Mapleton School Teachers Focus on Self-Managed Classrooms

Dave Manzella, currently the school designer at EL Education, was Eagle Rock School’s literature and literacy instructional specialist back in 2008 through 2011. Last month, he came back to Eagle Rock to facilitate a training program for another Colorado school.

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Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts (MESA) is a grade 7-12 public school in the Mapleton School District located in Thornton, Colo. MESA has been an EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) School for more than a decade, and MESA’s administrators wanted to begin the new academic year grounding the staff in the school wide objective of developing more self-managed classrooms and school.

They partnered with us here at Eagle Rock in a daylong program that saw the MESA staff gather off campus for some focused time away from other beginning-of-the-year distractions.

The day (August 8) was spent Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Alumni Return to Campus Teach Explore Week

After the first five weeks of classes at Eagle Rock School, students take a break from regular classes and participate in Explore Week — so named because it offers an opportunity for our students to explore outside interests in structured courses taught by guest instructors.

Instructors come to our mountainside campus from all over Colorado and across the country. Past instructors have included previous staff members, fellows, and other important members of the Eagle Rock community. Over the summer trimester, we welcomed back not one, not two, but three alumni: Charmaine Mitchell-Persens (she arrived at Eagle Rock as a student in the spring of 2002 — aka ER 27), Stephanie Sweets-Baldwin (winter 2001 — ER 23), and David Sanchez (winter 2010 — ER 53).

Charmaine and Stephanie were co-teachers for a course called Hair Care, Hair Design and Extension Wear. Of course it was one of the most popular courses during Explore Week and Stephanie and Charmaine were able to encourage self-discipline among the students.

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For instance, students were asked to come prepared, which meant Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Eagle Rock’s 2016/2017 Public Allies Fellows

Fresh off two full weeks of on-campus training, our 2016/2017 cohort of Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows now officially begin — or in some cases continue — their year-long service and leadership development as part of the national Public Allies Fellowship.

During their time here, these new and returning fellows will take an active part in Eagle Rock’s residential and community-based school, as well as support our Professional Development Center’s national work. Each fellow has shown a passion for alternative teaching and progressive approaches to learning, youth development and empowerment. And each is expected to support our objective of re-engaging high-school students in their education.

All fellows participate in on-going professional development on a weekly basis, and are a part of regular full-staff meetings. Professional development topics include teaching approaches and pedagogy, leadership development, capacity building, equity, cross-cultural understanding and social justice, among others (including self care).

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Here is a short biography and educational history of each fellow in the cohort:

Aaron Segura, 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Curriculum

Aaron was brought up in Ohio and graduated from Clark University where he studied political science and environmental studies, and played for the men’s soccer team. Aaron most recently resided in upstate New Hampshire where he worked at an alternative boarding school. A few of Aaron’s interests include watching and playing soccer, rock climbing, ultra-running, and learning about human anatomy and physiology.

Alexus Bell, 2016/2017 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Science

Alexus is originally from San Diego, Calif., but found her career passion while majoring in educational science at the Continue reading…

Strategic Plan Update: Diversity and Inclusion

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the sixth in our series about the Eagle Rock strategic plan — Vision 2020. Below, Jeff Liddle, head of school, shares his insights and updates on our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion at Eagle Rock. If you’re interested in learning about the overall aim of the plan, please read Jeff’s first post in this series: News From The Rock: Vision 2020.

It’s no secret that inequity is a major issue in the United States. Clearly schools must think differently about how they recruit, select, develop and support staff and how they create inclusive environments that serve all young people. We count ourselves among those schools and are therefore also deepening our journey to become a more inclusive and equitable community. While cross-cultural understanding and living in respectful harmony with others have always been Eagle Rock values, our community has recognized that we have room to grow here.

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In our Strategic Plan, Vision 2020, we committed to building a more inclusive culture and increasing the diversity of our staff. It is our intention to be a model organization in this regard, through long term, focused, intentional planning.

Recognizing the benefits of diversity and inclusion

Eagle Rock, which strives to be a model inclusive organization, serves a diverse student body with a diverse staff. It is our intention that staff and students, policies, practices, and programs all align toward the objective of contributing to a more just and equitable society. We are committed to diversity and inclusion for many reasons, including: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staffers Recommend Their Favorites Podcast Episodes

If you’re a frequent reader of our blog, you’ve noticed that our staff isn’t the least bit shy about recommending books and movies to our peers in progressive education. It is in that vein that we’re pleased to recommend the below episodes from among some of our staffers favorite podcasts. If one or more of them grab your attention, just click on the title and listen in:

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Is America’s Education Problem Really Just a Teacher Problem? An episode from the Freakonomics Radio Podcast

This episode of the Freakonomics Radio Podcast goes to great lengths to explore the notion that maybe some students aren’t succeeding today because of teacher quality. While it’s true we spend more money per student than practically any other nation in the world, the U.S. education system is failing on many fronts — especially in math. It begs the question: Are our students getting the Continue reading…