School Foundry Incubator Launches with Eagle Rock’s Support

The situation at many of the nation’s secondary schools and school districts can be compared to purchasing a home in an older neighborhood. Sometimes all that is needed to make the space appropriate and usable is a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. In other instances, faulty infrastructure of the home requires tearing it down to the studs and starting from scratch.

The same decisions hold true in the case of school improvement. In many cases, school districts are preparing the next generation of school leaders to run learning institutions that aren’t serving the unique and evolving needs of our nation’s students.

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Instead of putting the emphasis on the creation of innovative new schools or redesigning existing school systems, many educational leadership programs use the band-aid approach, focusing training on what’s generally observed as the status quo while doing little to improve professional development of school teachers and the administrators who support them.

Enter the Puget Sound Consortium for School Innovation (an initiative of Big Picture Learning), along with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center. Our two organizations have joined forces to shake things up. Together, we believe that — much like a dilapidated ranch-style home — the nation’s education system should be revamped. What’s needed is a complete facelift, if you will, along with a deep dive to understand what is chronically failing our children in every region of the country.

Jeff Petty, the consortium’s director, and his colleagues are hard at work addressing two related problems: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Poets Net Last-minute Spot in National Poetry Slam

The name of the class was Poetic Justice, and the Eagle Rock School students enrolled last trimester received a little poetic justice of their own earlier this year by snaring a position in a big-time poetry slam in San Francisco.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a poetry slam is a competition at which poets recite or read original work. Poetry slamming began in Chicago in the mid-80’s when performance poet Marc Kelly Smith began experimenting with open mic night and venues for poetry readings by making them competitive.

My students knew it was a long shot when we applied for a slot in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, which was held last month in San Francisco. After all, we’d never performed or participated in slams outside Colorado’s Front Range. On top of that, we’re a fairly small school, and we’re new to big-time spoken-word poetry competition.

(Photo ©2017 Daniel Schaefer of Outlier Imagery)

(Photo ©2017 Daniel Schaefer of Outlier Imagery)

Nevertheless, we applied to participate, and the festival’s powers-that-be graciously placed us on a waiting list. Then at the last moment, our school was pulled off the wait list and we were welcomed to participate into the four-day mid-July festival.

Student Engagement Through Spoken-word Poetry

This was indeed a highlight for a classroom of students who — on a daily basis — express their passion for poetry by reading, writing, viewing and performing all things related to spoken-word composition. In conjunction with what they are learning, our students also explored their own Continue reading…

Summer Break 2017 at Eagle Rock School

To paraphrase the American nonfiction writer Charles Bowden, summertime at Eagle Rock offers the best of what might be.

For new students who arrived in early-June, it’s the beginning of a new high school experience and the wilderness orientation trip that accompanies it. For our Public Allies fellows, it’s the end of an advanced year-long service and leadership development experience. And of course, summer signals the graduation of another group of Eagle Rock School students.

(Image ©2017 Joven Nichols)

(Image ©2017 Joven Nichols)

The summer months on our mountainside campus never fail to impress upon us some of the values we hold so dear — namely, that we choose to focus on continuous improvement and that we are a small organization with an outsized impact.

Along those lines, summer break at Eagle Rock School offers time for some staff, instructors, and administrators to regroup by focusing on Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Graduates ‘Lucky 7’ This Friday — Onstage and Online

Working on a trimester system, ours is an alternative and non-traditional school that works hard to recognizes the accomplishments of graduating students who have gone through all the requirements needed to earn their high school diplomas.

As our current trimester draws to a close, we are proud to announce that seven students have proved to the Eagle Rock community that they deserve to be up on our Human Performance Center stage — in front of their peers, families, instructors and staff — in order to receive their high school diplomas.

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Marking the 72nd trimester since our founding back in the early 1990s, our latest trimester graduation ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Mountain Time this Friday and will be broadcast live on Facebook. If you want to watch this momentous event, visit the following Facebook Page starting at around 3:55pm MT Friday — https://www.facebook.com/EagleRockSchool — and look for the post containing the live video.

Below is a short biography about each of the seven graduates, along with info on what they did while at Eagle Rock, their short and long-term goals, along with advice for current and incoming Eagle Rock School students.

Courtney Coleman (arrived at Eagle Rock in May of 2015) — Courtney hails from Harlem, N.Y., and is a proud member of the Ponderosa House. She has been one of the leaders on campus these past few trimesters as she taken on lead positions in several campus groups and organizations.

Some of  her involvements included being a member of Mag 7 (a campus group featuring Eagle Rock’s seven most veteran students that focuses on various leadership roles and opportunities); helping lead our Continue reading…

Princeton Intern Gaining an Education on Education at Eagle Rock School

Editor’s Note: Karina Aguilar Guerrero, who was born in Mexicali, Mexico, and raised in Southern California, is a Princeton University junior who is interning with us for the summer as part of Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS). This program, built on the notion that community service is essential to the welfare of society, has seen more than 800 Princeton Univ. undergraduates participate since its inception. With nearly a dozen or so of them having interned at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center since our founding in the early 1990s, we’re well aware of the impact this unique civic services experience has on the university’s future alumni. Below, Karina, who currently studies Public Policy and Education, tells us about her experiences at Eagle Rock to date.

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By Karina Aguilar Guerrero

Personally, education has always been one of my greatest passions. Growing up, I was always told that education was the great equalizer — a way out of poverty. However, last semester, I took a class on education reform and realized that there’s another side to that story.

There are many factors that affect what happens in the classroom, including life at home, economic situations, learning styles, a support system, school funding, types of teachers and teaching styles — the list goes on. I realized that in order for students to be successful, we have to talk about what happens in the classroom and what takes place outside the classroom.

Karina Aguilar Guerrero

Princeton Univ. undergrad Karina Aguilar Guerrero (3rd from left) with Eagle Rock School students from Pinon House.

When I heard about Eagle Rock’s mission and structure, I was immediately drawn to it. I thought it was incredible that Eagle Rock didn’t worry about Continue reading…