Community offers Eagle Rock’s Free Store the Coat Off its Back

Estes Park community members have always been big supporters of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and an excellent example of that local love came near the end of last year. That’s when a group of community members began making regular donations toward what would become our organization’s Free Store.

Located in our on-campus Lodge, the Free Store became fully functional at the end of 2018, and today displays unused garments, school supplies, toiletries, and other day-to-day items that can be used by our students and others in the Eagle Rock community.

Instead of driving these items to thrift stores in town, community members save up a few bags of clothing and other items, then deliver them to our mountainside campus to be displayed in the Free Store. And don’t think for a moment these hundreds of items are just strewn around an upstairs open space. In order to make Free Store items appealing for students and staff, volunteers separate them in order to determine which are appropriate to display, which can be offered to thrift stores, and which are most suitable for recycling. This process includes a detailed inspection. For example, with the apparel we receive, volunteers inspect each item to assess cleanliness and even wearability and durability for our sometimes harsh-weather environment here in Estes Park.

The Free Store is arranged categorically, with racks full of options for Continue reading…

Not Everyone Catches a ‘Break’ During Eagle Rock School’s Trimester Break

Once again, we find ourselves between educational sessions as our 77th trimester draws to a close and ER-78 stands in line for its debut next month. It is during this trimester break that our instructors take a break from the classroom, and students enjoy a well-deserved vacation from independent studies, nontraditional classes, leadership responsibilities, and duties as stewards of the Eagle Rock community and our natural environments.

Last Friday, we celebrated the graduation of four students during a ceremony held here on out mountainside campus. Those grads include Alethea Auguste, Mohammad Thabata, Yxcelline Serafin, and Maria Suaste Perez. An End of Trimester Community Meeting took place the following day, with the trimester’s final staff meeting taking place yesterday.

For the most part, this period is technically a respite from school. However, several of our Professional Development Center (PDC) staff remain at work supporting our efforts to reengage youth from around the nation in their own education. That occurs through the work of the PDC as well as various administrative functions taking place on campus.

On Monday, Dan Condon, our Associate Director of Professional Development, was hard at work with the Boulder County, Colo., office of Continue reading…

The PACT Process: Building a School Community Where Everyone Thrives

The Eagle Rock community has always prided itself on a tradition of coming together to create positive change. We believe that a thriving educational community is the direct result of skills, structures, and trusting relationships that are constructed through effective change processes.

As a result, school leadership, staff, and students are gathering together for a school-wide afternoon class during the second five weeks of our current trimester (ER 77) to explore an Enduring Understanding that affects us all. (For those unfamiliar with the language, an enduring understanding is a statement summarizing important ideas and core processes that are central to a discipline and have lasting value beyond the classroom.) The end result is to collectively bring our entire community together to learn and grow. The belief is that everyone involved will leave the process with a deeper understanding of each other, the skills to make positive change in communities, and specific structures that will make Eagle Rock a stronger community.

We are calling this afternoon course, “Participatory Action Community Time,” or PACT, which focuses specifically on five main areas: Continue reading…

Wrapping Up Another Trimester of Progressive Education

Our winter trimester break is now underwayhere at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, which means many of our students have returned to their hometowns or headed elsewhere for this thrice annual vacation from school. Back here on campus, it’s been a busy trimester, with the graduation celebration for three of our students last Friday, followed by a mass departure of students the following day after an end-of-trimester community meeting. The staff held a holiday party on Saturday, and individual work teams met this past Monday for some trimester wrap-up work.

And while many of our instructors and staff head off to their holiday destinations, some — including Dan Condon, our Associate Director of Professional Development — are working during parts of the trimester break with educators who are committed to making high school a more engaging experience for our country’s youth. In Dan’s case, he was working earlier today on a Restorative Practices project with the Étude Group in Sheboygan, Wis., while tomorrow he’ll be working with TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project), and on Friday he will be participating in a meeting at Public Allies, Inc. in Milwaukee.

Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock's Professional Development Center.

Etude Group (Sheboygan, Wis.) engaging with Eagle Rock’s Professional Development Center.

As for our organization itself, our campus schedule for the weeks ahead is as follows: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Blueprints Describe Both Physical and Mission Projects

A set of blueprints is most often construed as an architectural plan for a physical building project. And, in truth, we’re discussing such a construction project in today’s post that will see the first of two new buildings bringing a welcome — and needed — addition to Eagle Rock 640-acre campus in Estes Park, Colo.

But we’re also talking today about a second set of “blueprints” that specifically affects Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s institutional planning process. Called Vision 2020, this blueprint enables our board members and staff to fulfill our mission by carefully planning for the allocation and use of resources.

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As the result of a thorough planning process conducted several years ago, our board — assisted by students and staff — adopted an updated plan that incorporates seven major areas of focus (called domains) to be carried out over a multi-year period.

These domains range from one dealing with the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion; to another describing the implementation of an Continue reading…