Mission and Philosophy

Why do we exist?

Eagle Rock Vision

This country’s high school youth are fully engaged in their education.

Eagle Rock Mission

Implement effective and engaging practices that foster each student’s unique potential and help young people use their minds well at Eagle Rock School and to support schools nationally to do the same.  Eagle Rock serves adolescents who are not thriving in their current situations, for whom few positive options exist, and who are interested in taking control of their lives and learning.

How do we behave?

We are youth advocates

We believe that adolescence is a unique transition in a person’s life when the movement from childhood dependence to adulthood interdependence is playing out. Young people need adults in their lives to guide, support and mentor while appropriate freedom and responsibility are offered. In this transition, it is important for young people to know adults are there for them. Within this context, we advocate for young people, particularly those who have been told their dreams are unattainable.

We are risk takers

In order to discover what is possible, we understand that we need to work on the edges of our comfort. Inside of our physical and emotional risk management systems, we create ample opportunities for staff and students to take appropriate risks in the name of growth. It is in the area of uncertainty that we often find solutions to the most difficult individual and organizational challenges.

We use judgment as a foundation for decision-making

While we do set parameters in the form of policies and procedures, it is important for us to also rely heavily on professional judgment when determining the right course of action. We realize that no two situations are the same and it is in these gray areas that we find the use of professional judgment paramount.

How will we succeed?

We focus on continuous improvement

We believe that educating young people is not a problem to be solved but rather a process of continual unfolding and evolution. For this reason, we consider our model, our practices, and our own personal and professional growth as a work in progress.

We are all in this together

We consider everyone at Eagle Rock to be a learner and a teacher in the broadest sense. It takes everyone, “pulling on the oars” to make Eagle Rock work. Our founding head of school, Robert Burkhardt left many legacies, one of which is the value that all of us are in this together. He captured that ethic in the saying, “find a need and fill it.” We expect everyone at Eagle Rock, regardless of job title or status to jump in when needed. Staff members do chores and play intramurals, students teach classes and lead professional development sessions around the country – we work shoulder to shoulder.

We are the hub in a network

This network supports effective practices for educators and high school students across the United States. Through our network, we are a small organization with an outsized impact. Our network connections generate an exponential impact as we support implementation of effective progressive practices within our school and partner schools around the country.

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