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…

Experiential Education Highlights Latest Eagle Rock School Class Offerings

For those of us who are fortunate to make Eagle Rock School a daily experience, we’re well into our 72nd trimester, which means our students are participating in a mixed brew of classes not often found in traditional high schools.

As has been the since the early 1990s, Eagle Rock’s curriculum offers its student body a selection of subjects from which to choose — most of them far removed from the reading, writing and arithmetic formulas often employed by schools that can curtail the creative juices that prompt students to want to learn. In fact, here at Eagle Rock, we tout ourselves as a “leader in the nationwide effort to re-engage youth in their own education.”

(Image ©2017 Mohammad Thabata)

(Image ©2017 Mohammad Thabata)

The emphasis is on “their own education,” which means our students are taking classes that will serve them well into the future, which may include as college students, employees, entrepreneurs, guardians of the environment, or just good citizens engaged in their own communities.

Here then is our second offering of unique and non-traditional classes currently being tackled by our 15- to 18-year olds:

Psych Rocks: In this class, students are exploring the perception of challenge, risk, and fear through the lens of adventure activity. The idea is to get the students to step outside their comfort zone. Designed to challenge students mentally, physically and emotionally, the Eagle Rockers enrolled in this class are learning the Continue reading…

From Flying Physics to Dragon Flies: Latest Classes Are Underway

Fresh off our spring break, Eagle Rock School has begun ER 72, which is the 72nd trimester since the school was founded back in the early 1990s. And that means a new offering of nontraditional class is on the schedule for our students.

Enter_To-Learn

For certain there are traditional classroom topics covering everything from English to mathematics, but Eagle Rock has always marched to the beat of a different curriculum, and ER 72 is no different.

For instance, some might consider the topic of physics as rather dry and droll. Not so much when you add roller coasters to the equation. In Physics of Roller Coasters, which you can read about below, our students will learn the physics of roller coasters and build their own Screaming Terror (that’s right, students get to name their rides, too).

Other offerings this trimester include a class called Rethinking Pop Media Culture, another called Dragon Fly Citizen Science — which does not entail giant mutant insects — and a class exploring the classic 1950s stage play, “A Raisin in the Sun.”

Below are class topics and a brief explanation of what it is our students are undertaking in this new trimester: Continue reading…