EagleServe: Helping Others in Order to Help Ourselves

Even a cursory glance the Eagle Rock mission and philosophy gives the casual observer the indication that Service with a capital “S” is of primary importance to what takes place here at the Eagle Rock School. We want to develop future leaders who will use their education to change the world — for the better.

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And nothing better illustrates this than our two-day EagleServe events, which are scheduled each trimester like clockwork with the intended goal of serving the Eagle Rock community, as well as the nearby community of Estes Park and the greater Estes Valley.

These are well-planned events where students and staff join up with members of the community, working side by side in the planning, creating and implementing of a variety of projects.

We think it’s vitally important for our veteran students to reconnect with the community and for our newer students to become familiar with our neighbors by stepping outside of themselves to help a variety of people. We choose to incorporate staff into EagleServe — not as supervisors, but to take part in a shared experience with the students.

And that experience, of course, is serving others. We like the oxymoron that you can best help yourself by Continue reading…

Sustainable Solutions in Education Supported by our Professional Development Center

At Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, staff and students alike share in the principles of positive growth and addressing the greater good.

And while Eagle Rock’s backdrop is beautiful Estes Park in Colorado, our Professional Development Center team travels throughout the United States, engaging in the improvement of other learning institutions through consulting and coaching. This spring, that “greater good” took our PDC staffers to Albuquerque, N.M., where they worked with three new charter high schools — all part of the New Mexico Center for School Leadership — and all at various points in their development.

The New Mexico Center for School Leadership currently consists of three leadership high schools:

The center, founded by Tony Monfiletto, is dedicated to the premise that “learning by doing, positive youth development and the highest level of private industry collaboration, results in schools that can dramatically improve the graduation rates in our (their) community.”

As the New Mexico Center for School Leadership grows, we provide guidance and support through professional development, aiding in teacher learning, community development, metric development and any number of other projects.

Participants discussion designing new metrics.

Participants discuss designing new metrics.

At Health Leadership High School, where our focus is on aiding teacher learning, our Professional Development Team recently engaged staff in a session on improving group-work in the classroom. Dan Condon, associate director of professional development, engaged teachers through Continue reading…

There’s Life After Eagle Rock For Public Allies Fellows

It’s not just our students who have to come up with a plan for “Life After Eagle Rock.” Consider the plight of our Public Allies fellows, who must face this challenge each and every summer as their year-long commitment to Eagle Rock comes to a close.

Which brings us to a trio of our fellows who have discovered different ways of extending their work in education next fall.

Eagle Rock's 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Eagle Rock’s 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Clay Elkin, our current Math Fellow, came to Eagle Rock with experience in a variety of educational settings. By the end of last summer, Clay had served as a high school lacrosse coach, a raft guide at a Boy Scout camp, and a classroom assistant at High Tech High — a renowned project-based learning school in San Diego, California. He spent this past year teaching math at Eagle Rock, with topics ranging from “Feeling Lucky” to “The Physics of Mountain Biking.”

Next year, Clay will continue his work in experiential education as a 9th-12th grade math teacher and “crew leader” at Rocky Mountain School for Expeditionary Learning in Denver.

Clay was attracted to the Denver offer because it provides him with another opportunity to Continue reading…

Collaborating on Collaboration and Professional Development

The word “collaboration” can often have a messy connotation. To some, that five-syllable word is associated with confusion. It can be loud, unstructured, overcrowded, and things rarely resolve perfectly when collaboration is involved.

That having been said, collaboration is also a core value of teachers at Voyager Academy High School. We not only require it of our students, but we practice it professionally.

At our campus in Durham, N.C., teachers work in Critical Friends groups twice a week to share ideas, debrief projects and lessons, discuss pedagogy and encourage cross-curricular teaching.

But just having these collaborative groups in place doesn’t mean they always work as well as we want. And even when they do, it doesn’t mean we always get the results in the classroom that we desire. The values are there, and the system is in place, but — as is often the case — more needs to be done.

As such, we brought a team of five teachers to Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center with the goal of improving our Critical Friends groups. Of course, we knew that was our goal, but that didn’t mean that we were able to articulate that to anyone else. And the irony did not escape us that we needed outside collaboration to help us realize that our goal of providing more effective collaboration. Eagle Rock gave us the place and the people necessary to achieve that goal.

voyager academy at eagle rock

Simply getting off our campus and isolating ourselves in the school was a start. A change of venue, a library of professional development resources, and quite frankly, a gorgeous Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Put Their Focus on Wildlife Firefighting Tactics

Visit the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) website and you’ll learn that the vitality of the forests in the Park depends on fire. According to the National Park Service (NPS), fire removes the thick layer of decaying vegetation on the forest floor, while at the same time creates a mosaic of different types and ages of forest vegetation that improves habitat and increases the diversity and abundance of wildlife.

And when it comes to developing skills as a wildland firefighter, Eagle Rock’s campus setting within wilderness — just minutes away from the boundaries of RMNP — is a definite plus for students interested in learning more about a career in forestry management.

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That’s why we joined forces and created a program with the Continental Divide Research Learning Center (CDRLC) and the Alpine Interagency Hotshot Crew  (AIHC) — so our students can gain an intimate knowledge of a neighboring world-renown national park as well as those who work within the National Park Service to combat and manage forest fires. As a result, select Eagle Rock students not only have the opportunity to call RMNP their classroom, they’re also be able to learn from and quiz national park employees, exploring the options the park service might have to offer post-Eagle Rock.

Logistically speaking, students enrolled in the class spend Continue reading…