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…

Eagle Rock Seeks a Seasoned Professional Development Associate

We’ve been going through the process of filling several positions recently here at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center (PDC), and this time around we’re looking for an experienced facilitator of adult professional development with classroom experience and know-how in progressive education reform models.

The Professional Development Center Associate we seek will serve on our renowned Professional Development Center team, joining fellow associates in crisscrossing the nation to visit high schools, school districts and other organizations seeking to institute progressive approaches to engaging young people in their own education.

(Image ©2017 by Michael Soguero)

(Image ©2017 by Michael Soguero)

Our objective in the area of professional development is to accelerate change in public education through an asset-based approach with partners in education nationwide who continually ask us to return in order to facilitate the design and change processes at their schools and organizations.

Qualifications for this position include Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students, Instructors and Staff Wrap Up Another Successful Year

It’s been a busy December here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and as we wind down for the holiday season, we thought it might be helpful to post a schedule for the rest of 2017 and the beginning of the calendar year ahead.

First off, where we’ve been this month:

  • We graduated three of our amazing students with pomp and circumstance last Friday, with the rest of the student population heading back to families spread across the nation last weekend.
  • Our staff held a holiday party this past Sunday, wrapping up the trimester with a final staff meeting on Monday morning.

Many staff members will be gathering together to make plans for our 74th trimester (ER-74) this week, as well as put additional thought and work in on the planning for our 25th Anniversary Celebration, which is scheduled for June 30, 2018, here in Estes Park, Colo. And, of course, our business office and operations team continues to run the day-to-day tasks that recognize deadlines and schedules (in addition to holidays and celebrations).

Meanwhile, staff from our Professional Development Center are wrapping up the current trimester with several commitments in Wisconsin in support of our clients. These include visits with Continue reading…

Tips for Videoconferencing with Professional Learning Communities

School Reform Initiative (SRI) protocols within Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) have more impact when they are facilitated face-to-face by a skilled facilitator.

Being a member of the professional development team here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, I personally support about 10 school network or district clients nationally, which means there are times when I can’t be with them in person. Such face-to-face meetings are important, and I try to arrange these more personal consultations when possible.

But for those times when that’s not possible, I’ve facilitated such gatherings using Zoom’s video and web conferencing platform — a simple to use online tool that allows me to increase the amount of support I can offer clients sandwiched between in-person consulting visits to their local context.

photo for virtual protocol

If you’re unfamiliar with them, School Reform Initiative protocols offer structured processes to support focused and productive conversations, build collective understanding, and drive school improvement. Thoughtful use of these protocols is an integral part of building resilient professional learning communities.

In recent months, I’ve gathered up and written down a number of tips I believe can greatly increase efficacy of such gatherings online. These tips, which I’ll offer here as suggestions, include: Continue reading…

Bay Area Educators Learn About Legacy During Eagle Rock Visit

Editor’s Note: Today’s post details a visit to Eagle Rock School by Nora Houseman, former principal of San Francisco Community School (SFC), and Jessica Fishman, a literary specialist at the school. SFC is a Small School by Design (SSD), meaning the school community selects its leader and the school district cannot under policy remove that person unless the leader is ineffective.

By Jessica Fishman, Literacy Specialist — San Francisco Community School

When Nora Houseman shared our intention to start a lab school and professional development center in San Francisco, a former Eagle Rock employee suggested we bring our vision to Michael Soguero and Dan Condon at Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

For years, Nora had heard wonderful stories about Eagle Rock, so we arrived with high expectations, eager to see the school and learn from Michael and Dan.

Aside from the stunning beauty of Estes Park and the campus, the first thing we noticed was a poster that read, “What’s Your Legacy?” That query highlights the Eagle Rock tradition of culminating student legacy projects. The second thing we spotted was a comfy communal meeting area full of colorful throw pillows and handpainted signs signaling various student-led clubs and activities.

Lodge-Hearth-Eagle-Rock-School

Everything at Eagle Rock — from the physical spaces to the carefully worded curriculum and the two- to four-student advisories — is intentionally designed to support the school’s mission of engagement and community.

Everyone is encouraged to pitch in and play a role, and that includes visitors. We had the opportunity to participate in a rousing game of Continue reading…