Another Successful Explore Week Draws to a Close

Here at Eagle Rock School, we find ourselves halfway through another highly anticipated Explore Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017). And even though the regular class schedule has been sidelined for the week, our students aren’t ignoring their regular community chores and responsibilities.

Our student body strives to become a well-oiled machine, and our many and varied campus routines are just part of what keeps us accountable on this small mountainside community that we’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain.

After all, we know dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. Which is why we maintain a strict KP schedule during this “off” week from classes. Same goes for daily exercises, taking meals together, regular Gatherings and evening programs.

Turns out the magic of Explore Week is a full five days of exciting course offerings that fall well outside the realm of reading, writing and arithmetic. Below is a description of some of these unique offerings for Explore Week 73 (the 73rd such event since the founding of Eagle Rock in the early-90s), a little about their instructors, and what the students are getting out of the experience:

Step into the Cipher — In this musical adventure, students who fancy themselves as potential emcees, rappers, poets, or beatboxers, get together to make music, test rhymes, and share their talents.

1J8A4671

The title of the class comes from hip-hop, which describes a “cipher” as a sacred space — a circle of talented musical people where community is firmly established. It’s a laboratory where our students can make music, test rhymes, and share a piece of themselves with all who enter. Students are exploring hip-hop as a tool for community building, and they’re writing verses, poems, and hooks to bring their stories to life with sound.

The instructor for this course is Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Latest Explore Week Draws to a Close

Classroom education here at the Eagle Rock School resumes on Monday, Nov. 6, following Explore Week, a brief, five-day period of time during which our students are taking advantage of an opportunity to explore new and diverse subject areas they otherwise might have dismissed or never knew they could study.

img_0208

This is the latest in what has traditionally been a three-times-a-year educational experience that enables students to ‘poke a stick’ at a particular subject matter with which they might not be familiar, but which might appear interesting. If nothing else, these engaging courses — which are taught by subject matter experts who often travel great distances to be with our students for the week — serve as an introduction to future career pursuits or hobbies that can be followed up on by the students themselves going forward.

Not necessarily unique to Eagle Rock (other progressive schools across the country — including Continue reading…

Eagle Rock 70 Classes Underway — And Here’s What’s Being Offered

Classroom instruction began a month ago for the 70th semester of Eagle Rock School, with returning students participating in many of the classes listed below.

JHP_0407

Meanwhile, incoming ER 70 students set off on Sept. 26 for what serves as an initiation process here at Eagle Rock — our signature New Student Wilderness Orientation Program. These new students have since returned from that 24-day experience, and are busily preparing their Wilderness Program presentations of learning (POLs) that will be presented Saturday, Oct. 29.

Other activities on the immediate horizon include Explore Week — which takes place Oct. 31 through Nov.4 — and the beginning of the second half of the trimester beginning Nov. 7. The last day of classes before winter break is Dec. 9.

Below is a partial list of class offerings for the trimester, along with a description of the courses:

Harlem Renaissance

In this class, students are transported back to Harlem, New York between 1919 and 1935, seeing the neighborhood through the eyes of some of the brightest minds of the 20th century. A renaissance is a rebirth, and theirs — preempted by freedom — is expressed through bold colors, strong voices, and passion that launched a culture and was the foundation for the 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…

Eagle Rock Alumni Return to Campus Teach Explore Week

After the first five weeks of classes at Eagle Rock School, students take a break from regular classes and participate in Explore Week — so named because it offers an opportunity for our students to explore outside interests in structured courses taught by guest instructors.

Instructors come to our mountainside campus from all over Colorado and across the country. Past instructors have included previous staff members, fellows, and other important members of the Eagle Rock community. Over the summer trimester, we welcomed back not one, not two, but three alumni: Charmaine Mitchell-Persens (she arrived at Eagle Rock as a student in the spring of 2002 — aka ER 27), Stephanie Sweets-Baldwin (winter 2001 — ER 23), and David Sanchez (winter 2010 — ER 53).

Charmaine and Stephanie were co-teachers for a course called Hair Care, Hair Design and Extension Wear. Of course it was one of the most popular courses during Explore Week and Stephanie and Charmaine were able to encourage self-discipline among the students.

Explore Week Course Eagle Rock School

For instance, students were asked to come prepared, which meant Continue reading…