Milestone Democratic School Highlights Our Latest PDC Work

It’s a brand new trimester here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and that means a brand new and very busy schedule for our Professional Development Center (PDC) staffers as they crisscross the nation, meeting with administrators and teachers at more than a dozen school districts and youth service organizations.

Today’s post covers our PDC’s engagement agenda for our 80th trimester, all with the objective of facilitating student engagement through school improvement events for organizations across the nation. The idea is to help create healthy, high-functioning learning environments.

And, in order to accomplish this aim, we have the hardworking staff from our Professional Development Center, including PDC Director Sarah Bertucci, Associate Director Dan Condon, and Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed.

A highlight of our work this trimester is Milestone Democratic School — a Fitchburg, Wisconsin, charter school that opens in August of 2020. This independent, tuition-free school serves students ages 12 through 20 by placing them at the center of the conversation about how education should be designed and supported. By empowering their students to assist in decision-making when it comes to the teaching and learning that takes place in this school, Milestone is squarely focused on creating a school  that inspires and engages students.

Milestone’s planning team will visit us here in Estes Park in March, where Dan Condon will work the group on approaches to values-based learning, proficiency/competency-based assessment, and student-directed project-based learning.

Milestone is envisioned as a school that is equitable, inclusive and welcoming to all, including those with disabilities, migrant students, English learners, and students facing poverty. Many of Milestones student will eventually serve on the school’s Design Team in order to ensure the organization’s vision of a free and open environment to anyone willing to learn.

In the meantime, while we prepare for the team at Milestone to arrive here for their March 16-18 retreat, 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 use the  Continue reading…

The ABCs of Eagle Rock’s Language of Learning

There are times when those of us who communicate on a daily basis in the language of education need to be reminded that our lexicon may not always correlate with those whom we consider extended members of our community. In particular, we’re speaking of the parents, supporters, and friends of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center (PDC).

In a sense, we’ve created a language of our own over the past quarter of a century-plus, the result of consistent communication both on our own on-campus community members and with our peers at dozens of educational organizations and schools we interact with each year across the nation.

Photo by Markus Spiske (sourced on Unsplash)

What follows is the first of what we hope will become a series of Eagle Rock linguistic ABC’s, with the objective of bringing everyone into the fold of our own lexicon. This first effort, below, is a complete A through Z rundown of terms, titles, alliterations, and programs that describe or explain our special form of work and communication, starting with All Who Dare 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…

Meet the Team: Athletics Coordinator Jocelyn Rodriguez

This trimester marks the beginning of Jocelyn Rodriguez’ second year at Eagle Rock, where she formerly served as our Public Allies Fellow in Human Performance. Recently, she was asked to return as a full-time staff member, working in the new adjunct position of Eagle Rock athletic coordinator.

In her now role, Jocelyn is teaching several classes, including Changing the Game, a class that focuses on what it means to be a coach in professional sports. In addition, she is the new house parent for Spruce House.

As the athletics coordinator, Jocelyn continues to sustain our basketball program while also coordinating athletic events for the Eagle Rock community. Earlier this year, we highlighted Jocelyn’s work in this area in a post title ‘MoreThan a Game’ Shines a Light on More Than Basketball.

Jocelyn also now manages Eagle Rock’s Sports Challenge partnership with Strive at Haverford College, and will be attending Sports Challenge next year — a two-week program — with two members of the basketball team at Eagle Rock.

We recently caught up with Jocelyn between Eagle Rock tasks and asked her to fill us in a bit on her work experience, personal life, and some of her favorite things. Here’s what she had to say: 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…

Second Half of Eagle Rock School’s 78th Trimester Gets Underway

We’re entering the second half of our 78th trimester, and as promised in our post about this trimester’s first grouping of classes (see: Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School), we’re now publishing a follow-up post featuring a rundown of the classroom offerings for this particular portion of the school year. Call it ER 78: The Sequel, if you will.

Each of our classes is carefully contemplated, curated and contained within our curriculum — constructed specifically for students seeking a purpose in school and in life. It’s an approach that has worked continuously for the past 25 or so years for the young people who are studying hard and experiencing a new life with and through the Eagle Rock community.

Without further ado, here’s what we’re tackling on the backside of ER 78 (the 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s): Continue reading…

Professional Development from Eagle Rock Continues its Blistering Pace

Our staff returned last week from our most recent trimester break, and most Eagle Rock School students are back this week as we kick off what is arguably the best part of the year — summer trimester.

Classes for returning Eagle Rock School students begin on Monday, May 20, while our new incoming class of students is set to arrive on campus on Tuesday, May 21. The following Monday the new students head off for our school’s traditional three-week Wilderness Orientation program that is a requirement for all new Eagle Rock School students.

Not only are we enjoying the bright sunshine and longer days in Colorado, but we are also initiating the school’s 78th trimester — also known as ER 78. And while administrators, staff, instructors and students take on the work of reengaging in education here in Estes Park, our Professional Development Center (PDC) facilitating school improvement workshops throughout the country as well as hosting educators here on campus in Estes Park. In this post, we bring you the latest update on the working engagements of the PDC.

As you can see below, we have listed the schedule of professional development deliveries that we are hosting, participating in, or offering from now until the middle of August. Continue reading…

Winter-Spring 2019 Briefing from the Professional Development Center

As Eagle Rock School’s staff members and students immerse themselves into the school’s 77th trimester, our non-stop Professional Development Center (PDC) continues its work in helping high schools across the country develop programs and protocols aimed at re-engaging youth in their own education.

For decades, our dedicated Professional Development Center team has signed on to collaborate with progressive and innovative educators around the United States in order to enhance educational strategies and design. To achieve the objectives and goals these educational organizations have developed for themselves, our facilitation builds on the assets they already possess (we refer to it as asset-based facilitation).

Please see the schedule below to see what’s on our facilitation agenda for now through the middle of April (and use the information presented at the end of this briefing to get in touch with us about your organization’s upcoming professional development-related needs):

JANUARY 2019

Jan. 21 – 23

Princeton Program for Teacher Preparation, Estes Park, Colo.: Dan Condon, Eagle Rock Associate Director of Professional Development, along with Doen Lee, our 2018/2019 Fellow in Professional Development, are hosting Ally Markovich from the Princeton Program for Teacher Preparation here on the Eagle Rock campus. In this visit, Ally will have many opportunities to observe Continue reading…

Wrapping Up Another Trimester of Progressive Education

Our winter trimester break is now underwayhere at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, which means many of our students have returned to their hometowns or headed elsewhere for this thrice annual vacation from school. Back here on campus, it’s been a busy trimester, with the graduation celebration for three of our students last Friday, followed by a mass departure of students the following day after an end-of-trimester community meeting. The staff held a holiday party on Saturday, and individual work teams met this past Monday for some trimester wrap-up work.

And while many of our instructors and staff head off to their holiday destinations, some — including Dan Condon, our Associate Director of Professional Development — are working during parts of the trimester break with educators who are committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth. In Dan’s case, he was working earlier today on a Restorative Practices project with the Étude Group in Sheboygan, Wis., while tomorrow he’ll be working with TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project), and on Friday he will be participating in a meeting at Public Allies, Inc. in Milwaukee.

Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock's Professional Development Center.
Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

As for our organization itself, our campus schedule for the weeks ahead is as follows: Continue reading…

Summer 2018 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: Whenever the summer months begin to make themselves known, you can be certain Eagle Rock School’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff is fully immersed in working with schools and learning organizations throughout the United States with the mandate of helping engage students in their own education.

Our knowledgeable Professional Development staff is on a tight schedule that continues through the summer months, visiting teachers and administrators at high schools in cities across the nation. For a quarter of a century, our PDC staff has been tasked with facilitating high-functioning oases of education — one school at a time.

Below is the ambitious schedule for Summer 2018 that includes areas where we’ve already met with educators and what’s on the agenda for the remainder of the summer season. The schedule was painstakingly prepared by Sebastian Franco, our 2017/2018 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development.

MAY 2018

ER_PDC_Update_General_2

May 10

Toronto High School, Toronto, Ohio: Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, provides various enrichment opportunities for students, including Destination Imagination, science fairs, and the debate team. The district offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as it prepares students for post-secondary education. Eagle Rock Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed and Professional Development Center Public Allies Fellow Sebastian Franco conducted an asset observation throughout various classrooms, based on the Universal Design for Learning model.

May 10

Estes Park School District (EPSD), Estes Park, Colo.: The EPSD is in charge of all education programs in the Estes Valley area and its focus is to prepare students to shine as citizens in a world that is increasingly diverse and technological. Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci  worked on essential learning outcomes with the school district’s superintendent and teacher leaders on the district’s Global Outcomes team.

May 11

I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD), Boulder, Colo.: iHAD of Boulder provides support and resources to high school students by helping them graduate and achieve their dreams of attending college. Most students in the program have the opportunity to Continue reading…