Estes Park Trail Gazette – PDC Awarded CES Center Status

The Professional Development Center at Eagle Rock School has recently accepted an offer by the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) to affiliate as a CES Center.

A CES center is an independent organization guided by the CES Principles, providing long-term professional development and technical assistance to schools. Centers are of a size and scale that allow members to know each other well. Each center has the autonomy to create policy appropriate for the schools it serves

Lewis Cohen, Executive Director of the Coalition of Essential Schools explained, “As a CES mentor school, Eagle Rock exemplifies our Common Principles in practice. The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center’s effort to disseminate information about these practices, particularly through the engagement of its students with visiting educators, captures all that a CES center should be.”

For fifteen years the Professional Development Center has disseminated information about Eagle Rock’s philosophy, programs and methodologies related to re-engaging struggling students in learning, keeping them in school, and graduating them so that they can make a contribution to society.

Initiatives of the Professional Development Center include hosting visiting educators from around the world; speaking at conferences; sponsoring twelve fellowships with Public Allies; offering a variety of learning opportunities to pre-student teachers, student teachers, graduate students and researchers; providing technical assistance to schools and districts; helping fellows become certified through an approved alternative licensure program; and publishing articles (in educational journals as well as the New York Times and Teacher magazine) and books, including The Other Side of Curriculum: Lessons From Learners (the first book written about Eagle Rock).

The Professional Development Center is unique because students participate in its activities as visiting educators shadow them, and they engage these educators in informal conversations at meals as well as participate in panel discussions and seminars on subjects that interest visitors. Students also accompany staff to conferences to assist in making presentations. Students understand that they have a purpose beyond being students — they are teachers when educators visit Eagle Rock. Their voices are powerful and persuasive. Similarly, staff welcome visitors to their classes and other activities, talk with them informally, and assist in workshops, seminars and formal discussions. In turn, visiting educators provide powerful feedback through their questions and comments.