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…

Eagle Rock Participates in School Reform Initiative’s Fall 2018 Meeting

Earlier this month, Dan Condon, Eagle Rock’s Associate Director of Professional Development — along with three of our 2018/2019 Public Allies Fellows — attended the School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Joining Dan in representing Eagle Rock were Doen Lee, Professional Development Center fellow, Kim Tellez, Societies & Cultures fellow, and Zach Greimann, Math fellow.

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For those unfamiliar with it, the School Reform Initiative (SRI) is an independent, Denver-based organization that creates transformational learning communities that serve thousands of educators and students throughout the United States and elsewhere. The non-profit specifically targets educational equity and excellence, and its annual fall meeting attracts educators for the purpose of fostering a community of learners to practice the skills, habits, and dispositions of professional collaboration and reflective discourse — using SRI’s protocols and resources.

Our attendees used the time in San Antonio to renew their commitment to 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

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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…

Trimester Break is Underway — Classes Start Again May 21

Here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, we began our trimester break late last week, highlighted by the graduation of four students last Friday afternoon, followed a community meeting Saturday and a staff meeting that concluded earlier today.

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And while the staff break begins in earnest tomorrow (Wednesday), a number of our instructors, Professional Development Center staff, and other campus staff will be hard at work throughout the trimester breather. Many of our instructors will spend time planning classes for Eagle Rock School’s upcoming 75th trimester (ER-75), and the school’s Leadership Team is heading off to a meeting of the American Honda Education Corporation board of directors on May 3.

Two days later— on Saturday, May 5 — many Eagle Rock volunteers and staff will be in Estes Park, supporting the Estes Park Rotary Duck Race that benefits dozens of local charities and organizations each year — including, of course, our Graduate Higher Education Fund.

For our Professional Development team, there is no real break to speak of, with a schedule packed with program deliveries, meetings, and retreats throughout the country, including: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Hosting Mid-June Pre-Service Education Retreat

School Reform Initiative (SRI), in partnership with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, is excited to host its third annual summer retreat for pre-service teacher educators here on our campus in Estes Park, Colorado, June 18-19, 2018.

Pre-service teacher educators represent schools or organizations interested in School Reform Initiative tools that include protocols in supporting their teacher training programs. The retreat targets educators interested in strengthening their teacher training programs as well as those interested in joining a collegial group of others who do.

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The day-and-a-half program runs from 8 a.m. on Monday, June 18, and concludes at noon on Tuesday, June 19. First-time visitors to Eagle Rock can participate in tours of our school that will take place Tuesday afternoon once the retreat concludes. As we’ve done in the past with this program, our Professional Development Center staff is providing facilitation for the day-and-half retreat, as well as sharing insights on work we’ve done here at Eagle Rock as an alternative licensure program.

The retreat promises to provide an excellent educational opportunity for SRI affiliates, whose work includes supporting pre-service teacher candidates in both traditional and alternative certification programs. In fact, before reading more about the 2018 retreat, take a look at the following video recapping the 2017 experience: 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…

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…

Fall 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

Editor’s Note: Often traveling by themselves and sometimes as a team, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff works with educators and school administrators across the country with the goal in mind of ensuring high school becomes an engaging experience for youth.

We see all high schools as having the potential of being high-functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. For more than two decades, we have facilitated school improvement and supported practices that foster each student’s unique potential, thus stimulating their minds, through the engagements we’ve facilitated under the work of our PDC.

Below is a list of what we’re working on this fall as our staff facilitates, convenes, supports, and participates with local schools spanning both coasts.

This schedule was compiled with support from Sebastian Franco, Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development. The calendar is just a small illustration of what Eagle Rock does on a national scale, offering schools and communities of practice the tools necessary to develop their own youth engagement initiatives:

SEPTEMBER                                                                                       

Sept. 11

Toronto_HS

Toronto High School, Ohio Valley, Ohio — Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, is one of the newest facilities in eastern Ohio providing various enrichment opportunities for students. These include Destination Imagination (a program that teaches students the creative process and empowers them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world), science fairs, debate team, among others. The school also offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as they prepare students for post-secondary education. Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed revisited this school as it continues collaboration on implementing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.

Sept. 11 — 12… Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s TLC: Teachers Teaching Teachers to Teach

One of the major “perks” of becoming a part of our cohort of Public Allies Fellows at Eagle Rock is the opportunity to participate in a Colorado state alternative teacher licensure program, which is paid for by Eagle Rock.

An important portion of that program centers on weekly meetings with new licensure candidates on campus to hear fresh teaching skills from our Professional Development Center team members as a means of boosting the candidates’ instructional techniques.

Eagle Rock School Alternative Teacher Licensure

Offered through our Fellowship Program in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and Public Allies Inc., these “mini” lessons — known as Teaching and Learning Convenings (TLC) — are intended to improve the quality of teaching and awareness each candidate can produce within a classroom setting. The learnings range from classroom culture to simple and effective practices that can improve each student’s experience.

At the same time, the lessons allow each candidate to receive feedback from his or her peers — in addition to our own Continue reading…