Classroom Culture Works When Teachers and Students Construct Norms

Every other Wednesday, our Eagle Rock School instructional team convenes for a professional development session that revolves around a predetermined annual theme. The theme this year is classroom culture, which rests on the notion that effective teaching and learning best take place in a healthy classroom culture built on high support and high expectations.

Among the founding principles of our organization is the simple idea we are all in this together, and it takes everyone — staff and students alike — all pulling the oars in the same direction to make a place as unique as the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center truly work. However, in order to effectively pull those paddles, there needs to be a solid foundation of trust and acceptance. We believe this foundation inside the classroom is built on classroom norms, which have a decisive impact on culture.

School Reform

Educational researchers Robert and Kana Marzano explain this foundation in their article entitled The Key to Classroom Management (PDF file). They write, “Research has shown us that teachers’ actions in their classrooms have twice the impact on student achievement as do school policies regarding curriculum, assessment, staff collegiality and community involvement.”

We couldn’t agree more! Healthy classrooms help teachers react to Continue reading…

Spring Break at Eagle Rock School is Worktime for Many Eagle Rockers

Eagle Rock School’s 71st trimester officially ended last week, with students from all points of the compass heading home for a well-deserved break. Same goes for many staff and instructional specialists — many are welcoming a short break afforded by the trimester cycle. But as you’ll see from reading on, not all who call Eagle Rock home are on break.

Eagle Rock School

Staff that are on break return to campus on Monday, May 8, followed by veteran students who come back on Sunday, May 14, to participate in some All School activities and house retreats before classes start on Monday, May 22.

Eagle Rock’s new students — the incoming group we’ll refer to as ER 72 — arrive on Saturday, May 20, just in time for a week of being on campus before heading out for their Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Sendoff for Our 7 Latest Graduates is This Friday

As ER 71 ends, our latest group of Eagle Rock School graduates — seven this time around — will depart our campus one last time amidst a thoughtful display deserving of such an achievement. And it all begins at 4pm MT this Friday, April 14, in our Human Performance Center.

Marking the 71st trimester since Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s founding back in the early 1990s, this latest trimester graduation ceremony will be broadcasted live, online, via our Ustream / IBM Cloud Video channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-rock-school-graduation.

Eagle Rock School Spring 2017 Graduates

As you may imagine of students who are now fully engaged in their own education, lives, and communities, our seven graduates have big plans in mind for the immediate future. Those objectives, along with their Eagle Rock School-related accomplishments and advice for incoming students, are outlined below.

Albert Molina (arrived at the beginning of ER 61) — Albert arrived at Eagle Rock in September of 2013 from Los Angeles. Most recently a member of Aspen House, he lived in two other houses during his time here. Over the past 10 trimesters, Albert has been involved in Mag 7 (a campus group featuring Eagle Rock’s seven most veteran students that focuses on various leadership roles and opportunities), and was instrumental in starting a debate group where students and staff practice their rhetoric to persuade others to take their view on specific topics.

Albert plans to participate on an upcoming National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) wilderness trip, and then earn a real estate license while simultaneously working on a college-level degree in business. His plan calls for shadowing a mentor in the field to gain experience on what it means to be a real estate agent. His long-term objectives include investing in the stock market with the intent of owning his own company with another investor.

One piece of advice Albert offers incoming students is to Continue reading…

Food for Thought: Chemistry Students Host Flavor Fest

Talk about creative curriculum. Our Science Instructional Specialist, Sara Benge, came up with a 10-week Chemistry of Cooking class that recently culminated in the First Annual Formulas & Food Fair — a hands-on event where students and staff had the opportunity to taste the “lab results.”

As usual, we’ve added a twist to your run of the mill chemistry class by focusing on the chemical changes that occur in food molecules during fermentation, baking and emulsification — not to mention the Maillard Reaction. As a result, our chemistry students learned how to identify and describe the features of atoms and molecular structures in specific food items, such as a glucose molecule that happens to be found in a number of carbohydrate and sugar-based foods.

Plenty of experimentation went into these chemistry lessons, with our “chem chefs” creating their own cooking recipes, observing changes in flavors, textures and the appearance of the food, and applying their knowledge of basic chemistry concepts in order to explain why they did or did not achieve a specific result.

The Food Fair was held on a recent afternoon with students in the class each preparing a Continue reading…

Classroom Teamwork Culminates in This Weekend’s ‘Songs’ Musical

For the past couple of trimesters our performance class has been working on the musical, Songs for A New World, which centers on how the choices you make in your life affect your future.

This contemporary song cycle production by Jason Robert Brown is being staged this weekend at the Walter G Ruesch Auditorium at the YMCA of the Rockies (please see the end of today’s post for remaining dates and times).

(Photo Credit: ©2017 - Barb Boyer Buck / for the Trail-Gazette)

(Photo Credit: ©2017 – Barb Boyer Buck / for the Trail-Gazette)

Participating Eagle Rock students auditioned for parts in this musical last trimester and have been rehearsing for more than 10 weeks, with performers practicing on stage both morning and night for the first five weeks. Students worked daily on basic acting and singing techniques.

And regardless of each student’s skill level or experience, all cast members received the Continue reading…