Doing Nothing on Thanksgiving is Not an Option at Eagle Rock School

One thing you can’t say about Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock School is that there’s nothing to do. This is one of those times of the year when students, staff and instructors are in accord that this mountainside campus of ours is indeed a great place to spend late-November holidays.

And, much like the name of the holiday, there’s plenty of gratitude to go around as our community prepares for literally dozens of events and activities over a four-day period. It’s a time when we all gather together to celebrate how fortunate we are to live in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by forests that a lot of us like to call home.

Thanksgiving Day 'Gathering' at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center

Thanksgiving Day ‘Gathering’ at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center

Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock is about celebrating the importance of having each other and remembering that we are all here to better ourselves. It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve done to improve ourselves and what we’ve done to help others. It’s a celebration of how we have impacted each other’s lives in a positive way and to celebrate those successes.

Whether we’re indoors creating art or standing outside in the cold playing touch football, the idea is to spend time together.

The highlight of the holiday, of course, is today’s Thanksgiving Day dinner at 3pm, skillfully prepared by Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Now Equipped with FUSE Studio

If you were to ask a group of high school students to raise their hands if they were interested in, or thought they were good at math or science, recent statistics claim that few of those students would be excitedly waving their arms and shouting, “Me! Me!”

That’s because, when it comes to mathematics and the sciences, American teen-agers rank at about midpoint — and behind many advanced industrial nations — when faced with such things as chemistry flasks and quadratic formulas.

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In fact, results from the most recent PISA testing (Programme for International Student Assessment) place America’s high schoolers in 38th place out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. U.S. students ranked 30th in math and 19th in science among the 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So you can understand our excitement at being selected to partner with Northwestern University to bring a FUSE laboratory to our campus. As part of its NextUp initiative to interest teens in tech careers, CompTIA has partnered with FUSE at Northwestern University in a program that is equipping 21 schools in nine states with Continue reading…

Artist in Residence Highlights Summer 2017 Explore Week

As if a selection of diverse and interesting courses weren’t enough, we’re adding Scott James to our Explore Week mix this time around, which means this poet and artist is on campus and meeting with students all week long.

As our official “Artist in Residence,” during Explore Week, Scott is in the midst, on the periphery and face-to-face with students every day this week. In fact, during most lunch and dinner hours, he’s poised over his vintage typewriter, ready for a good poetic challenge. The deal is, any Eagle Rock School student can walk up to Scott and offer a word — any word — for inspiration and Scott will write an original poem around that word. In fact, that’s pretty much his specialty, and a few years ago he churned out and gave away more than 1,000 such impromptu poems.

An Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellow in ER 40-42 (that would be the 40th through 42nd semesters since Eagle Rock’s founding in the 1990s), Scott currently resides in Austin, Tex., where he performs his instant typewriter poetry for events and parties, and helps writers turn their ideas into published books. His tools of trade include a 1946 Smith-Corona and he uses high-quality and handcrafted papers and techniques in his art that blend improvisation, metaphor and classic poetry.

Scott’s artistic career has included performance around the country, including Chris Guillebau’s World Domination Summit and Austin’s SxSW Interactive festival. And during Explore Week, this poet is available for one-on-one sessions with students. He’s also sitting in on several courses and conducting four workshops.

Meanwhile, for the students themselves, they’re all participating in one of the following course offerings: Continue reading…

This Eagle Rock Mom is Celebrating Mother’s Day With 15 of Her Kids

With my fourth Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, I find myself grateful for the experience of having my own child and family. Every day is both a blessing and a challenge. Cleaning up messes, receiving sticky kisses, disciplining a small child, and cuddling during family movies are all a part of my daily routine.

Frequently, I’m late to events with friends because of “one more kiss,” and all too often I show up at work with a messy up-do and only mascara on my face because that’s all the time I had to get ready after rushing my family out the door.

When our son was just six months old, Philbert Smith, Eagle Rock’s now-retired Director of Students, sat down with Kevin and I to discuss the possibility of becoming the next houseparents for Pinon House. Having no clue of what raising a child would entail, and having no point of reference for the challenges we would face, we nevertheless eagerly accepted the opportunity.

Anastacia Galloway Reed

Imagine yourself with your own six-month-old. They aren’t really crawling yet and they definitely aren’t talking. They have some pretty basic needs — requirements that often occur in the middle of the night — that once again disrupt your sleep schedule.

That’s fine because you can always go to sleep early the next night and catch up, right? Okay, take this scenario and insert 14 teenagers into the equation. Sounds disastrous, doesn’t it? But here’s the thing. The love you give your Continue reading…

Understanding Eagle Rock School’s 10 Commitments

Editor’s Note (by Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack, Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructor): We place much emphasis on values here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and these fundamentals are centered on what we call “Eight Plus Five Equals Ten.” These values include the eight themes, the five expectations, and the 10 commitments. The eight themes ensure we stay true to our school’s essence and mission, and the five expectations create the framework for our academic classes. It’s the 10 commitments that we explore in this post — the values our students strive to internalize and live by. In fact, this post is an exploration of the 10 commitments by students who first arrived at Eagle Rock in late-January of 2017 (officially known as ER 70). These students conducted interviews with staff and peers to gather different perspectives on the meaning of the commitments, and created a short video showing each of the 10 Commitments in action. Below the video, which appears next, is their take on each of these values, along with a graphical display of each one.

 

Commitment One — Live in respectful harmony with people of all races, cultures, religions, genders and sexual identities, some of whom will have disabilities or different learning styles:

“In this commitment, I learned a variety of things. Conducting interviews and trying to understand others’ interviews lead me to believe that living in respectful harmony is something the majority of people desire. Here at Eagle Rock School we try to understand each other and respect each other’s morals and values. Although we still have room to grow, I think our community is doing pretty well. We should hold each other accountable and hold each other to higher expectations. And we are expected to understand each other’s boundaries. These are things that can be useful to us in the future. To me it means that you dedicate yourself to something that benefits you and others in order to live in respectful harmony. “ — Xycelline Serafin

1 Priscilla Poster

“I too chose this commitment because I think it is important for the community and for myself to feel understood and feel comfortable being who you are without being judged. I believe that being who you are shouldn’t affect the way people treat you and that everyone should have compassion for each other’s mistakes.  I found this commitment to be important because it can make a huge impact on the community if we start living by it. This commitment is also another way to begin respecting other people, no matter the race, sexual identity, background, or age difference. Living in respectful harmony plays out in the Eagle Rock School community when it comes to gatherings and other activities in the community.”  — Priscilla Ramirez Perez

Commitment Two — Develop my mind through intellectual discipline, my body through physical fitness, and my spirit through thoughtful contemplation:

“In order for me to really get an idea of what this commitment means, I had to interview some fellow Eagle Rock School students and staff. This commitment honestly is my absolute favorite, and I’m so glad it’s something we have to follow because we only have Continue reading…