January 16, 2015

Eagle Rock to Support National Conference of Educational Leaders in Oakland, CA, January 21-23

“Vision + Action for Equity” central theme for a National Conference of Educational Leaders in Oakland, CA, January 21-23

PROVIDENCE, RI – Big Picture Learning (BPL) will be convening over 100 principals, superintendents, and educational leaders from around the United States and internationally on January 21-23, 2015 at the MetWest High School in Oakland, CA and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina, 200 Marina Blvd, Berkeley, CA. This year’s conference theme is “Vision + Action for Equity”. This conference encompasses the vision of our work – helping all schools better serve students by implementing innovative practices and leadership strategies that lead to rigorous academic and personal growth opportunities; and sharing these strategies through a strong network of schools, principals and educators who share this mission of providing equity in all aspects in a student’s opportunity to learn.

The organizers of this year’s conference are excited to be working closely with MetWest High School in Oakland, CA, who will serve as hosts and provide opportunities for attendees to work and learn with students and staff. The organizers are likewise pleased to be partnering with the Professional Development Center at Eagle Rock. The Professional Development Center, based in Estes Park, CO, works with educators from around the country who wish to study how to re-engage, retain and graduate students. Eagle Rock will be coordinating sessions at MetWest including: School Leaders as first followers; African-American Male Achievement (AAMA); The Non-Cognitive Competencies as Intervention Tools; Restorative Practise at MetWest; Cohort-Based Community Action Projects: Keep it Real & How to Scaffold an Amazing Internship Program.

A highlight of the conference will be the keynote address of Jeff Duncan-Andrade on Thursday, January 22nd. An Associate Professor at SF State Univ., Jeff Duncan-Andrade spent 18 years as a high school teacher in East Oakland, CA where he practiced and studied the use of critical pedagogy. He works closely with teachers, school and system-level leaders, to help them develop classroom practices and school cultures that foster self-confidence, esteem, and academic success for all students. His work spans from urban schooling and curriculum change, to teacher development and retention, to cultural and ethnic studies all with a focus on social justice and equity. 

On Thursday, January 22nd, BPL will be presenting its Disruptive Innovation Award to Linda Darling-Hammond. Linda Darling-Hammond is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University where she has launched the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the School Redesign Network and served as faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She is a former president of the American Educational Research Association and member of the National Academy of Education. Her research, teaching, and policy work focus on issues of school restructuring, teacher quality and educational equity. From 1994-2001, she served as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, a blue-ribbon panel whose 1996 report, What Matters Most: Teaching for America’s Future, led to sweeping policy changes affecting teaching and teacher education. In 2006, this report was named one of the most influential affecting U.S. education and Darling-Hammond was named one of the nation’s ten most influential people affecting educational policy over the last decade. She recently served as the leader of President Barack Obama’s education policy transition team.

Other highlights of the conference will include:

• School visit to MetWest High School, part of the brand new OUSD campus showcasing the innovative designed “Downtown Education Complex” – including classroom observations, student conversations, and internship site visits.

• Special Innovation sessions with speakers:

– Tony Simmons, from High School for the Recording Arts, St. Paul MN

– Martin Keen, founder of Keen Footwear and Focal Upright Furniture

– Ramona Pierson, founder and CEO of Declara

– BPL Co-Founders Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor and BPL Emerging Leaders Andrew Frishman and Carlos Moreno

– Antwan Wilson, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District

Conference Workshops topics include:

• Effective Strategies for supporting African American Male Achievement

• Restorative Practices at the core of School Culture

• Establishing and Internship System

• Community Activism Projects for young people.

• Working with non cognitive competencies to support student social emotional learning

• Leadership Consultancies with School and District Leaders

• Open Space Technology as an approach for purpose-driven leadership

About Big Picture Learning

Big Picture Learning’s mission is the education of a nation, one student at a time. As a non-profit organization dedicated to a fundamental redesign of education in the United States, Big Picture Learning’s (BPL) vision is to catalyze vital changes in K-Adult education by generating and sustaining innovative, personalized learning environments that work in tandem with the real world of their greater community. At the core of Big Picture Learning’s mission is a commitment to equity for all students, especially underserved urban students, and the expectation that these students can achieve success. Big Picture Learning designs innovative learning environments, researches and replicates new models for learning, and trains educators to serve as leaders in their schools and communities. In order to create and influence the education of the future, Big Picture 

Learning must continually reflect on and improve our practice and research to provide the results to leverage our influence in policy decisions and educational systems at the state, national, and international levels.

For twenty years the BPL network has served over 26,000 students in 20 U.S. states and another 5000 students in 6 countries around the world, meeting the individual needs of students to help them excel at the high school level, but to also be prepared academically and emotionally for their post-high school endeavors. Since 1996, most of the students served by BPL are in the U.S. demographic groups least likely to complete high school, enroll in college, or attain postsecondary degrees (85% of BPL schools receive Title I funding; 66% of students are eligible for free/reduced lunch). 

In addition to supporting its network of schools, Big Picture works with and through other organizations to incorporate selected features and components of the Big Picture school design in other school designs. For example, Big Picture is helping organizations, districts, and schools throughout the country to use its student advisory program, enhance personalization, refine project-based learning, and integrate real-world learning through adaptations of Big Picture’s Learning Through Interests/Internships. This “Big Picture Inside” work has resulted in innovative designs for secondary, postsecondary, and career and technical schools and for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and out-of-school youth programs. 

For more information, visit


About Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock, a nonprofit Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the American Honda Motor Company, is both a school for high school age students and a professional development center for educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages 15-17 from around the United States in an innovative learning program with national recognition.

The Professional Development Center works with educators from around the country who are interested in engaging in education renewal and reform. The Professional Development Center works with educators committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth.

We envision this country’s high schools as high functioning centers of engagement and learning. We accelerate school improvement and support implementation of engaging practices that foster each students’ unique potential and help young people use their minds well.

For more information please visit and check us out on Twitter @eaglerockschool and on Facebook at