Eagle Rock Joins Estes Park High School in Encouraging Active Citizens

Change can often be a good thing, and such was the case last month when we switched up our traditional two-day Eagle Serve program for something new: tasking our students to put in the time, energy, and resources in order to benefit the local community in a new and profound way. In previous trimesters, Eagle Serve challenged returning Eagle Rock students withthe importance of being of service to others through participation in open enrollment courses that drive home the idea of “giving back to the community”— especially for students we believe can become the nation’s future leaders and/or active citizens within their own communities.

But this time around, we partnered up with about 40 students from nearby Estes Park High School  interested in participating in an intense, two-day intercultural conference that we called The Necessity of Exploration. And while the goal of being of service to others hasn’t changed from prior trimesters, we did alter how this is being done.

In order to achieve this, we found it necessary to remove the ignorance over social and cultural issues affecting our local community, and to prepare our students to be of service to others by first recognizing their role in diversified communities. By raising awareness and holding courageous conversations with peers from a local school, our students discovered and uncovered what is missing and what must be done to truly serve others.

So, for two full days last month — Jan. 17 and 18 — students from both schools joined together at the Estes Valley Community Center in hopes of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School’s Unique Brand of Classes Begin on Monday

As Eagle Rock School kicks off its 76th trimester this month (fondly referred to here on campus as ER 76), our progressive and engaging class offerings are once again taking center stage, with the first batch described below. Classes start on Monday for most students, with the noticeable exception of new students, who head out on their introductory three-week wilderness orientation course the first day of October.

For everyone else, class offerings this trimester range from a class called Fiberlicious, which has little to do with fiber as a foodstuff and more to do about employing fiber items as legitimate artwork. In addition, there is a class called Winning the Votethat explores collecting data, analyzing polls, and making predictions on electoral outcomes.

Without further ado, we offer a partial listing of classes that begin Monday. Unless otherwise noted, each class runs for five weeks:

(Eagle) Rock the Vote: School elections don’t always get the heart pounding, with many students shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Who cares?” Or maybe, they don’t think their vote matters. Or maybe, they’re still too young to vote in a “real” election. This five-week class has students organizing school-wide political campaigns, participating in election rallies, and meeting people from a wide spectrum of political beliefs. In addition, students will learn about our nation’s voting history and electoral process and the history and voting processes of other democracies across the globe.

Vote-Image

Fiberlicious: Fiber art techniques are not limited to weaving, felting, batik work, silk painting, sewing and up-cycling clothing. In this 10-week course, students are learning how to embellish wearable art with ribbons, buttons and beads. Each student in this class must research a period of time and fashion to create a story board for a presentation to share with class. And students will present their wearable fiber arts during a fashion week on the last week of class — offering each a chance to express their voices as fiber artists — both in written form and Continue reading…

Understanding Eagle Rock’s Presentations of Learning (POLs)

Three times during each school year, students enrolled at the Eagle Rock School participate in a self-appraisal of their educational successes during the previous trimester, and they do it in public, before a live audience that is searching for evidence of learning from the student.

Presentation of Learning

Presentation of Learning

It’s Share and Tell on steroids, and for Eagle Rock students it’s an opportunity to present themselves as learners. The process is called Presentation of Learning (POL), and it serves as a rite of passage for all Eagle Rockers. POLs enable our students to make a case that they have soaked in an abundance of learning in the preceding months on campus.

This process isn’t at all about getting credit in courses, because students either have or have not documented learning to a level of mastery in their courses. POLs are an overarching tool for our students, allowing them to pause in learning, reflect, synthesize and analyze. They are tasked with considering both personal and academic growth, linking their learning to past learning, and projecting future learning goals. All within a 15-minute presentation.

The panel observing these deliveries consists of teachers, administrators, community members and others who are interested in alternative assessment, education renewal, and the progress of our students.

Before sitting down for these live sessions, panelists have in hand a packet of information produced by the student. This includes a Continue reading…