Physics Students Journey to CU Boulder for Lasers, Lenses and Learning

As a physics student and mountain biking enthusiast in college, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to combine these two activities. Eagle Rock’s support of interdisciplinary courses has allowed me to do just that by teaching physics through the lens of mountain biking.

The Physics of Motion class here at Eagle Rock School focuses on scientific investigation and experimentation both in the classroom and out on bikes. From Newton’s Laws to gear ratios and rotational speed calculations, we’ve dug deep into the exploration of mechanical physics.

Eagle Rock High School Mountain Biking

When my co-instructor, Ally Bolger (Eagle Rock’s 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Science), and I first read over the class enrollment list, we were surprised to find all of our students were female. To celebrate the rarity of an all-female physics class, we looked into support groups for diversity in science and came across the Women In Physics collective at The University of Colorado, Boulder.

As a teacher, attempting to arrange field trips can often mean sending email after email with no success or even response. In this situation, my introductory email to Women In Physics was met with Continue reading…

Music Politics Class: Tuning in With a Questioning Ear

Music is never just about beats and lyrics. Among other things, it is about understanding the values, prejudices and fantasies of our culture.

I love music because it is a vehicle for engaging with identity, history, politics, economics, geography, technology and literature through a creative and accessible outlet. It draws you in, fills you with emotion, and transports you — all the while expressing the deep cultural contradictions and philosophies that surround us.

This is what I hoped to bring to the students in my Music Politics class. At Eagle Rock, music is never hard to find; from daily community gatherings in the hearth to iPhone speakers on a picnic table at lunch, students are constantly performing and listening.

music politics class at eagle rock school

But how often do we actively listen, picking apart the music that we take for granted? My thinking was that we should have an academic space to analyze, interpret, argue, and express our musical preferences to one another. I knew I had much to learn from our students about their connections to music.

In Music Politics, students listen, analyze and discuss songs, thinking critically about Continue reading…

Professional Development Center adds ‘Student Ambassadors’

For the past two years, Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center team members have been developing a student-centered program to engage students in Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

After swiftly exiting its brainchild stages, the program has given students myriad opportunities to connect with the Professional Development Center (PDC) like never before. The PDC Ambassador Program encourages Eagle Rock School students to participate alongside our PDC staff in furthering Eagle Rock’s national mission of re-engaging high school youth.

The students, known as ‘Student Ambassadors,’ receive extensive training and experience to effectively contribute to the Professional Development Center’s works, gaining professional skills and real-world experience in order to meet the needs of clients. And for students who participate in the program, they have opportunities to host visiting educators, the exciting possibility of travel to partnering sites and conferences, and more.

Taking a step back for a moment, in order for a student to become a student ambassador, they must complete at least two trainings and two activities (from the list of offerings below) that reflect skills and practices PDC team members utilize in their work nationally on almost a daily basis: Continue reading…

Spring 2016 Update from the Professional Development Center

“Plan your work, then work your plan.” I’m not sure who said it first or if it really matters. All I know is if you decide in advance precisely how you’re going to get from where you are to where you want to be, you stand a much better chance of getting there.

At the level of the lowest common denominator, that’s the essence of any plan, including Eagle Rock’s strategic plan for 2015-2020, aptly titled Vision 2020. And as I shared just last week here on the Eagle Rock Blog (see: Strategic Plan Update: National Contribution), the Professional Development Center team is hard at work facilitating programs, trainings and other custom offerings that lead the high schools with whom we work to transform themselves into high-functioning centers of engagement and learning.

Eagle Rock Professional Development Center Update June 2016

More than half of Eagle Rock School’s instructional specialists — those educators who work within our own school — are now engaged in supporting this national mission-related work, along with the entire professional development center team. As a reminder, “national contribution” is the fifth domain within our strategic plan, a document that enables us to fulfill our organization’s mission and make significant steps toward realizing our vision. And, of course, that vision is that this country’s high school youth be fully engaged in their education.

The Eagle Rock Professional Development Center staff kicked off the spring by actively participating in a number of seminars, retreats, focus groups, workshops and educational events across the country, including the ones mentioned below. If you would like to know more about our work — or how your school or organization can work with the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center — please contact Dan Condon, our associate director of professional development, by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

May 2 and 3

The Professional Development staff traveled to the Ryan Banks Academy in Chicago, helping to develop STEM and Humanities curriculum for the academy, which is an urban boarding school scheduled to open in September 2017.

May 2 and 3

Our staff also attended an advisory leader retreat to develop advisory vision and plans at Randolph Union High School in Randolph, Vermont.

May 4 and 5

We conducted asset-based observations and appreciative interviews with the staff of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Earns Continuing NCA CASI Accreditation

If you were in the market for a used vehicle, chances are you’d feel confident buying from a dealership that offered a “Certified Pre-Owned” program. Similarly, if you were looking to lease office space, buy a water heater, or take your loved one out to dinner to celebrate a special occasion, you’d be buoyed by a LEED-certified building, the Energy Star label, or a certain number of Michelin Stars.

Basic CMYK

Nearly every sector of society has a commonly accepted standard by which excellence is measured and attained. And in education, that standard is often tied to accreditation — the process in which certification of competency, standards, authority and/or credibility is presented.

Here at Eagle Rock, we’re accredited by a number of organizations, including AdvancED’s North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI). If you’re unfamiliar with AdvancED, it’s the largest non-profit, non-partisan community of education professionals in the world.

The organization’s NCA CASI branch provides nationally recognized accreditation to schools like ours with a focus on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must Continue reading…