Eagle Rock Students Embark on Second Batch of Non-traditional Classes

The second half of this trimester at Eagle Rock School is underway this week with students embarking on new classroom experiences ranging from poetry to piano to percussion to prime numbers. This marks the middle of our 73rd trimester since the school was founded in the early 1990s.

The final day of class is Friday, Dec. 8, and Presentations of Learning (POLs) take place on Monday, Dec. 11 and Tuesday, Dec. 12. Ceremonies for those graduating from this trimester will be held on Friday, Dec. 15.

Image 11-8-17 at 3.13 PM

Below is a rundown of the five-week classes offered now through early-December, along with a 10-week class where students are halfway through an intense Spanish language enterprise:

Sacrificial Poets — In this class, fledgling poets are reading, writing, watching and performing spoken-word poetry — all the while exploring their identities, refining their writing and analytical skills, developing performance and public speaking abilities, and building self-confidence.

Students enrolled in this class are traveling off campus to watch nationally renowned poets from the Denver Youth Poetry Team, Minor Disturbance, and poets from around the United States perform in Continue reading…

This ‘Language Class’ Offers More Than Just a Brush Up on Spanish

Five Eagle Rock students are well into a 10-week class that is enabling them to explore their own identities through the lens of political views, human stories and the visible and invisible walls that individuals and nations construct between themselves.

Called Borders & Identity, this class places learning to speak and write Spanish as an objective, with the goal of actively helping build bridges between people and communities as its primary goal. Tied into this class is the concept of “Enduring Understanding,” which is a guiding idea for each of our classes. Also referred to as our “10-year Takeaway,” Enduring Understanding asks us to consider what it is students will remember about this class and their learning in 10 years.

Getting Hands-on with Identity

In order for this class to be truly effective, the students needed to understand that changing the dominant narrative of immigration requires hearing directly from — and taking action with — those affected by our own country’s immigration history and policy. With that in mind, the first five weeks of class saw students diving into the world of migration and identity, creating their own informed perspectives through video and fieldwork, while learning ways to communicate in Spanish through dialogue and poetry.

Eagle Rock School Bordrs and Indentity Class

Student involvement was immediate, with a visit to the El Movimiento Exhibit at the Michener Library on the University of Northern Colorado campus in Greely on the second day of class. There they met to discuss the Chicanx movement in that part of the state with Dr. Priscilla Falcon, the head of the university’s Hispanic Studies Program.

They also visited the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Learn How to Run a Nature-based Summer Camp

Several Eagle Rock School students had the opportunity to work with children in the nearby Estes Park community this past summer where they learned how to successfully run a nature-based summer program.

Our four fledgling camp counselors / para-administrators had a lot to learn. The month-long Eagle Rock School class (the Roots Summer Camp Internship) entailed so much more than just keeping a watchful eye on enthusiastic youngsters. Budgeting, marketing, and child development were just a few of the skills taught to our students as they mentored and managed sometimes as many as 16 children enrolled in Roots Nature Camp, offered by Estes Park-based Roots Community School.

Roots Community School

Fact is, Eagle Rock students who applied for the summer class first had to undergo a series of interviews and tests before being accepted into the program. For starters, students had to demonstrate a strong desire to Continue reading…

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…

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…