to powerful learning for all students. As such, Getting Smart partners with education-focused organizations such as Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, as well as other learning organizations across the country, in order to “invent the future of learning.”

During the 17-minute podcast, Condon shared his thoughts on  Continue reading…

PDC Helps Create Competency-based Learning Playbooks

Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) has embarked on a project that includes facilitating a competency-based education and training initiative with an iLEAD-affiliated high school that supports pregnant and parenting teens in and around Lancaster, Calif.

PDC staff members, including Associate Director of Professional Development Dan Condon, have been instrumental in facilitating a number of initiatives for Empower Generations, including the ongoing creation of a Competency-Based Education Playbook.

Competency-based learning (CBL), which is an approach to teaching and learning of measurable skills rather than abstract learning, is at the core of Empower Generations’ offerings for students pursuing a high school diploma while navigating through new experiences as a result of pregnancy and parenthood. Guided by CBL, students enrolled at the Southern California school focus on what is taught and not on the amount of time spent completing credits. Instead of marinating in a seat for four years, students learning in this particular CBL setting work at their own pace to demonstrate mastery in the competencies necessary for receiving their high school diploma.

In other words, the focus of competency-based learning is on the final outcome and not the journey. This is a huge benefit for independent and adult learners who may be working towards a degree around other schedules.

Specifically, the competency-based learning approach features five core elements:  Continue reading…

Fall 2019 Update from the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center

As we do several times throughout the year, today’s post covers what’s occurring within our Professional Development Center — Eagle Rock’s conduit to working with schools, school districts, and youth service organizations to create healthy, high-functioning learning environments with the aim of improving student engagement across the United States.

As always, the Professional Development Center (PDC) staff — including PDC Director Sarah Bertucci, Associate Director Dan Condon, and Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed — are hosting educators here on campus, as well as traveling to schools and events nationally to facilitate school improvement through workshops and training events. They’re also focusing on our own school — Eagle Rock School — to improve its current practices. This trimester, for example, the team of PDC staffers is helping the school evolve its Presentations of Learning as a mechanism to allow students to learn about and contribute to Eagle Rock’s focus on having a national impact. (If you’re unfamiliar with POLs, please read Understanding Eagle Rock’s Presentations of Learning — then, check back here early next year for an update on how our POLs are evolving.)

In the meantime, below is an update focused on all of our current professional development engagements. If you’d like to enquire about engaging with our PDC for a project at your school or organization, please connect with us using the PDC Contact Form on our website.  Continue reading…

News from the Break at The Rock

Like all of the 78 trimester breaks that preceded this one, the one that starts this week at Eagle Rock School will end the same way — with students returning to campus for another trimester of engaging classes and experiences (this time around, on the 16th of September). What distinguishes this current break from all others is what we’ve got planned between now and then.

Below is a rundown of what’s happening during our summer break from classes, along with information on how to reach us from now until all staff members return to campus the second week of September:

Student graduation: Since the spring of 1995, each of our trimester breaks has been foreshadowed by an on-campus ceremony honoring the journey of Eagle Rock School students who are set to graduate. This trimester — the 78th since our founding in the early-1990s — a record 10 students took to the stage at our Human Performance Center, where each donned cap and gown to address family, friends, and the Eagle Rock community before leaving campus as high school graduates. Watch a replay of the August 9, 2019 graduation ceremony here.

Public Allies fellowship graduation: Our students weren’t the only learners honored with an on-campus graduation ceremony last Friday. Our 2018/2019 cohort of Public Allies Fellows, which included Continue reading…