Not-so-New Eagle Rockers Embarking on Wilderness Course

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After a year of virtual learning and a long-awaited return to the Eagle Rock campus, this trimester is rapidly coming to a close. In the next two weeks, our two newest student cohorts will complete their classes and begin preparation to venture into the Lost Creek Wilderness for their Wilderness Orientation Course.

For decades, our wilderness orientation course has been an introduction and a rite of passage for new students at Eagle Rock. However, for the past three trimesters, the health pandemic put a halt to this tradition. In March of 2020, we sent all of our students home and shifted to virtual classes until it was safe to bring everyone back to campus this March.

Lost Creek Wilderness. Image © Hogs555 via Wikimedia Commons

As a result, and unlike any wilderness orientation before, students embarking in this trimester’s course have already been members of the Eagle Rock community for three to six months, albeit some of it from their own homes. Wilderness participants this time around include two incoming cohorts of students — those in the 82nd and 83rd trimester of our school’s history (ER 82 and 83).

And because those students are currently enrolled in on-campus classes before their wilderness course, they have the opportunity to participate in more prep work prior to the trip. Our wilderness instructors are Continue reading…

Meet the Team – HaeJohn Medley, Art Instructional Specialist

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HaeJohn Frederick Medley first arrived at Eagle Rock in the early 2000s as a student teacher from Hastings College in Nebraska. He returned the next year — our 37th trimester or ER 37 — as a Public Allies Fellow focusing on Art, and now joins us in ER 83 as our fulltime Art Instructional Specialist.

If you ask, HaeJohn will share that his first job at Eagle Rock helped form who he would become as a teacher and created a standard to which he held other education institutions.

Now, HaeJohn is guiding our students through the world of art and its many applications and uses. He is helping students explore new mediums, tackle challenging projects, materialize ideas, and empower imagination, creativity, and problem solving.

We asked our HaeJohn to tell us a little about his career and personal life, and this is what he shared: Continue reading…

Now Recruiting Public Allies Fellows to Start in August 2021

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Here at Eagle Rock, we believe leadership is not a position to be held, but an action that all young people are capable of taking. And Public Allies — a national organization committed to creating a just and equitable society by engaging and activating the leadership of all young people — is one of our partners in advancing that cause experientially.

Specifically, we’re talking about the Public Allies Eagle Rock Fellowship, which in 2021/2022 will offer eight individuals the opportunity to work with us in our efforts to re-engage high school students in their education, which for our next cohort of fellows is accomplished through a year-long service and leadership development experience here in Estes Park, as well as online if and when health and safety protocols dictate.

Recent cohort of Public Allies Fellows at Eagle Rock.

The Public Allies Fellowship here at Eagle Rock — which will celebrate its 20th anniversary when the next fellow cohort joins us in late-August of 2021 — is a residential, community-based opportunity for future teachers and educational leaders who are passionate about alternative approaches to learning, social justice, and youth development and empowerment.

As such, we are actively seeking applications for the selection of eight young adults to work with us and our students as either Educator Fellows or Health and Wellness Fellows. The application deadline for these fellowships which run from Aug. 27, 2021 to July 1, 2022), is March 15, 2021.

Educator fellows will earn their teaching license here at Eagle Rock, becoming leaders through training, mentorship, developing curriculum, creating student activities and events, and designing and implementing in-house team service projects. Additional responsibilities include classroom instruction, participating in residential life programming, providing academic and personal support for individuals within our diverse student body — acknowledging that learning happens everywhere, both for students and instructors.

Our Health and Wellness fellows play a crucial role in supporting student social-emotional needs and encouraging their growth and healthy development. This includes participating in Continue reading…

Individual Learning Plans Drive Eagle Rock School’s Latest Class Offerings

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As we enter the 83rd trimester since our school’s founding in the early 1990s (ER 83), we’d like to introduce you to five classes available to our diverse student body during the first half of the new trimester.

You might notice that each of these classes references a Distribution Requirement and, in fact, all Eagle Rock School classes feature a Distribution Requirement. But an explanation is in order. At Eagle Rock, each student has their own Individual Learning Plan (ILP) that is made up of three sections: These include Power Standards, Required Experiences, and Distribution Requirements.

For Distribution Requirements, students must meet proficiency standards for at least 24 credits. Those include two credits for each of our Five Expectations. The remaining 14 credits can be earned across the expectations, with lots of student choice in how they are earned. For more details on these requirements, please read Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings.

Here then are the five classes we’re highlighting for this trimester:

La Resolana: Villagers in northern New Mexico refer to the south-facing side of a wall as la resolana, meaning “the place where the sun shines.” Every culture has a resolana, a place where the resolaneros — the villagers — gather, dialogue, and reflect on society, culture, and politics. In this class, taught by Josán Perales, Eagle Rock’s World Languages Instructional Specialist, students are becoming “resolaneros,” exploring the stories of their identities and sharing them in community with others. Through daily writings and becoming an expert in their own stories, students enrolled in this class are finding a story worth telling a public audience. Successful completion of this class qualifies students for Engaged Global Citizen Distribution Requirement in English.

(Image: ©Teach for the Culture, LLC)

By the Numbers: Policing and Wages: Taught by Steph Subdiaz, our Math Instructional Specialist; and Mitaali Taskar, a 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, students are learning the importance of Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Mackendy Blanc – Program Director of Public Allies at Eagle Rock

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Mackendy Blanc, Eagle Rock’s Program Director of Public Allies, was drawn to our school by its progressive curriculum that he says enables fellows to “oscillate between in-classroom instruction and real-world experience” through our Professional Development Center.

The Director of Public Allies at Eagle Rock position allows Mackendy to level the playing field for young professionals by creating an environment where they can take a leap of faith, find their voice, and develop and hone their skills based on passion and ability. Mackendy calls that a jumpstart for their professional journey.

Before coming to work at Eagle Rock, Mackendy launched Katalyst Konbit — a training ground for Haiti’s next-generation of entrepreneurs. Under Mackendy’s leadership, Katalyst Konbit has become a go-to organization for aspiring entrepreneurs on the Pearl of the Antilles to catalyze their entrepreneurial journey while learning how to innovate at scale.

We asked this purpose-driven leader, who now leads the successful Public Allies program here at Eagle Rock, to share a bit about his career — and his personal life. Here’s what he had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Karla Vargas-Ochs, Health Care Coordinator

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Karla Vargas-Ochs, who is our health care coordinator, comes to our Colorado campus with a boatload of experience, highlighted by 14 years as a combat medic in the United States Navy. In addition to her career in the Navy, Karla considers herself a mother first, a daughter, a niece, a feminist, and a college-educated registered nurse with a specialty in medical case management.

She is a 2019 graduate of Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich., where she majored in Nursing and Medical Case Management. Before that, Karla studied Biology and African American Studies at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Va., and Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Prior to joining us at Eagle Rock, Karla chalked up more than two decades of medical experience, including work as a private nurse in the home health sector. While in the Navy, she worked in primary care, emergency room, public health, surgical services, and ancillary services. In 1999, Karla deployed to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba; worked at a field hospital unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009; and in 2011, worked aboard the United States Naval Ship Comfort in support of a global humanitarian mission that provided assistance to 11 countries in Central and South America, as well as throughout the Caribbean.

We asked Karla to take a few minutes to answer some more questions about her career, her life, and what she does in her free hours, and here’s what she told us:

Eagle Rock School: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Karla Vargas-Ochs: I struggled as a teen, eventually dropping out of high school. I would have benefitted so much from the experiences Eagle Rock provides its students. Joining the military is really what saved me. It showed me I was stronger than I ever thought I could be, taught me discipline, and gave me a jumping off place. I see those same values here at Eagle Rock — only wrapped in a different package. Our students have to opportunity to build on all of that, while receiving the nurturing and guidance every teenager deserves to have. After I was discharged from the military, I missed the camaraderie of being a part of something bigger than myself. Eagle Rock gives me an opportunity to experience that again, and I feel very privileged to be a part of this community.

ER: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time? Continue reading…

Eagle Rock is Scouting for an Outdoor Education Course Manager

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If leading a group of incoming students on a multi-week wilderness orientation program at one of the nation’s most progressive high schools sounds like an exciting and rewarding opportunity, then you may be interested in our full-time Outdoor Education Course Manager opening.

Backing up for a moment, numerous studies have shown the benefits of wilderness orientation programs. From metrics associated with fostering a sense of place to those related to social benefit, you don’t have to look very far to understand why curriculum-based outdoor and experiential programming — including a multi-week orientation program like ours — offers tremendous efficacy with respect to student engagement and growth.

Eagle Rock School students participating in a recent Wilderness Orientation Program.

Here at Eagle Rock, our new outdoor education course manager will serve as part of our Student Service Team within our Human Performance and Outdoor Education (HPOE) department. If hired, you will support field-based courses and contribute to residential life on our Estes Park, Colo. campus. Located on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park, this position offers unmatched opportunities for foster rich relationships with students and peers, with the great outdoors serving as your classroom.

Required qualifications and essential tasks of the position include: Continue reading…

We’re Now Focused on Filling Post for Experienced Science Instructor

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If you, or someone you know, is an experienced high school science teacher who believes in the potential of young people, would enjoy being part of a social justice-focused instructional team, and is excited about experiential education and project-based learning — then we would like to hear from you or your acquaintance.

At the minimum, our new Science Instructional Specialist should possess a bachelor’s degree in science, or a related STEM degree. A master’s degree is preferred. As for the position itself, it commands the delivery of innovative curriculum that encourages students to invest in a healthy curiosity as well as scientific thinking. The science instructor we’ll hire should also have experience in Big Picture, Expeditionary Learning, or similar progressive school models.

Spaces for Science at Eagle Rock School

Most important is experience working with diverse populations, including students from differing racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds — specifically LGBTQ students and those from lower-income backgrounds. This includes keeping priorities of diversity, equity, and inclusion top of mind.

Among the attributes we seek from our new science instructional specialist: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Seeks a Full-time Music & Performance Instructional Specialist

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If music and theater are your passions and teaching specialties, and you have a deep desire to work with a diverse group of high school students from across the nation who fancy themselves musicians and actors among other things, you or someone you know may be interested in one of our latest job openings — Music & Performance Instructional Specialist.

In addition to leading a schoolwide music and performance program and overseeing our school’s theatrical performances, the winning candidate for this job will put together and deliver a curriculum that is both innovative and creative.

Other requirements for this position include skills in vocal technique and piano, including the ability to play contemporary and popular music; as well as the ability to teach voice, piano, guitar, bass, and drums. A basic understanding of technical theater, lighting design, sound design, set construction, props, and costumes is also a must.

At a minimum, our Music & Performance Instructional Specialist position requires a bachelor or master’s degree (preferred) in music, performance or a related degree. And to be even more specific, below is a short list of the expertise you should already have in your teaching tool kit before arriving for your first day of work:

  • Experience teaching high school music with a wide variety of course designs and program models.
  • Experience in Big Picture, Expeditionary Learning, or similar progressive school models.
  • A commitment to experiential education, project-based learning, and the creative process.
  • Experience working with diverse populations including students from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, LGBTQ students, and students from low-income families.
  • A demonstrated commitment to engage wholeheartedly in our organizational priority of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In addition to real-world experience, you will need to demonstrate success in Continue reading…

We’re Looking for a Language & Literacy Instructional Specialist

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Once again, we’re searching for a qualified candidate to join our instructional team — this time as a Language & Literacy Instructional Specialist. The winning applicant will serve as part of our anti-racist, social justice-focused instructional team, and will be charged with leading our school’s efforts to deliver literacy to all students with our own brand of competency-based curriculum.

But before we get to the requirements for the job, we should advise anyone who is interested in working at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center that our preference is for instructors who consider their positions as more of a calling than just a job. To that end, we will be asking you to consider working as a residential Houseparent for student housing. Further, we will ask that you mentor students one night a week. And we’d like our new instructor to be an active member of the Eagle Rock community by attending community meetings, helping with on- and off-campus service projects, and sharing your unique skills, ranging from sports to poetry to any other talents.

Now for the requirements of the job. Candidates for the Language & Literacy Instructional Specialist position must possess: Continue reading…