Meet The Team: Interim Science Instructional Specialist — Sara Benge

Many staff and students around our campus call her Science Sara. She is the science instructional specialist and a house parent for Aspen House. Sara Benge has invested years in teaching and working with youth, including a stint in the Peace Corps in rural Morocco, teaching ESL at Horizon Science Academy in Columbus, Ohio.

She then taught science at a nature center in New Hampshire. In addition, Sara has led international service and adventure trips for high school students with The Road Less Traveled.


Below, we quiz this science wiz on her life before Eagle Rock, her objectives here and some other fun trivial factoids: Continue reading…

Strategic Plan Update: Mission-driven Operations

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is the sixth in a series of updates in which we concentrate on segments Eagle Rock School’s strategic plan, known as Vision 2020. Entitled “Mission-driven Operations,” this sixth of the plan’s seven domains that we’re reporting on today explores efforts to attend to our physical location — the Eagle Rock Campus — in Estes Park, Colo. This post, authored by head of school Jeff Liddle, describes the original conception and construction of our campus in the early 1990s, what has been improved to date, and future projects that are foreseen under our master plan. For an overview of the entire strategic plan, please see News From The Rock: Vision 2020.

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Strategic Plan Update: Mission-driven Operations

By Jeff Liddle, head of School

Environmental psychologists describe sense of place as the specific experience of a specific person in a specific environment. Feelings of joy while walking through a mountain community, or feelings of gratitude while watching students learn and play are two examples that come to mind. Along the same lines, a spirit of space is what gives some locales a particular feel or personality, like a childhood home or a favorite backcountry campsite.

With the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, the American Honda Co. had a vision of an expansive campus situated in a mountainside setting, centered around a lodge, where meals are shared, classes are taught, and a highly specific mission is pursued in a thriving atmosphere where up to 100 students and 30 staff members reside.


Once our 640-acre campus was acquired, the master plan called for an accessible, site-integrated, walkable, environmentally friendly community. This was accomplished by developing a minimum of physical structures, thus maximizing the pristine setting. It meant installing passive solar systems, photovoltaics and high insulation. Material selection was based on Continue reading…

Fall 2016 Professional Development Center Update

Editor’s Note: Sebastian Franco, the 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development, is the latest guest author to contribute to the Eagle Rock Blog. Sebastian hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, by way of Los Angeles, Calif. He recently graduated from Colorado State University with a double degree in political science and international studies and a minor in Spanish. As one of his first opportunities in the PDC (Professional Development Center), Sebastian gathered the information for and wrote today’s Eagle Rock blog post.

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Fall 2016 Professional Development Center Update
By Sebastian Franco — 2016/17 Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development

This year I have the opportunity to be part of the Public Allies Fellowship program working with the Professional Development Center (PDC) and the rest of the team here at Eagle Rock.

Having the opportunity to work with the PDC team allows me to understand further the education system around the country and how we can try to provide resources and chances to improve the quality of education our future generation of students will receive. This is something that I’ve been interested in since my sophomore year at Colorado State University. That’s where I started researching and learning the various styles or professional development employed by education systems around the world.

By being part of Public Allies 2016/17 cohort of Eagle Rock fellows, I have the opportunity to learn more about this interest of mine through events, trips, and connections I will experience throughout the next year. This opportunity will enable me to connect with various professionals in the field and learn first-hand what is needed by the education community. One of my first experiences will be a trip to the Ohio Valley, which encompasses portions of Ohio and West Virginia.

The structure of this trip is, of course, new to me, but it turns out this is only the second time in three years that the entire PDC team is traveling together to an event. The idea is to provide an opportunity for each member of the team to experience and see each other’s style of communication and interactions with the community and sponsors.

Throughout the year, each member of the PDC team manages a “portfolio” of clients around the country, creating limited opportunities to travel together as a team. This also allows myself, as the novice PDC fellow, a chance to observe everyone’s approach and style and have a better understanding of what my responsibilities will entail for the remainder of my fellowship.

Estes Park Colorado Trees Fall 2016

Although the Ohio Valley trip is an exciting rarity, there are many other events scheduled throughout the current trimester, most of which are listed below. If you want to learn more about the work we do at Eagle Rock, or how your school or organization can connect with the PDC, contact Dan Condon (associate director of professional development) by emailing DCondon at EagleRockSchool dot org.

In the meantime, below is a detailed rundown of our Fall 2016 engagements: Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Josán Perales, Eagle Rock’s World Languages Instructional Specialist

It’s true that Josán Perales — our team member in the spotlight this month — was born in Zaragosa, Spain, the child of parents of Spanish and Puerto Rican descent. However, Josan spent most of his formative years in New Mexico.

So when asked about his heritage, he quips that he’s probably New Mexican. Or New Mexirican to encompass his American heritage. Or New Mexiricanol to also incorporate his Spanish birth.


Whatever his nationality, at points in his life, Josan has hung his hat in Spain, Britain, California, and, of course, New Mexico. Now he’s our world languages instructional specialist and a Colorado resident. We asked this world citizen to tell us a little about his life and his thoughts about Eagle Rock School:

Eagle Rock: Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Josan Perales: I graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., in 2002, earning my Bachelor of Arts and majoring in Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Alums Reflect on their Presentations of Learning

Among the things we’re proudest of at Eagle Rock School are our thrice-annual Presentations of Learning (POLs), during which our students present a self-appraisal of their educational progress during the previous trimester. And they do so each time before a live audience of teachers, administrators, notables and community members interested in alternatives to educational assessment.

This “rite of passage” gives students the chance to show what they’ve learned in the preceding months — a sort of show and tell for learning and academic progress. (Note: If you’d like to learn more about POLs, please read: Understanding Eagle Rock’s Presentations Of Learning.)

Presentation of Learning

Presentation of Learning

With that in mind, what we’re presenting below are the thoughtful memories and experiences of 15 Eagle Rock School graduates who, over their time here, presented their share of POLs. Some of these recollections provide insight into the process and others describe the life-changing effects such sessions have had on these grads lives since their departure from Eagle Rock.

We’re delighted and proud to hear from these former students, and we’re impressed with their take on POLs: Continue reading…