A program administrators perspective:
Mr. Dan Condon, Associate Director, Professional Development Center
One of our schools most important missions is fostering innovation in education and sharing new ideas for student engagement. In addition to bringing educators from across the United States to the school so that they can experience our system and initiatives for themselves, our faculty members publish academic articles in books and magazines, contribute to educational DVDs and participate in a variety of education seminars and conferences.
Starting in 2002, we began partnering with Public Allies, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based organization that encourages young people to participate as citizens in a variety of activities in areas such as environmental protection and education. We invite young educators-in-training to the school each year and have them experience what is truly important about education in our own classrooms as special educational fellows, and then we ask them to take that experience and put what they have learned into practice at their own schools and institutions.
Fellows work alongside the schools full-time educators and teachers, making them both students and staff. The Professional Development Center, which is certified by the state of Colorado as an alternative learning site, offers a unique educator training program through which fellows can earn a teaching license. And since they are younger in age than the schools staff, they serve as a bridge between the students and us.
Our Center targets high school educators. While we have been involved in activities with elementary schools, junior high schools, and non-profit organizations, our expertise lies primarily in high school education.
A special educational fellows perspective:
Ms. Ashley Davidson
When I researched the program at the Eagle Rock School at the urging of a college professor, I found that it addresses everything I need as an educator through a broad range of activities. I believe the schools focus on individual growth sets it apart from other American public schools.
I chose to focus my own activities on improving reading and writing skills. At first I was unaware of how to teach students reading comprehension, but now I feel that Ive learned the necessary teaching techniques. I plan on entering the teaching profession as soon as I leave this program. Because my experiences here were all fresh and filled with joy, I want to teach at an independent school like this instead of a public school, and Im looking forward to taking what I learned here—for example, the 8+5=10* rule—with me and incorporating it into my work as an educator.
I feel that education in the United States right now is characterized by uncertainty over how well students understand the subjects theyre studying and a failure to manage the quality of the educational experience. Additionally, the focus on testing in public schools raises questions about whether an adequate learning environment is being maintained.
I believe that receiving a good education means gaining the ability to succeed. As an educator, my interest in my students extends beyond their academic studies to encompass their individual growth as human beings.
*The schools slogan, which describes the basis of a good education (the equation is intentionally incorrect): Eight Themes + Five Expectations = Ten Commitments.