House Retreats Are All Fun and Games With a Side Dish of Seriousness

At the beginning of each trimester here at Eagle Rock School, student residents and staff of our half-dozen on-campus houses participate in informal house retreats that last the better part of two solid days. And fun is right there on top of the agenda.

In anticipation of another trimester of hard work and community building, these house retreats place an emphasis on fun, community building, and great food.

It’s also a time for students and staff members to work on relationships, conduct serious conversations about the trimester ahead, build community and continue to develop their house culture. But it’s also the final hurrah before attending classes, and receiving and working on homework assignments.

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There are house meetings to be attended, leaders and intramural captains to be elected and a no-nonsense discussion of the mission statement for each house. All necessary, considering these houses are, essentially, a smaller community within Eagle Rock that encourage and foster camaraderie and team membership.

In other words, what comes around goes around. And when we build a positive community within the houses, those aspects then spread to the Eagle Rock community at large. And not to neglect the fun part of these two-day events, students and staff do cook and share meals together, and reconnect through games, activities and one-on-one discussions.

Specifically, here’s what each of our houses have been up to this Monday and Tuesday… Continue reading…

Eagle Rock is Now Recruiting New Cohort of Public Allies Fellows

If you’re reading this and you see yourself as a future educational leader filled with a passion to inspire change in the worlds of educational reform, social justice and youth development, we might have a program that’s of interest to you.

Here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, we offer a Public Allies Fellowship that annually provides a dozen individuals with an advanced yearlong service and leadership development experience like no other.

Ten of our 12 current Public Allies fellows during a recent 'Fellows Day Away' at the YMCA of the Rockies.

Ten of our 12 current Public Allies fellows during a recent ‘Fellows Day Away’ at the YMCA of the Rockies.

Located in the mountainside community of Estes Park in the Colorado Rockies, Eagle Rock is a full-scholarship residential high school, serving students between the age of 15 and 21. These teens and young adults come from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods around the country. For most of them, success in a conventional school setting was just not in the cards.

In addition to providing nontraditional education to Eagle Rock students, we also support Continue reading…

Not Your Parent’s Board Games — At Eagle Rock, It’s All in the Cards

Most everyone enjoys board games. Monopoly, Risk and Sorry come to mind when you think of tossing dice and moving little figures around on a board. However, a board game renaissance has taken place in recent years with a multitude of new and unique games being produced.

Eagle Rock School students have embraced this new golden age of board gaming and it’s not at all unusual to see clusters of students playing games in the library during their free time. One game that seems to have captivated these gamers in recent times is Dominion, developed by Donald X. Vaccarino.

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Dominion lacks a board (many “board games” do these days) and opts instead for a cards-only approach. It was the first of a genre called “deck building” in which players buy cards from a central market and add them to their deck. The primary objective is to have Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellow Develops His Own ‘Sense of Place’

jordan-cernaI arrived at Eagle Rock School a year ago as a contract instructor tasked with co-facilitating a wilderness experience for new students. The 38-day contract was to help provide a wilderness experience in which all incoming Eagle Rock School students must participate prior to becoming an official member of the Eagle Rock community.

While getting to know many students and staff at Eagle Rock during those initial days, I began to feel the connection and commitment these educators and kids had to their environment. Whether it was an educational opportunity or a place of employment, each individual knew they belonged to something very special.

This mountainside setting simply felt like a force of influence. As we all settled into our new environment, I saw students taking time from their learning environment to work on personal growth. I saw staff members who told me they returned to Eagle Rock after trying out new positions in other locations with other organizations. What powerful bond brought these individuals back to Eagle Rock?

As I walked the trails on campus and wandered around the rustic buildings in town, I purposely spent a lot o Continue reading…

Just Like on ‘Survivor,’ Our Grads Take Final ‘Rights of Passage’

At the end of each trimester, Eagle Rock School’s graduates head out on the trail for the traditional Grad Wild camping trip, a two-night experience that enables these grads to connect with one another and collectively and individually reflect on their Eagle Rock journey.

Much more condensed that the nearly three-week wilderness trek undertaken by our newest students, Grad Wild provides a brief but important time for grads to share their trepidations, hopes and dreams as they prepare to transition out of living at Eagle Rock.

On a Friday afternoon during the first week in December, students Alysha Dan, Javon Banks, Stacy Escobar, and Katie-Lynn DeRaps packed up their gear and headed out to the campsite, which is about a mile from the main campus. And, despite chilly temperatures, the graduates stayed up late playing card games, drinking hot chocolate and regaled each other with favorite Eagle Rock memories. Continue reading…