Summer Break 2018 at Eagle Rock School

It’s not necessarily a ghost town around campus today as the first week of the summer trimester break gets underway, but with three of our students graduating last Friday and our student body departing for their hometowns the following day, it’s quieter here than normal.

Adding to the lack of frenetic activity is the fact that we recently said goodbye to our 2017/2018 cohort of Public Allies Teaching Fellows, although three of them — Tommy McAree (Literature & Literacy), Felicia Walker (Residence Life) and Micah Saugen (Science) — will be returning as second-year fellows for Eagle Rock School trimesters 76 through 78.

We also bid farewell to a handful of veteran staff members, including Jon Anderson, a Human Performance & Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist and2018 Instructional Coach. John has been named instructional coach at Mapleton Expeditionary Learning School of the Arts (MESA) in Thornton, Colo.

(Jon Anderson — top & left — leading his final piece of national work for Eagle Rock ... helping launc Austin’s newest Innovation Academy. Image credit: Michael Soguero.)

(Jon Anderson — top & left — leading his final piece of national work for Eagle Rock … helping launch Austin’s newest Innovation Academy. Image credit: Michael Soguero.)

Jen Frickey headed back to Canada and will be working with Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. Jen began her Eagle Rock career as an intern in our Human Performance Center back in 2001 and served in several capacities before becoming our Director of Curriculum in 2012. Meanwhile, we recently had the opportunity to welcome Professional Development Associate Sarah Bertucci as our new Director of Curriculum.

Other staffers departing include Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School’s Latest Trimester Graduation Features 3 Graduates

A huge event for us this Friday at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center is the graduation of three members of our student body. This is the latest of what is nearing 100 trimesters of pomp and circumstance, and it will be broadcast live at 4 p.m. Mountain Time on the Eagle Rock Facebook Page.

Eagle Rock is a unique school, in that we put our full focus on teaching youth through an alternative form of education, with an emphasis on supporting students who come here from a diverse and underserved background.

Graduation Photo Eagle Rock School August 2018

Our students arrive from all corners of the country to reengage themselves in their own education via a trimester system that culminates in their biggest achievement — graduation. This Friday, we are proud to support our three latest graduates as they walk onstage in our Human Performance Center to receive their diplomas, in full view of fellow students, families, administrators, teachers and staff.

We recently asked these grads-to-be to sit down and write out a short biography about themselves, including their involvement at Eagle Rock School, their short- and long-term goals, and any advice they might want to leave for those who follow.

Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Wax Poetic at National Poetry Slam

A half-dozen of our Eagle Rock School students, along with three staff mentors, have just returned from a national youth poetry festival at the University of Houston in Houston, Tex., and while we didn’t walk away with any major trophies or prizes, the reward came in helping each of our students find and display their own voice.

Called the 2018 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, the annual event brings more than 500 young poets — along with their educator mentors — all joining up with some the nation’s leading spoken-word artists and cultural workers to take a deep dive into arts education, artistic expression, and civic engagement.

BraveNewVoices

Brave New Voices is a national youth poetry festival sponsored by Youth Speaks, an organization that has long championed what is becoming a global movement of young people finding safe places to discover, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of social change.

Participating students do this through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement, and quality artistic presentation.

Dan Hoffman, Eagle Rock’s Societies & Cultures Instructional Specialist — and a Ponderosa House Parent— did most of the heavy lifting at the local level, coordinating the Continue reading…

Intern from Princeton Seeks and Finds a Purpose at Eagle Rock School

Jason_Bateman_Eagle_Rock_SchoolEditor’s Note: Jason Bateman — not to be confused with the star of the television sitcom Arrested Development and the Netflix’s series Ozark — is a Princeton University student who is interning with us as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program operates in the belief that community service is essential to the welfare of society. More than 800 Princeton University undergraduates have participated in the program since its inception. A dozen such ‘Princetonians’ have served as interns since our school opened back in the early 1990s. Below, Jason describes his recent arrival at Eagle Rock and what he has learned so far from the experience, while to the right we see a photo of Jason (L) alongside Eagle Rock’s first head of school, Robert Burkhardt (a Princeton Univ. grad) and current Eagle Rock Director of Curriculum, Sarah Bertucci (who first arrived at Eagle Rock in 1994 as our very first PICS intern).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

What is it, exactly, that I do — and am doing — here at Eagle Rock?
By Jason Bateman

It’s a question I asked myself — and several of my supervisors — when I arrived on the Eagle Rock campus last month. What was my role? What was my purpose? What was I going to do with this incredible opportunity?

What I discovered was that what I needed to do was hunt down aspects of this educational community that most interested me, and then I needed to figure out which of my talents would best be of use to the students and staff members here at Eagle Rock.

To be honest, this unanticipated quest to find purpose has been among the most rewarding and challenging experiences I’ve faced outside of the classroom.

In the past, I’ve actively applied myself to everything from electrical engineering and computer science to education policy and data science. I’ve taken classes on human rights and urban development as well as classes on Spanish film.

But what I discovered when I arrived here is Continue reading…

Working with School Districts to Create Safe Learning Environments

ER_GandhiOver the past four years, I have had the enormous privilege of working with ROC Restorative, a coalition of groups in Rochester, N.Y., that is transforming the culture and practices of Rochester City Schools.

Eagle Rock’s work with ROC Restorative began with big picture planning with the three leaders of the group — Ruth Turner, Jennifer Ghourlias, and Kirsten Pryor. Through phone conversations each week, we co-designed our plan, including visioning with the core ROC Restorative team and conducting “bright spots inventories” of schools that wanted to implement restorative work.

One of our most powerful early exercises was using a Back to the Future Protocol to set a vision and goals for the group. The vision was that of a transformed culture that embraces students through relationship-building and promoting positive ways of dealing with conflict. And today, there are myriad examples that show where this vision is becoming a reality.

To find bright spots on which to build and highlight successes, we performed numerous inventories at schools. Our team of select Eagle Rock School students and staff — alongside ROC Restorative members — visited schools to conduct interviews, facilitate focus groups, and make observations in order to discover examples of how each school was building community and relationships, as well as examples of conflict being handled in a positive, healing way.

The focus on bright spots was twofold. In a tough school district confronting the challenges imposed on Continue reading…