From Rock ‘n‘ Read to Shakespeare in the Woods

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Eagle Rock’s 66th trimester (ER 66) is at the halfway mark and new classes begin next Monday for the second installment of some fairly progressive offerings.

Earlier this week, we published a blog post about Explore Week and the variety of non-conventional learning opportunities that are available to students who want to experience something different on their way to graduation. No credits, no grades, just a chance to look at life through a new pair of glasses.

Now take a look at the some of the classes offered in the second half of this trimester. You’ll find more classes that engage the student, rather than force memorization of vague times and places, or archaic concepts that belong in a book — that remains on a shelf.


Here then are eight classes scheduled for the second half of ER 66, which wraps up on Aug. 8.

Colorado Rocks

Imagine climbing above the clouds focused intently on your movement, then writing and sharing the experience with your fellow climbers. This class is a combination of climbing, reading, writing, and studying geology. Students will use each of these activities as a lens to examine both the geological world and ourselves. Students will rock climb two to three times each week as well as take a five-day climbing road trip.

Facing history and ourselves

The Holocaust was one of the most tragic demonstrations of violence and racism in the 20th century. It was also an incredible example of the power of compassion, hope and the human spirit. In this class, students will explore the events that led to the Holocaust through the lens of human behavior. What were the consequences of the beliefs and actions of those involved in the Holocaust? Utilizing the Facing History and Ourselves scope and sequence, students will start by examining the consequences of their own beliefs and actions before analyzing the impacts these have at a societal level. Students will be challenged to identify how identity impacts decision-making, ultimately recognizing that true democracy requires thoughtful, responsible participation.

Outdoor Leadership

In the outdoor leadership class, students participate in a variety of outdoor activities, investigate what it means to be a leader and practice the logistics and preparation necessary to lead adventure activities. This class includes extended outdoor trips off campus.

What Difference Does it Make?

Students take a first-hand look at how nonprofit organizations operate and see the rewards and challenges that face those who set out to create social change. The class investigates who donates, who benefits, who serves and why. We look at the effectiveness of nonprofits, their use and/or wastefulness of resources at a practical level, and their actual effect on the lives of those whom they set out to serve. Students get to evaluate how U.S. nonprofits work abroad, make life better — or worse — for those with whom they are engaged. Students get to compare and evaluate nonprofits, analyzing how individual leadership drives social causes.

Fashion Design

Students will expand their wardrobe and explore their creativity through fashion design. Students will examine how fashions and costumes can be used to convey a message related to history and culture, both current and past. Students will practice the art of sewing — by hand and on a sewing machine. Students will learn how to read sewing patterns and sew garments from patterns. Students will also make their own patterns. And they will embellish their clothing, create their own designs, and explore the history of fashion design.

Shakespeare in the Woods

Forests are often thought to be places full of magic, mystery, and growth. Think of the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter, the woods outside District 12 in The Hunger Games, or Eagle Rock students’ own wilderness course. In this class, students will examine the ways physical spaces — specifically forests — contribute to personal growth and transformation. To do this, students unpack Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and examine how the transition from city to forest sparks changes in the play’s characters. Then, students will compare changes the characters experience to the changes we make at Eagle Rock.


The Eagle Rock School Internship Program exposes students to a career field of interest and provide them a unique and individual experience that they cannot receive from the typical classroom experience. Students will develop skills and knowledge that they need in order have success in the workplace. This career-focused internship experience (chosen by students) enables students to become directly involved in a workplace setting. The program will give students an avenue to apply the skills learned in the classroom to real world work situations. Lastly, this unpaid internship could help students identify a type of career they want to pursue in the future.

Pop Around the World

In this class, students explore the sounds of popular music from all around the world. Students will dig deep into the definition of popular music, examining the history of different popular sounds, the cultural significance, and the process by which certain styles or genres became popular. Students will also learn to recognize different instruments and their origin, and learn the language to describe and analyze what people listen to. Finally, students in this class investigate the power of marketing and corporate influence on the industry of “ethnic” music, specifically focusing on the economical and political factors that lead to “popular” music.

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About The Author:  Dan Condon is an education activist who currently serves as  associate director of professional development at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center. Dan’s writing has been featured online in The Huffington Post and in print in the 2014 National Society for the Study of Education (NSSE) Yearbook that’s entitled Engaging Youth in Schools: Empirically-Based Models to Guide Future Innovations.


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