Eagle Rock’s 2015/2016 Public Allies Fellows ‘Take Flight’ at Summer’s End

Our 2015/2016 Public Allies fellows depart our mountainside campus at the end of this week after spending a year teaching, learning and being an enormous part of the Eagle Rock family.

This latest cohort of fellows joins an impressive 150 Public Allies Fellows who have completed the program here at Eagle Rock. In fact, our program is among the most successful in the nation, scoring in the high 90th percentile. You can learn about this group at their arrival on campus last September by reading 2015/2016 Public Allies Fellows Arrive On Campus.

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Meanwhile, here’s what our “graduating” fellows have planned for their immediate future:

Ally Bolger, Science Teaching Fellow: After Eagle Rock, Ally is moving to Colorado Springs where she will be teaching high school biology and chemistry at CIVA Charter High School. She is excited for the opportunity to apply all she has learned about alternative education, engaging teaching strategies, and building supportive relationships with students. In her free time, Ally is also excited to spend more time outside and explore her new surroundings. And since she’s very familiar with the 2.5-hour drive back to Eagle Rock, we’re looking forward to many return visits.

Aranda Salazar, Residential Life Fellow: Aranda will be sticking around Colorado after her year with us, pursuing whatever her heart desires. During her time at Eagle Rock she was better able to see that she values working directly with people, being a part of a team, and feeling valued as an employee. She hopes to find these qualities in future work places. And in her continued pursuit for happiness, she plans to spend more time with Continue reading…

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Eagle Rock’s Take on ‘The Wiz’

Eagle Rock School students and faculty members are busy rehearsing for a series of performances of the Tony Award-winning 1975 musical, “The Wiz,” which are scheduled in Estes Park at month’s end.

The Wiz Eagle Rock SchoolOur production of “The Wiz” (March 31-April 2, 2016) is an urban retelling of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” using Motown, Funk and Soul music to rework the story into the context of modern African-American culture. A film adaption of the show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Eleven talented Eagle Rock students and four staff members will perform in our staged version, backed by a live four-piece professional pit band. Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon, Eagle Rock School’s Music Instructional Specialist, directs the show, with co-direction by World Languages Instructional Specialist Brighid Scanlon and musical direction by 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow Michael Grant.

Performances will be staged beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 as well as Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2 at the Hempel Auditorium within the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. Admission at the door is “pay what you like” and all proceeds benefit the Eagle Rock Graduate Higher Education Fund.

But we digress. The story of Dorothy and her road trip to Oz has become known worldwide for its themes of home, belonging, belief in oneself and freedom. “The Wiz,” with its original premiere in 1975 with an all-black cast and African-American styles, boldly showed that this classic story belongs to everyone, with audiences of all races flocking to watch productions of “The Wiz” over the past four decades. In addition to be culturally empowering, it is a “joy machine,” gorgeously designed, with quick humor and irresistible melodies.

Preparations for our production began last fall with a Continue reading…

Our Fellows Team Service Projects are Well Underway

It is the task of our Public Allies fellows to serve a full school year in an apprenticeship where they are asked to create, improve and expand services offered by Eagle Rock — specifically in the areas of youth development and education.

Like Allies across the country, fellows also participate in a rigorous leadership development program and community building activities, and they each contribute to team service projects (TSPs).

Eagle Rock Team Service Projects

The TSP is a unique opportunity to lead and learn through team experience in upholding the Public Allies values in six areas:

  • Diversity & Inclusiveness
  • Integrity
  • Focus on Assets
  • Collaboration
  • Continuous Learning
  • Innovation

Well-designed TSPs seek to recognize the assets of a community instead of approaching communities in a needs-based way. In small groups — and in partnership with community members — Allies create, implement and evaluate a service project that will ideally have a sustainable and lasting positive impact.

This year we introduced the concept of TSPs during core training. And before students even arrived on campus, our fellows had already begun to brainstorm ideas for projects inspired by their own strengths and passions. As the weeks progressed, and as fellows became more integrated into the Eagle Rock community, additional ideas emerged.

Fellows captured their thoughts in a Continue reading…

Winter Classes Range from Musicals and Murals to Soilless Gardening

erslogo2Eagle Rock’s busy student body is already well into the winter trimester, with many among them enjoying a number of class offerings — most of them new — that promise to challenge their intellect and maybe even spark interest in an avocation, adventure or activity that can last an entire lifetime.

Ten-week classes sprinkled among the mix for ER 68 (our 68th semester since our founding of Eagle Rock School in the early 1990s) include:

La Telenovela: In this class, which we first offered in the fall of 2014, students analyze and create their own Spanish-language “soap opera” episodes. By doing so, they are gaining insight into telenovela structure, characters and themes by viewing real telenovelas. (For the uninitiated, a telenovela is a type of limited-run serial drama and popular on European, West Asian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Arab World, Brazil, Portuguese and Spanish television networks.) By watching these programs, students are refining their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in Spanish, which is enhanced by working together on their Spanish in the classroom. As a final project, students will be asked to script and film their own telenovelas — themselves portraying the characters as well as completing all of the required behind-the-scenes production work. They will work on acting as well as filming and directing techniques to produce the final episode. (Brighid Scanlon is teaching this class.)

Data Analysis: In this class, which first appeared at Eagle Rock School in the spring of 2015, students are beginning to explore data sets, looking for patterns and using statistics to answer student-generated questions. Each student explores one question, researching data that will help answer that question. By analyzing the information, they can communicate their newfound knowledge using infographics, written articles, presentation or blogs. Experts in the field, peers, and Eagle Rock staff will review the work and provide feedback for the inevitable revision. (Becky Poore and Helen Higgins are teaching this class.)

Five-week classes offered this trimester include:

101 Years of Murals: This all-day class presents students with the opportunity to appreciate what murals can teach us, communicate and add vitality to our lives. Students are part of a hard-working team with an emphasis on leadership that is designing and painting a mural in the Rocky Mountain National Park. We are learning how to use different mural techniques to create Part 2 in a series of murals. Students in this class are already capable at drawing — or are teachable — and they’re all willing to take risks. This class promises a lot of hard work, but it also promises to yield a lot of new skills as well as possible connections that may benefit them in the future. (Cindy Elkins and Claire Oliphant are teaching this class.)

RMNP Mural ER65

The Wiz” Musical: Ease on down the road with Continue reading…

Teaching Fellows Take a Day Away to Focus on Team Building

The New Year was barely nine days old and we’d just returned to Eagle Rock from our trimester break. And now, here we were, heading off to the YMCA of the Rockies for our mid-year Fellows’ Day Away.

As director of Public Allies here at Eagle Rock, I was responsible for facilitating our 12 Public Allies fellows through a day that focused on reconnecting, framing the trimester ahead, reflecting and goal-setting, and intentional time to work on Team Service Projects (TSPs).

Our day began with a quick energizer outside, highlighted by a backdrop that included snow-covered views of the Rockies.

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Michael Soguero, our Professional Development Center (PDC) director, presented us with an introduction and overview of the Leadership Challenge — a global campaign to liberate the leader in everyone. Fellows will be learning and utilizing skills outlined in the Leadership Challenge framework to frame their TSP work for the trimester.

Michael highlighted the importance of Continue reading…