Eagle Rock’s Fall 2017 Classes Are Informative and Interesting

The summer of 2017 is history, and for new and returning Eagle Rock School students, it’s the beginning of a fresh trimester — the 73rd since our founding in the early 1990s. And as reliable as the season’s change is here in the Rocky Mountains, so to comes the promise of a progressive lineup of class offerings tailor-made for our diverse student body. Take mathematics for example. Your typical high school curriculum lists class offerings in spades, ranging from Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2, to Pre-Calculus and Calculus.

But how does this sound as a more engaging alternative: The mathematics of casino gambling? We’ve got that class already underway for those who like to have fun with their numbers while learning.

Or how about chemistry? Most high schools feature classes that entail a lot of memorization, periodic tables, and some lab work. Unless it’s a class about the chemical changes that take place when preparing a meal. Now we’re really cooking. And the “final exam” for that class revolves around a student-hosted food fair.

Classes at Eagle Rock School

Below are descriptions of a number of class topics offered this trimester — most of them unique and all of them designed from the ground up to be both interesting and engaging:

Borders & Identity: In this class, students are exploring their own identity through the lens of the U.S.-Mexican border and the human stories, learning and reflecting on the visible and invisible borders we each confront every day. Learning Spanish is a goal, in order to build bridges between people and community, and compare, contrast and write from multiple points of view. During the first five weeks, participants are diving into the world of migration and identity, formulating their own informed perspectives through video and field work — all the while communicating in Spanish. During the second five weeks, they will continue to explore borders and identity and develop a culminating action-project that propose solutions to the immigration and border debate.

Chemistry of Cooking: In this unique chemistry class, students are studying the chemical changes that food undergoes when it is Continue reading…

Fall 2017 Update from the Professional Development Center

Editor’s Note: Often traveling by themselves and sometimes as a team, Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center (PDC) staff works with educators and school administrators across the country with the goal in mind of ensuring high school becomes an engaging experience for youth.

We see all high schools as having the potential of being high-functioning centers of learning that are fueled by engagement. For more than two decades, we have facilitated school improvement and supported practices that foster each student’s unique potential, thus stimulating their minds, through the engagements we’ve facilitated under the work of our PDC.

Below is a list of what we’re working on this fall as our staff facilitates, convenes, supports, and participates with local schools spanning both coasts.

This schedule was compiled with support from Sebastian Franco, Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellow in Professional Development. The calendar is just a small illustration of what Eagle Rock does on a national scale, offering schools and communities of practice the tools necessary to develop their own youth engagement initiatives:

SEPTEMBER                                                                                       

Sept. 11

Toronto_HS

Toronto High School, Ohio Valley, Ohio — Toronto High School, part of the Toronto City Schools, is one of the newest facilities in eastern Ohio providing various enrichment opportunities for students. These include Destination Imagination (a program that teaches students the creative process and empowers them with the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing world), science fairs, debate team, among others. The school also offers more than 30 semester hours of college credit as they prepare students for post-secondary education. Professional Development Associate Anastacia Galloway Reed revisited this school as it continues collaboration on implementing the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework.

Sept. 11 — 12… Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Wilderness Documentary Film ‘All Who Dare’ Debuts Sept 28 in Estes Park

Each year just like clockwork, Colorado’s blue skies offer its citizens a front-row view of the migration of wild geese — those long-necked waterfowl heading south in pursuit of sufficient grains, sunshine and open water to wait out the winter. Also like clockwork, each trimester at Eagle Rock School finds its incoming cohort departing on a 24-day orientation program to a remote wilderness area, each location placing them in an unfamiliar landscape with other new students who must rely on each other to complete two dozen adventurous and often emotion-filled days on the trail.

It’s a rite of passage for these new students, who have just arrived at our school that features an unconventional approach to education — a system that for decades has provided hope for young people striving to turn their lives around by engaging themselves in their own education.

A new hour-long documentary film called “All Who Dare” records the incredible experience that recently took place within the Lost Creek Wilderness area of Colorado. The documentary “stars” include nine incoming Eagle Rock students, accompanied by our school’s accomplished wilderness instructors.

AWD_RGB_IG1

Supported by the American Honda Motor Co., the film premiers at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 at the Stanley Hotel, 333 E. Wonderview Ave., in Estes Park. And while tickets are free, they must be reserved in advance (by Sept. 26) by visiting http://allwhodare.eventbrite.com.

Additional screenings of the documentary will be held around the country, and those interested should check back for updates regarding “All Who Dare” regional screenings by visiting www.AllWhoDare.com

The nine students featured in the film all arrived at Eagle Rock’s mountainside campus on May 14, 2016, as part of the incoming group of students known as ER 69 (for Eagle Rock’s 69th incoming class since our founding in the early-90s).

As the film begins, these teens look into the camera and tell the interviewer about their battles with Continue reading…

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.

ER_SchoolFoundry_Large

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…

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…