New Metrics Initiative Taking Shape in New Mexico

The New Metrics Initiative in New Mexico was developed in partnership with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, the McCune Portfolio and The Center for School Leadership with the goal of creating a “high quality school performance framework” as an innovative means of assessing schools.

This framework was created by a group of educators who are committed to ensuring student success, both in and outside the classroom.

The schools within the New Metric Initiative often work with students from tough situations — some have some discontinued schooling and/or are grade levels behind — which led to the creation of a New Metrics tool.

The initiative is the direct result of the challenge that confronts many schools in troubled districts, and that challenge is funding. While funds might easily reach recognized schools that show major transformations in districts that struggle with high attrition rates and poor test scores, that progress seldom is made clear in standardized testing.

Our staff recently had its second meeting with our partners and the six schools that are part of the New Metrics Initiative (Health Leadership, ACE Leadership, Amy Biehl High School, South Valley Academy, Native American Community AcademyAlbuquerque Sign Language Academy). We created four key pillars to guide us as we achieve this transformative work: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellows Indulge In A Mid-Year Day Away

Editor’s Note: Kelsey Baun, our own Professional Development Center Fellow, joined other Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows at a recent ‘Day Away’ experience to celebrate reaching the halfway mark in their yearlong time with us here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Think of it as a “senior ditch day” for these 10 Fellows, only without the pinch and giggle that normally accompanies most 12th-grader ditch day events. Here then is Kelsey’s report.

By Kelsey Baun

Our most recent Mid-Year Fellow Day Away was held at the Estes Park Resort, highlighted by early morning inspiration provided by bucolic views of Lake Estes. A total of 10 Public Allies Fellows from here at Eagle Rock gathered to reflect during a day dedicated to exploring strengths, values and risks.

Our day began with the Fellows and Eagle Rock’s own Professional Development team members breaking bread — more like bagels — and partaking in an activity that shed light on individual perspective and success through the use of a dowel rod.

We then revisited our theme for the year of Refocusing Using Strengths and referenced to the use of Gallup’s Strengths Finder to focus each Fellow on what is it that they bring to the Eagle Rock community table.

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In order for the Fellows to see their assets in a different light, the Professional Development team facilitated for us an activity centered on values. It entailed asking each Fellow to rank a list of values and identify the top five values they might integrate into their own daily lives. Everyone then processed how values pertain to the Team Service Projects (TSPs) on which our Fellows will be working for the remainder of their time at Eagle Rock.

When this exercise was completed, we all split up into teams to further explore the subject matter:

  • Allison McManis (Societies and Culture Fellow) and myself (Kelsey Baun) will be creating a new high-touch recruitment philosophy to increase the diversity of Eagle Rock’s own Public Allies Fellowship application pool.
  • Life After Eagle Rock Fellow, Molly Milota, and Service Learning Fellow, Courtney Lancaster, will be Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staff Descends on Tucson for School Reform Initiative Winter Meeting

With five staff members in attendance, Eagle Rock was well represented at last month’s School Reform Initiative (SRI) Winter Meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

The theme for this year’s meeting was “Place,” and while our visit included learning a lot about Arizona and Tucson, what truly brought the conference to life was coming together with educators from around the country to share in the common struggle and opportunity of teaching.

Unlike traditional conferences, where participants sign up for various workshops and lectures, most of the work at the SRI Winter Meeting takes place in small groups. Within these gatherings, 10 to 12 educators share dilemmas facing them in their practice. And, through the use of collaborative protocols, these groups work to reach a greater understand of issues, solve problems or uncork ideas.

The work in small groups is also a chance for educators to practice using protocols and facilitating Critical Friends Groups®, which we use in many different ways here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center.

SRI_WinterMeeting15In our Critical Friends Groups at Winter Meeting, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center staff worked through a variety of dilemmas. Science instructor Janet Johnson got her plan for internally run professional development at Eagle Rock tuned, and Societies and Cultures instructional specialist Diego Duran-Medina got a fresh perspective on his “Heartivism” class. Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development Kelsey Baun worked on ways to increase diversity in the Public Allies Fellows corps, and I received feedback on plans to increase literacy across the curriculum at Eagle Rock.

Even though we were working with Continue reading…

The Latest News From the Rock — December 2014

Having just wrapped up our 64th trimester, a blanket of quiet has settled over our campus. And looking back, it proved to be a busy and productive trimester for all of us here at Eagle Rock.

We kicked ER 64 off by welcoming eight new full-time Eagle Rock staff members, 10 new Eagle Rock Public Allies fellows, and one wilderness intern — Jack Bresnahan — to our mountainside community. Add it up and that’s just about 40 percent of our staff. Considering all the newness, we’ve done pretty well.

As expected, our students continued to deepen their understanding of our five expectations — making healthy life choices, communicating effectively, practicing leadership for justice, being an engaged global citizen and developing an expanding knowledge base. Much of this was absorbed through engaging classroom discussion.

And, of course we’re proud to have sent our three newest Eagle Rock School graduates — Gigi Hagopian, Isaac Holmes and Cat Leger — out into the world.

In addition to classroom activities, we’ve been working hard to improve the quality of student life elsewhere at Eagle Rock, and this trimester we had a lot going on, thanks to a large extent to The Magnificent 7 — an elite group of veteran students who help out with evening duty.

This trimester, the M7 put on an exciting house versus house Olympics, and when the dust settled, Aspen and Lodgepole were tied for first place. To break the tie, student Ziyad Johnstone, representing Aspen, and Isiah Gonzales, representing Lodgepole, played a nail-biting game of egg roulette for the tiebreaker.

If you’ve never seen it, egg roulette has each person work back and forth through a Continue reading…

Meet Eagle Rock’s 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellows

Like clockwork, each and every year since 2002 we’ve hosted a dozen Public Allies Fellows, and every year, we proudly introduce these Fellows to you, our stakeholders. Today, we’re presenting 10 new young leaders to you, along with two who we’re fortunate to hang onto for another year, as well as offering up a little information about each of them.

And in case you wondered what Public Allies is all about, here’s a primer:

Public Allies is a program with the intent of developing leadership skills in young adults. This AmeriCorps-funded program is a national movement with a mantra that’s pretty much this: “Everyone leads.” The thought here is, everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up to the plate and take action.

Since its founding in 1992, more than 5,000 Allies have completed the program at sites in 23 cities with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

And so, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Eagle Rock’s 2014-2015 Public Allies Fellows:

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Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow: Courtney received her Masters of Art degree in social change from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Most recently she worked for the Center Consolidated School Districts and has experiences with Transformational Ventures /Trading Hope. Courtney also has service experiences as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorps.

Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: Molly worked at Kansas State University for the past few years as part of house and dining services. She brings to the Eagle Rock table extensive knowledge about what it takes to get into college — and also what it takes to stay in college. Molly has worked with Spectrum Series groups along with Functional Literacy tutoring. She has a Masters of Science from K-State in counseling and student development.

Nicholas Viglione, Human Performance Center Fellow: Nicholas, who hails from Purdy N.Y., has taught physical education at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y., in both the upper and lower campus. He has also worked as a track coach as well as with project-based adventure after school programs. Nicholas earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education.

Aaron Guggenheim, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Aaron picked up his bachelor’s degree at the Continue reading…