Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center Staff Crisscrosses the Nation

If what Newton says is true, a body at motion will remain in motion unless it is halted, and so far this year, nothing has slowed down our Professional Development Center (PDC). Our PDC staff has been working nonstop since late summer, and there are still plenty of engagements to facilitate, guide and complete before year’s ends.

Since late summer, we’ve been working side by side with educators from throughout the country who borrow our expertise and experience in a continuing effort to retain, reinvigorate and re-engage young people in school districts spreading from Washington, D.C. to Washington State.

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In late August and the first week of September, PDC staffer Anastacia Galloway and world languages instructional specialist Brighid Scanlon visited Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in Bronx, N.Y., to launch peer observation cycles focused on Fred Newmann’s Authentic Intellectual Work framework. Teachers were asked to focus specifically on substantive conversation in the classroom.

Also in early September, PDC associate director Dan Condon visited Tech Leadership High School in Albuquerque, N.M., a project-based school that develops leaders in the technology field. These young students explore the technology, startup and business professions by engaging in collaborative work within in a small, supportive, school environment.

At the same time, Sarah spent three days at Innovations High School in Reno, Nev., focusing on learning that is relevant, interesting and vigorous. Sarah performed an assets observation of this “engaged learning” concept that she will use as examples at a work fair this winter.

Mid-September found our director of professional development, Michael Soguero, in Santa Fe, N.M., for youth summit meetings sponsored by the city of Santa Fe. Eagle Rock is a cosponsor of the 2015 Youth Summit, training local young people beforehand in the planning of this youth-oriented event. The summit is run on behalf of Santa Fe’s Children and Youth Commission and the youth recommendations gathered by Michael will be a source of a position paper drafted by the Santa Fe mayor’s office.

While in New Mexico, Michael attended a 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.

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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…

Eagle Rock’s PDC Checking Off Items on its “To-do” List

Once again, a quick look at our “to do” list here at Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) shows we’re running in all directions to get things done. And by get things done, we mean working hand-in-hand with educators who seek us out for our expertise and thoughts in retaining, reinvigorating and re-engaging the students in their particular areas of the country.

In February, we hosted researchers from the University of Michigan to study our approach to personalized learning. Researcher Jeremy Golubcow-Teglasi heard of us through his study of the Big Picture design and connected to our work.

Later that month, on Feb. 25 and 26, Opportunity Nation heard from our very own Dan Condon (Associate Director of Professional Development) at a conference in Washington, D.C. (read: Eagle Rock Participates in National Opportunity Summit).

During that same week, Innovations High School in Reno, Nev., invited Sarah Bertucci from Eagle Rock and Eunice Mitchell from Big Picture Learning to collaborate on supporting staff as they shift into Year Two of their Big Picture journey. They have a well-established student culture in Year One and we are working to help them sharpen their focus on instructional practices going into Year Two.

In mid-March, we hosted representatives from Holy Heart of Mary High School (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada) and New Village Girls Academy (a Big Picture School) from Los Angeles. New Village was working on integrating outdoor education more seamlessly into their school, while Holy Heart was working toward more fully engaging their disengaged young people.

Later that month, we began a search for a new Public Allies Director to replace Mark Palmer, and that search resulted in the hiring of Christi Kramer from Family League of Baltimore.

Dan Condon was at MetWest High School on March 26 and 27 and we have been providing ongoing support for them around their strategic plan and making data-based decisions as they work toward achieving their goals.

At the end of March and into April we conducted observations of competency-based systems for the Iowa State Department of Education. We also visited a pair of school districts in Collins-Maxwell and Van Meter near Des Moines. This is all part of a larger project where our team is developing a cohort of trained student observers and interviewers to look at schools through the eyes of students. Our professional development center fellow, Kelsey Baun, has contributed significantly to the design and delivery of the student trainings and will soon accompany students to Iowa. Her efforts are part of her contribution as a Public Allies fellow to build Eagle Rock’s capacity to better use students to extend our national reach.

Also in early April, representatives from Innovations High School in Reno, Nev., and Big Picture Learning came to Eagle Rock for a leadership retreat focused on sharpening focus for the year ahead.

The second week of April saw Kelsey Baun travel with Eagle Rock students to conduct focus group interviews of students at four schools: Health Leadership High School, ACE Leadership High School, South Valley Academy and Amy Biehl High School (all in Albuquerque, N.M.). The intent here is to assist our partners at New Mexico Center for School Leadership to better understand personalized learning.

Below are some of the activities scheduled from now through the next several months. If you would like to know more about our work or how your school or organization can work with our Professional Development Center, please contact our associate director of professional development, Dan Condon, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

April 20 — 24, and May 27

Eagle Rock’s professional development associate, Anastacia Galloway, is leading our work in Bronx, N.Y., at Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School (FLHFHS). There, Anastacia is following up on two previous FLHFHS visits focused on deploying Fred Newmann’s Authentic Intellectual Framework. This time around Anastacia is Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s PDC Has a Busy Calendar for the Cold Winter Months

If you know anything about the goings-on at Eagle Rock, you’re probably aware that our Professional Development Center (PDC) works hand-in-hand with educators from across the nation.

Educators and others come to us for insights on how to successfully re-engage, retain and graduate students. They come to us because we’re experienced and really good at what we do. There’s a bit of a boast in that statement, but it’s the truth.

And what we don’t do is tout ourselves as the only solution available. In fact, solutions aren’t what we offer. What our PDC offers is a process that enables schools to re-engage with their students within their own particular campus environment based on what resources are available to them and how the educators and students themselves define success in such endeavors.

As a result of our efforts, we continue to attract schools from all corners of the country. Take educators in Iowa, for example. Sometime early next year, we’ll be conducting observations of competency-based systems for the Iowa State Department of Education. We’ll be visiting a pair of school districts in Collins-Maxwell and Van Meter — both situated near Des Moines.

Also, you might recall back in September we told you about how we were helping six schools in New Mexico develop metrics for success. Come next month, we’ll also be conducting observations at those six schools. They include ACE Leadership, Health Leadership, Amy Biehl High School, South Valley Academy, Native American Community Academy and American Sign Language Academy. Our plan is to follow up our observations by meeting up with leaders of these schools — along with Tony Monfiletto, executive director of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership (NMCSL) — and the good folks at the McCune Charitable Foundation.

Also in New Mexico, the NMCSL will soon be launching the chartering process for a new Entrepreneurship-focused school. As we have with their previous three charters (ACE, Health, Tech), we will facilitate the initial curriculum vision for the school, which involves engaging industry partners.

Eagle Rock Professional Development Center WorkingAbout four years ago we assisted in the launch of the Mid-Atlantic Critical Friends Group (CFG) for Big Picture Learning. In 2015, those CFG gatherings will continue in Philadelphia, Pa. (Wed, Jan 14 at El Centro), Newark, N.J. (Fri Mar 13 at Big Picture Academy), and in March and April (dates TBD) at Fannie Lou Hamer High School in Bronx, N.Y.

Speaking of Fannie Lou Hamer, we have two visits in the pipeline to continue supporting the Bronx school. Previously, we’ve helped them launch their peer observation system, which is built around Fred Newmann’s Authentic Intellectual Work framework.

And we plan to continue our support of transforming public education in the state of Washington to better meet the learning needs of all students — particularly those least effectively served by existing programs — by supporting the work of the Puget Sound Consortium for School Innovation (a Big Picture Learning initiative).

Below is a listing of our Professional Development Center’s activities scheduled from now through the end of March. If you would like to know more about our work or how your school or community program can work with our Professional Development Center, please contact our associate director of professional development, Dan Condon, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

Jan 7 and Mar 11, 2015

We’ll be in Winooski, Vt., where PDC Associate Sarah Bertucci continues consulting with the Winooski School District as they move toward proficiency-based graduation systems.

Jan 8, 2015

We return to Albuquerque, N.M., where Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, will be Continue reading…

Fall 2014 Update From The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center

A new trimester is about to get underway here at Eagle Rock and — just as in Septembers past — our Professional Development Center (PDC) finds itself gearing up to help schools across the country learn more about reengaging students in their own education.

Here in Estes Park, we’ve got a new cohort of Public Allies Fellows arriving on campus and the PDC team will help by launching a Strengths-based Fellowship Initiative that enables these fellows to access their strengths and talents in order to thrive in this demanding year of service and leadership.

And as we welcome six new staff members (in addition to the new Fellows mentioned above), the PDC team will be facilitating sessions for the Eagle Rock orientation for new staff.

Below is a listing of our Professional Development Center’s activities scheduled from now through the Thanksgiving holidays.

Sept. 18

Sep. 25

  • Facilitating the third monthly Google Hangout in our series with Public Allies Alumni in the education space.

Sep. 25 – 26

  • We regularly explore new opportunities for mission appropriate projects and have recently been introduced to the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives in New Orleans, La. We will be meeting with John Ayers, Executive Director, to explore intersections in our work for reengaging youth in their own education and communities.

Sep. 29

October 6 — 7

  • We’ll be hosting Rochester Public Schools (N.Y.) as a group of teachers, principals and district-level administrators look to continue their work in improving student engagement efforts.

October 8 — 10

  • We’ll be hosting Expeditionary Learning Schools where school leaders from a variety of schools nationally will convene to work on continuous improvement of their model. This is where teaching and learning inspires and empowers teachers to Continue reading…