Education - Engaging Disengaged High School Students - Public Allies Teaching Fellowship Program at Eagle Rock (AmeriCorps)

The Public Allies Teaching Fellowship program at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center (ER&PDC) supports new ways of teaching & learning that serve a once disengaged student population. The AmeriCorps program provides 12 individuals with an advanced yearlong service and leadership development program focused on education and youth development at the nationally recognized Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center.

Founded in 1993, ERS is a tuition-free residential high school for that serves low income, diverse young people in order to improve educational and behavioral outcomes of students (ages 15-21) from across the country who have not succeeded in low performing schools, many had previously dropped out. Drawing on the beautiful mountain setting and an innovative curriculum focused on how people learn rather than how teachers teach, ER emphasizes active learning, community service, environmentalism, outdoor education, and traditional academic subjects. We improve the preparation for and prospect of success in post-secondary education institutions for all of our economically disadvantaged students. The ER learning process, as shared through their Professional Development Center, has influenced educators across the country.

Through this unique teacher induction opportunity, our AC members gain skills that make them effective teachers, leadership trainers, and youth workers including teacher licensure through the Colorado Department of Education. The collective impact of our Alumni Network of 10 years of Public Allies Teaching Fellows is influencing education nationally.

Fellow Impact… Academically, the College and Work Readiness Assessment tests the impact schools have on the education of students by testing in four categories: analytic reasoning and evaluation (AR), writing effectiveness (WE), writing mechanics (WM), and problem solving (PS). According to nationally referenced assessment that test our students college and work readiness we have twice the effect or value-add to a students movement towards readiness for life after high school compared to high schools around the country. Behavior related, over the course of the fiscal year (Sep 2010 through Aug 2011) we have had 40 incidents that, at one time in the past, might have led to expulsion from Eagle Rock School. With the implementation of creative discipline processes like Restorative Justice, we have been able to retain 53% more students than in previous years. Culture wise, our Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) study indicated that our Overall School Morale was 15% Excellent; 51% Very Good & 25% Good.

Alumni Testimonial... “Wisdom is the heart of good teaching. From wisdom flows patience and understanding. With wisdom, I know the right counsel, I have the right words, and I know the when to say nothing. At ER people are fond of saying that wisdom is not transferable. They mean, wisdom must be earned. This is true for students and staff alike. Fortunately, the fellowship program at ERS packs years worth of teaching wisdom into one year. When I completed the fellowship program, I not only had a license to teach high school, I had the wisdom to teach high school well.” -Andrew Barron, teacher at Cristo Ray Network