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…

Highlighting 4 More Classes Offered in the Second Half of ER-82

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This week, we’d like to give you a glimpse at some of the class offerings available to students during this, the second half of the 82nd trimester. You might notice references in these class descriptions below that talk about Individual Learning Plans (ILP), Power Standards, Distribution Requirements, and Required Experiences.

If you’re new to Eagle Rock, we feel compelled to fill you in on these terms and what exactly is required from each member of our student body before graduation. First off, a student’s Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is just that — individual and personal. It is made up of three sections, including Power Standards, Distribution Requirements, and Required Experiences.

When we talk about Power Standards, these are proficiency requirements in each of our Five Expectations — Healthy Life Choices, Effective Communication, Engaged Global Citizen, Leadership for Justice, and Expanding Knowledge Base. These standardized graduation “musts” can be attained via successfully completing a select class offering, or independent study projects.

For Distribution Requirements, students must meet proficiency standards for at least 24 credits. Those include two credits for each of the Five Expectations, with the remaining 14 earned in other classes. Work performed outside the classroom can garner another two credits. All Eagle Rock classes offer distribution credits, so students have the opportunity to participate in many such experiences.

For more details about Power Standards, please consider reading The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings. And for Distribution Requirements, check out Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings.

Here then are the four classes we’d like to tell you about: Continue reading…

Job Announcement — Professional Development Associate

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Even in the midst of a pandemic, life within the Eagle Rock community continues, as does the occasional opportunity for new staff members to join our team. With that in mind, we are currently seeking candidates for the position of Professional Development Associate, and we would like to have that new staff member onboard by March 1, 2021.

As with all of our positions at Eagle Rock, we’re looking for a person who believes in the potential of young people and is eager to join educators and communities in being a part of enacting major changes in schools across the country. Our winning candidate should be completely comfortable with working at a diverse, tuition-free boarding school that has at its core a belief system that is based on antiracism, relationships, and beloved community.

Why Eagle Rock Professional Development

Before we get to the responsibilities required for the position, we need to outline the qualifications.

  1. First, you must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree, excellent facilitation and organizational skills, extensive public school experience, and connections to organizations and supporters of antiracist educational change.
  2. In addition, you should be skillful at collaborating with young people, fellow colleagues, educators, administrators, and networks of school partners. You should have experience in working with individuals from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural background, as well as those who identify as LGBTQ+.
  3. Finally, we are looking to hire someone who considers working at Eagle Rock as more of a calling than a 9 to 5 job. This means possessing boundless energy, a team mentality, visionary thinking, seasoned judgment, and a sense of humor.

Among the responsibilities of the professional development associate are these specific requirements: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Community Puts a “Stamp” on Social Justice

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This week, we wrap up our synopses of a number of classes currently underway at Eagle Rock School with It’s Lit! Circles — a gathering of students and community members in what’s known as a Literature Circle for the purpose of discussing literature in depth.

(Source: Schlick Noe, K.L. & Johnson, N.J. (1999). Getting Started with Literature Circles. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.)

Literature circles such as ours provide a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection as they read, discuss, and respond to works of literature. In this case, the Eagle Rock community has dedicated this trimester to reading the book STAMPED, Racism, Antiracism, and You, which was written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.

STAMPED is a “remix” of Kendi’s 2016 National Book Award Winner, Stamped From The Beginning. And as the author explains, it’s not a history book. Rather, it is a “book about the here and now. A book to help us better understand why we are where we are. A book about race.”

That falls in step with one of Eagle Rock’s founding principles, which calls for a commitment to Continue reading…