Eagle Rock School Moves Online for the Time of COVID-19

Amid the growing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19’s presence in the United States, Eagle Rock School administrators have called for “all hands on deck” to prepare and deliver virtual learning experiences for staff and students through the remainder of the Spring 2020 trimester (known as ER 80 — the 80th trimester since our founding in the early-1990s).

Our connection to the virus named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes — named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — began in February, when we began closely watching the news and developments around the virus. On March 10, the decision was made have all Eagle Rock School students return to their homes, supported by a plan for remote learning and ongoing student support.

We immediately knew that communication would be important as our students spread out to their homes across the country. Beth Ellis, Associate Director of Students, spearheaded a virtual hub to centralize communication, learning options, instructions for virtual communication, staff contact info, and other resources students may use throughout this now-virtual trimester.

Staff identified ways to make distance learning a reality for our students while maintaining an approach that is engaging, reflective of our experiential learning approach, and accessible across students’ various situations. Our school team began this undertaking by committing to students that they would indeed be able to earn the credits for which they were enrolled when they were on campus. We created new credit-bearing opportunities that we named learning experiences.

Beth Ellis, along with other staff members, fleshed out a website, after which Sarah Bertucci, Director of Professional Development and former Director of Curriculum, facilitated building the learning opportunities alongside our instructional specialists and Public Allies Fellows.

The learning opportunities for the rest of the trimester include two Power Standard classes, which are high-yield credits that take place over a period of 10 weeks, as well as several shorter learning experiences that will change each week. Students who have already enrolled in Power Standard classes will continue to earn these significant credits.

Here are the offerings: Continue reading…

The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings

It’s the beginning of our 77th trimester here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center and our students are already well entrenched in furthering their education with meaningful classes — many promoting strong leadership and good citizenry in the world they will soon inherit. A rundown of those classes is offered below, but first, we’d like to give you some insight into how we plan for and assess educational progress here at Eagle Rock School.

(image courtesy of Josán Perales)

At Eagle Rock, we’ve long maintained an “Individual Learning Plan” for our students, as well as “Power Standards” that assess student progress within this plan. All of this is organized around what we call our “5 Expectations,” which include:

  1. Creating Healthy Life Choices
  2. Effective Communication
  3. Leadership for Justice
  4. Engaged Global Citizen
  5. Expanding Knowledge Base

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP for short) is a means of assessing each student’s progress in completing their graduation requirements. The plan is divvied up among three sections, which include: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment

Strategic-Planning-Eagle-Rock-SchoolEditor’s Note: “Vision 2020” is the name of the strategic planning process adopted five years ago by Eagle Rock’s board of directors. It helps ensure that our long-term goals coincide with what we do on campus on a day-to-day basis. The vision focuses on seven distinct areas — known as domains — that guide our board, administrators, instructors, staff members and students. One of these domains centers on our academic curriculum, focusing on creating a framework for normed common assessments.

In today’s post, Eagle Rock staffers Jen Frickey, director of curriculum, and Jon Anderson, outdoor education instructional specialist and this year’s instructional coach, address and update the work our staff is doing in the domain of academic curriculum.

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Eagle Rock’s ‘School Improvement Project’ Focuses on Common Assessment
By Jen Frickey (Director of Curriculum) & John Anderson (Human Performance & Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist / 2018 Instructional Coach)

This year, the theme for professional development within Eagle Rock School’s instructional realm, is a close scrutiny of our academic curriculum — specifically pinpointing our power standards. At Eagle Rock School, all students must successfully pass power standard classes on each of our 5 Expectations. These include:

  1. Leadership for Justice
  2. Expanding Knowledge Base
  3. Effective Communication
  4. Healthy Life Choices
  5. Engaged Global Citizen

Top of mind for our educators this year are the school’s Enduring Understanding and long-term learning targets for their own professional development. Enduring Understanding — also known as our 10-Year Takeaway — asks teachers to consider what it is that students will remember about their particular class and what they retained a decade from now.

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By creating and implementing schoolwide common assessments, instructors can improve teacher capacity, thus enhancing Continue reading…

Understanding Eagle Rock’s Co-Curricular Student Leadership Development Prototype

Promoting leadership skills has always at the top of the list when it comes to maximizing the personal growth of each of our students at Eagle Rock School. If you need examples, just look to our evolving Leadership for Justice (LFJ) curriculum and the Power Standard portfolio that is required of each student prior to graduation.

All students at Eagle Rock School are given the opportunity take on a variety of leadership roles throughout their time here, starting with our Wilderness Orientation Course where they are required to serve as Leader of the Day on several occasions.

This expectation continues at school with Kitchen Patrol, House Leader responsibilities, Chore Leader roles, Intramural Captainships, as well as other activities inherent to living in a high-functioning on campus community. In addition, we honor the times students are often quietly leading in non-formal leadership capacities around the community.

Co-Curricular Student Leadership Development Prototype

Enter the Co-curricular Leadership Development Prototype — a framework developed to enhance leadership opportunities and support throughout our students’ time here at Eagle Rock.

The first trimester of the “prototype” provided us with valuable insights into what was most important and engaging for the students as we worked with them in their real life leadership situations. You can give kudos to our Continue reading…