20-Mile March Takes Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Team to Vermont and Beyond

Our Professional Development Center team members — usually individually or in groups of two — visit dozens of educational sites across the nation each year. While this “you go this way and I’ll go that way” approach enables us to serve more schools and cover more ground, we find that we can potentially lose touch with those practices that make our center so successful.

Among the tools we bring along on these coast to coast educational retreats, seminars and workshops is a concept called “20-Mile Marching,” which helps our team members achieve great things in their work — despite the chaotic schedule and workload that confronts all of us on an annual basis.

Eagle Rock's Professional Development Center staffers: (Back row - from L to R) — Sarah Bertucci, Christi Kelston, Dan Condon, and Michael Soguero. (Front row - from L to R) — Sebastian Franco and Anastacia Galloway Reed.

Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center staffers: (Back row – from L to R) — Sarah Bertucci, Christi Kelston, Dan Condon, and Michael Soguero. (Front row – from L to R) — Sebastian Franco and Anastacia Galloway Reed.

The noted business consultant, author, and lecturer on the subject of company sustainability and growth, Jim Collins, first offered up the notion of “20-Mile Marching” in his 2011 book, Great By Choice, and we here at Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center are particularly drawn to its implications about working smart and resting well in order to operate on a near-even keel as opposed to a constant roller-coaster ride.

And along the lines of “working smart,” we make a point once each year to arrive — as a group — at one client engagement that has asked for our expertise in facilitating the big picture work associated with reengaging youth in their own education. By traveling at least once per year as a complete team, we enjoy the bonus of Continue reading…

Spring Break at Eagle Rock School is Worktime for Many Eagle Rockers

Eagle Rock School’s 71st trimester officially ended last week, with students from all points of the compass heading home for a well-deserved break. Same goes for many staff and instructional specialists — many are welcoming a short break afforded by the trimester cycle. But as you’ll see from reading on, not all who call Eagle Rock home are on break.

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Staff that are on break return to campus on Monday, May 8, followed by veteran students who come back on Sunday, May 14, to participate in some All School activities and house retreats before classes start on Monday, May 22.

Eagle Rock’s new students — the incoming group we’ll refer to as ER 72 — arrive on Saturday, May 20, just in time for a week of being on campus before heading out for their Continue reading…

Spring 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

Since beginning my Public Allies Fellowship with Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center last fall, I have taken note of the many traits that make our professional development team so successful.

As background, the Professional Development Center team is charged with executing on a mission to support schools (we refer to them as “partners”) around the country to increase high school student engagement. What is not well known is that the team provides those services to our partners at no cost to them, and our team consists of just four facilitators who regularly provide our services. This presents an interesting challenge as we cannot increase our headcount despite the ever-increasing demand for our services.

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To meet that challenge, the team has developed a set of practices characterized by working smarter rather than harder. Hallmarks of the team’s practice include organization, efficiency, and constant communication among staffers. Everyone understands what the goals are for each trimester and how their portfolio of partners needs to be shaped for maximum impact.

In normal circumstances, observing such traits among a high-functioning team should be a simple matter. But circumstances here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center are not normal, with all six members of the professional development team constantly Continue reading…

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…

Rowland Fellows Gather At Eagle Rock for Insight into Innovation Implementation

It was back in 2014 that The Rowland Foundation first reached out to us here at Eagle Rock for help in increasing the efficacy of innovation change efforts sought by Rowland Fellows.

That’s because collaborative work with our Professional Development Center staff can often lead to implementation strategies that result in visions being transformed into reality for schools seeking change.

Such a gathering took place at the end of January at our mountainside campus, when a group of Rowland Fellows arrived for some insight into how to move their various school transformation projects forward.

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If you’re unfamiliar with them, Rowland Fellows are teachers who receive a $100,000 fellowship to take on the task of innovating schools in the state of Vermont. Each year, as many as 10 Vermont secondary school educators are selected as Rowland Fellows from among all qualified applicants. The Rowland Foundation provides a $100,000 grant to each of their schools for the Rowland Fellow to implement a vision to transform an aspect of the school that positively impacts its culture and climate.

An initial grant of up to $50,000 covers a Continue reading…