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…

Our 75th Trimester Continues with Even More Unique Class Offerings

With another successful Explore Week behind us — and the celebration last weekend of our 25th anniversary of reengaging youth in their own education — Eagle Rock School is back to normal, with students absorbed in a number of new classroom experiences.

“Back to normal” might be a stretch when it comes to our campus, which has pretty much been delivering progressive education to its student body for what is currently the halfway point of our 75th trimester.

A second collection of five-week classes is underway at Eagle Rock, with offerings that include hands-on internships at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, methods of creating actual change in society, the meditative mode of Buddhism, and even a class on the coolness of comics.

Here then is the second installment of ER-75 classroom adventures at Eagle Rock:

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RMNP Internship: Students accepted into this program are performing internships within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Students are participating in a number of divisions, including Continue reading…

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center

Today, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center.

We established Eagle Rock in 1993 after two years of research and study of existing educational options throughout America. The goal? To find new ways to reach and educate high school students who, for whatever reason, needed a new approach in their education. We started from scratch – constructing this tuition free, residential high school at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado.

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From the beginning, our interest has not been simply in making successful students, but fostering engaged citizens who are willing and able to make a difference in the world. We determined to take a holistic approach, believing that intellectual growth is advanced through physical, mental, spiritual and social growth. This includes leveraging the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Are Halfway through Another Educational Explore Week

Regular classes have been set aside for the week as Eagle Rock students turn their attention to physical and mental explorations that range from touring Labyrinth Canyon via canoe, to a tour of nearly a dozen colleges and universities in Southern California for those seeking a higher education when they graduate from Eagle Rock School.

It’s all part of Explore Week, with unique course offerings that fall well outside the realm of formal education and more into the category of leaping feet first in to real-life experiences. Students are currently halfway through this — one of three Explore Weeks held each year— and below is a listing and brief description of the six course offerings in which they are participating:

25th Anniversary Prep Crew: For this course, 10 students have volunteered to stay on campus to help us produce this weekend’s 25th anniversary celebration of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s founding back in the early 1990s. (Learn more about this weekend’s celebrations by visiting our 25th Anniversary section of our website.)

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Several of these students are learning about event management and organization, while others are getting an education in property maintenance and management. In addition to picking up a fistful of service hours, these students will play a vital role in making sure that everything is in place for a successful anniversary celebration this coming weekend.

There are also fun evening activities underway throughout the week, giving students the chance to Continue reading…