Explore Week Students Credit Program — Even When No Credit is Offered

Three times each year, Eagle Rock brings classroom studies to a screeching halt for a week in order for students to “explore” a topic of interest, or gain skills in an specific area where they might want to make a future commitment.

Doing the math, that means the average Eagle Rock student studying here for nine or 10 trimesters before graduating will experience eight or 10 of these weeklong learning experiences.

That’s a respectable commitment of time and resources for our students to explore a range of topics that are completely divorced from the official curriculum that leads to graduation. And it’s a popular part of the learning that happens here at Eagle Rock — especially when you consider students don’t earn so much as a single credit for most Explore Week classes.

When it comes to Explore Week — perhaps more so than anything else on campus — learning becomes its own reward.

To get a sampling of the range of offerings, I’ve described below what was available during the most recent Explore Week during the week of Feb. 23-27: Continue reading…

The Latest News From the Rock — December 2014

Having just wrapped up our 64th trimester, a blanket of quiet has settled over our campus. And looking back, it proved to be a busy and productive trimester for all of us here at Eagle Rock.

We kicked ER 64 off by welcoming eight new full-time Eagle Rock staff members, 10 new Eagle Rock Public Allies fellows, and one wilderness intern — Jack Bresnahan — to our mountainside community. Add it up and that’s just about 40 percent of our staff. Considering all the newness, we’ve done pretty well.

As expected, our students continued to deepen their understanding of our five expectations — making healthy life choices, communicating effectively, practicing leadership for justice, being an engaged global citizen and developing an expanding knowledge base. Much of this was absorbed through engaging classroom discussion.

And, of course we’re proud to have sent our three newest Eagle Rock School graduates — Gigi Hagopian, Isaac Holmes and Cat Leger — out into the world.

In addition to classroom activities, we’ve been working hard to improve the quality of student life elsewhere at Eagle Rock, and this trimester we had a lot going on, thanks to a large extent to The Magnificent 7 — an elite group of veteran students who help out with evening duty.

This trimester, the M7 put on an exciting house versus house Olympics, and when the dust settled, Aspen and Lodgepole were tied for first place. To break the tie, student Ziyad Johnstone, representing Aspen, and Isiah Gonzales, representing Lodgepole, played a nail-biting game of egg roulette for the tiebreaker.

If you’ve never seen it, egg roulette has each person work back and forth through a Continue reading…

Meet Eagle Rock’s 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellows

Like clockwork, each and every year since 2002 we’ve hosted a dozen Public Allies Fellows, and every year, we proudly introduce these Fellows to you, our stakeholders. Today, we’re presenting 10 new young leaders to you, along with two who we’re fortunate to hang onto for another year, as well as offering up a little information about each of them.

And in case you wondered what Public Allies is all about, here’s a primer:

Public Allies is a program with the intent of developing leadership skills in young adults. This AmeriCorps-funded program is a national movement with a mantra that’s pretty much this: “Everyone leads.” The thought here is, everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up to the plate and take action.

Since its founding in 1992, more than 5,000 Allies have completed the program at sites in 23 cities with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

And so, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Eagle Rock’s 2014-2015 Public Allies Fellows:

ER-PublicAllies20142015

Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow: Courtney received her Masters of Art degree in social change from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Most recently she worked for the Center Consolidated School Districts and has experiences with Transformational Ventures /Trading Hope. Courtney also has service experiences as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorps.

Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: Molly worked at Kansas State University for the past few years as part of house and dining services. She brings to the Eagle Rock table extensive knowledge about what it takes to get into college — and also what it takes to stay in college. Molly has worked with Spectrum Series groups along with Functional Literacy tutoring. She has a Masters of Science from K-State in counseling and student development.

Nicholas Viglione, Human Performance Center Fellow: Nicholas, who hails from Purdy N.Y., has taught physical education at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y., in both the upper and lower campus. He has also worked as a track coach as well as with project-based adventure after school programs. Nicholas earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education.

Aaron Guggenheim, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Aaron picked up his bachelor’s degree at the Continue reading…

Introducing Eagle Rock’s 2013-2014 Public Allies Fellows

Public-Allies-LogoToday we’re happy to introduce you to our latest crop of Public Allies Fellows, all of whom we are very proud to have on our campus and part of the Eagle Rock community. But before we introduce these young adult leaders, we’d like to tell you more about the amazing program that brought them to Eagle Rock in the first place.

Public Allies is an AmeriCorps-funded program that’s dedicated to developing leadership skills in young adults. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads, and that everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up and take action.

Officially, the mission of Public Allies is to advance new leadership in order to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation The Milwaukee, Wis.-headquartered nonprofit demonstrates a profound conviction to the long held notion that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds take responsibility and work together.

Since it’s founding in 1992, about 5,000 Allies have completed the program with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Eagle Rock’s participation with the program began a decade after the founding of Public Allies, and was initiated by our own Dan Condon and directed by him for two years. In the years that followed, 132 Public Allies have walked through the gate here at Eagle Rock with 98 percent of them graduating – making the Public Allies Eagle Rock program the most successful in the nation in terms of retention of Allies.

Each year we host 12 Public Allies Fellows, and as mentioned at the top of this post, we welcomed our latest group earlier this month, including (full bios appear below photo):

Eagle Rock's 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Eagle Rock’s 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows (click photo for large image).

  • Jake Sund, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Jake hails from Starkville Miss., and has a Bachelor’s Degree in English in Secondary Education from Mississippi State University. He has taught at Starkville High School and has outdoor experience with SUW of the Carolinas.
  • Sara Benge, Science Fellow: From Columbus, Ohio, Sara most recently taught at the Horizon Science Academy High School and recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Sara has a Bachelor of Arts degree in exercise science from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
  • Clay Elkin, Math Fellow: Clay, “Don’t Call Me Chiles or Cindy” Elkin has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and leadership from the University of San Diego and has served with AmeriCorps as a VISTA Volunteer. Clay previously worked at High Tech High in San Diego.
  • Calvin King, Societies/Culture Fellow: This former Eagle Rock School student is a Bonner Scholar and graduate of Morehouse College where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Over the past few years Calvin has worked with the City of Atlanta Freedom Schools, as well as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support.
  • Katie Funk, Visual Arts Fellow: From Grand Rapids, Mich., Katie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art and design with an emphasis in fine arts and K-12 teaching from Kendall College of Art and Design. She has worked at Northview High School in Grand Rapids along with student taught within the Byron Centers Public School system.
  • Lindsey Rodkey, Human Performance Center Fellow: Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, Lindsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and human development from the University of Maryland. She has been operating swimming programs for several years and will soon be certified to certify lifeguards.
  • Jennifer Pearsall, Service Learning Fellow: Jennifer most recently served as the assistant director and AmeriCorps member of the Camp Fire Camp in Central Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and has done work with the YMCA of Three Rivers, Mich. Jennifer has extensive experience in working with and teaching public speaking and will bring that asset to our school and Service Learning Department.
  • Mary Reid Munford, Professional Development Center Fellow: Straight out of Louisiana, Mary has worked with the ExpandEd Day Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans, along with doing some relief work in South Africa. Mary earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton.
  • Brian Rudd, Outdoor Education Fellow: Brian was a part of the HPOE Department before he joined the wilderness course in ER 59. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University and is originally from Pleasant Hill, Calif.
  • Rebecca Fenn, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: This year’s LAER Fellow most recently worked as an admissions officer at the University of Chicago and will bring that experience to our students at Eagle Rock School. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative human development from the University of Chicago.
  • Jesse Taitt, Music Fellow: Our music fellow is a Berklee College of Music graduate, receiving his degree in jazz composition and professional music. Jesse has also worked with the Berklee Mentoring Program along with the Alumni Creative Corps, which is sponsored by the Boston Arts Academy.
  • LuLing Osofsky, Curriculum Fellow: LuLing received her master’s degree in fine art from the University of Wyoming. She has worked for Green Seas Humanitarian Expeditions, The Art Institute of Indonesia and the Wu Wei Si Monastery in China. LuLing speaks several languages and is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian.

So there you have it. Over the years, we’ve seen many of our Public Allies Fellows from Eagle Rock impact public secondary education after they leave us. Some of these include Stanley Richards who is an instructional coach for New Tech in the Bay Area, Calif.; Dan Hoffman, a teacher and curriculum specialist at Voyager Academy in Durham, N.C.; Sarah Glasband, an advisor with MetWest in Oakland, Calif.; Michael Dunn, currently an upper school history instructor and service learning coordinator at the AIM Academy in Philadelphia, Pa..

Also, Liz Berliant, who is a music teacher at KIPP Bridge Charter School in the Oakland, Calif.; Adrienne Kovacik, who teaches chemistry at Mission Early College High School in Durham, N.C.; and Emily Matuzek, director of learning and development at Teach For America.