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…

Getting into ‘Good Trouble’ at Eagle Rock School

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As has been the case over the past four weeks here on our blog, this week we’re highlighting another class that focuses much of its attention on presenting Eagle Rock School students with important issues surrounding social justice and nonviolence. Fittingly called Good Trouble, this class is exploring the history of peaceful opposition and social justice through the lives and works of Nobel Peace Laureates from around the world.

The title of the class, Good Trouble, comes from John Lewis, an American statesman and civil rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020, who said, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

In Good Trouble, students are looking at ways to peacefully engage with those who might hold opposing views to their own — always in a constructive manner. In addition to learning how to correspond civilly across lines of difference, students are exploring the intersections of identity, history, current events, and social change and action.

The class is being taught by Josán Perales, our World Languages instructional specialist; Lucia Sicius and Matisyn Darby, two of our 2020/2021 Public Allies fellows; Courthney Russell, Jr., our Residential Life Program coordinator; and Annie Kelston, a student services program specialist and Explore Week coordinator.

And for the first time in Eagle Rock history, we’re using a curriculum that was designed by a Public Allies fellow! Second-year fellow Lucia Sicius spent this past summer preparing six chapters of action-oriented curricula for and by youth, in collaboration with interns at the Peace Jam Foundation —an international organization working through the inspiration of past Nobel Laureates. As an alum of the program, Lucia saw an opportunity for Eagle Rock to model a class that explores identity, storytelling, and deliberate action among students.

The Good Trouble afternoon block is a direct response to current events in the world. Lucia said that, with the inspiration of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Explore a Half-century of U.S. Social Movements

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This week, we highlight the fourth post in a series that is shining a spotlight on some of the classes here at Eagle Rock School. Today, I’m pleased to tell you about Then and Now: A History of Social Movements, which is a class I am co-teaching with Societies & Cultures instructional specialist, Cedric Josey.

I feel very fortunate to be co-leading this class, where we are exploring how Black lives have mattered to the judicial system and the American public at large. And we are doing this by exploring social movements for justice spanning more than 50 years. In the United States, this question is popularly and painfully analyzed via the image of dead and brutalized bodies in print or on a screen, and eulogized in hashtags in our social media feeds.

(from L to R) Emmet Till, Trayvon Martin, and Ahmaud Arbery

Whether by a private individual or a law enforcement officer, the cases and victims memorialized throughout the ages generally share similar features:

  1. A shocking act of dehumanization.
  2. Outrage boils to the surface as demands for justice.
  3. A nation is conflicted and brought to violence.
  4. Repair is rare.

Often, the state and the law shields the perpetrator from accountability; this was vividly evident in the blatant disregard for the loss of human life demonstrated by the Attorney General of Kentucky in the case of Breonna Taylor — a recent tragedy in a long history of names, known and unknown.

In some way, everyone reading this experienced the largest social movement in our nation’s history — the one that erupted earlier this year when at least 29 million people protested after the world witnessed the Continue reading…

Food for Thought: Eagle Rock Class Takes a Look at Our Eating Habits

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Today’s post is the third in a series that explores new class offerings for Eagle Rock School’s 82nd trimester, and this time around, we’re sitting in on You Are What You Eat, a class that asks students to research the foods they eat and investigate ways that food influences more than just our physical bodies.

Instructors for this class are Sara Benge, our science instructional specialist, and myself — Mitaali Taskar, a 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellows. If you didn’t get a chance to read Eagle Rock Welcomes 7 Public Allies Fellows to Our Community for 2020/2021, I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, so I naturally have questions, including:

  • Why do we need food?
  • What foods do we need?
  • What food is healthy?
  • What does “healthy” mean?
  • And, if food is such a necessity, why is there such inequity in the our country’s food system?

The final question posed above is in response to Eagle Rock’s effort to incorporate historically responsive literacy in our greater push towards embodying anti-racist, social justice teachings, while at the same time going virtual in response to COVID-19. As you may be aware, we have restructured some of our 10-week in-person classes into a five-week virtual course, and in this case, we’re discussing food justice and the many related perceptions surrounding health.

That being said, you can’t talk about food justice and health in the United States without first learning the basics of food. So, for the first few weeks of this class, students have been learning about macronutrients and micronutrients, and how these nutrients are presented to us through our culture, our families, and of course, media in the form of advertising.

Students were asked to take, for example, the connection between Continue reading…

Class Focus: Tending to Mind, Body and Soul Creates a Champion

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Much more than just a scheduled workout program, In the Mind of a Champion is a new class offering at Eagle Rock School that asks participating students to reflect on their own mind, body, and spirit, and to also consider how the world currently aligns with their personal values.

With intent on developing a personalized physical fitness program, students are also being asked to contemplate on how the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and COVID-19 have had an impact on professional athletes.

Led by Jocelyn Rodriguez, Eagle Rock’s athletics coordinator, and Dan Marigny, a 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, students enrolled in this class are listening, researching, and speaking up about how the coronavirus has changed the way sports are viewed, and how athletes are now standing in solidarity on issues put forth by social justice movements like Black Lives Matter. Specifically, each student is asked how they may be able to adopt these athletes’ platform practices into their own lives.

Mind of a Champion Eagle Rock

In addition to highlighting aspects of their physical workout with Jocelyn and Don each week, students are asked to reflect on their mind, body, and spirit and how each aspect contributes to their personal views on the world around them and what it means to be a “champion.” Specifically, they are asked for their take on why athletes in various sports have opted out of participating in their current season, dedicating  time to activism, and walked off of fields and courts to make a statement about the importance of justice.

What is each student expected to take away from this class? Simply put, the primary objective is to Continue reading…

Ballot Box Stats Prove Voting MATHers

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Hilary Clinton wasn’t the first presidential candidate to win the popular vote yet lose the election. Truth is, statistics and demographics have affected several elections over the centuries. And that’s important stuff to know, according to Stephany Subdiaz, Math Instructional Specialist, who is teaching a class this trimester called Voting MATHers.

So, was it entirely unfair that Clinton received more popular votes in the 2016 campaign than Donald Trump? Perhaps. But maybe not. Students enrolled in Subdiaz’s class are exploring the mathematics behind our nation’s elections. How do all those individual ballots get counted? Is the count generally accurate?

In Voting MATHers, students are also taking a close view of the Electoral College — a complex system that some folks believe should be disbanded. They’re also looking at alternative voting systems and methods of tallying votes, with an eye on the advantages and disadvantages of some of these vote-counting options.

So far students have discovered that depending on what state someone lives in, their vote can count more than others and vice versa. For example, a candidate could potentially win the electoral college vote while winning only 22 percent of the popular vote in certain states.

This week, for example, students are Continue reading…

Our 82nd Trimester Offers Life-Changing Classes for Students

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As we began our 82nd trimester here at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, we again found our student body proactively participating  — albeit online and at home for now — in a half-dozen classes that are likely to have real-life impacts on our committed and engaged students.

Nearly all of this trimester’s class offerings are explored with an informed lens on what’s occurring across the United States at the present moment. From the Black Likes Matter movement and the upcoming Presidential election, to the health pandemic, students are exploring and learning about the important issues behind peace, social justice, nonviolence, the current and future state of the nation, and one’s own health and wellbeing.

As you’ll read below, this time around, students are looking at nonviolent protests through the works of Nobel Peace winners, as well as the determination of athletes who have opted out of participating in their current season, instead dedicating their efforts to activism.

Finally, below, we introduce three personal growth experiences in which all students are participating. These cover stress, resilience, and staying connected during these most unprecedented and changing times.

Over the next five weeks or so here on the blog, we plan to shine an additional spotlight on five of the classes mentioned below. In the meantime, here’s a short synopsis of what our students are studying and experiencing this trimester at Eagle Rock School:

Voting MATHers: Granted, it’s a clever name for a math class, but Eagle Rock Math Instructional Specialist Stephany Subdiaz is showing students how mathematics plays an important part in our nation’s complex voting system. Stephany’s students are exploring the math behind the ballot box. How are the ballots counted? Why does it matter? How do statistics and demographics affect the outcomes? There’s plenty of math in Voting MATHers.

You Are What You Eat: In this class, students are taking a close look at how Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Welcomes 7 Public Allies Fellows to Our Community for 2020/2021

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Joining us remotely at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center this trimester is a new cohort of Public Allies fellows, each with eyes set on their own personal growth and professional development while learning about and directly supporting alternative approaches to engaging students in their own education.

This cohort is the 18th since Public Allies first came to Eagle Rock in 2002 and will be the first to ever start their fellowship from their homes instead of our campus in Estes Park, Colo. That’s because of the health pandemic and because on campus learning remains paused and remote for the time being.

Each of these five new and two returning Public Allies Fellows are either beginning or continuing a year-long commitment of service within our residential and community-based experiential education program between now and next August.

Funded largely by AmeriCorps, Public Allies is centered around the notion that everyone has the ability to lead, and anyone can be an inspiration to others. Each of our new and returning fellows has already demonstrated a passion for progressive education and social justice, and each has participated in our Fellow Core Training program held Aug. 28 to Sept. 11.

The focus of that training was to support the fellows in preparing to serve students at Eagle Rock by building relationships with the community and getting to know the Eagle Rock way, even as that way forward evolves during the health pandemic. They will now become integrated into the staff team and co-teach or co-counsel with our full-time staff online.

But more about that later. Below, we present a brief overview and some interesting facts about each of these young leaders: Continue reading…