Part of What Makes Explore Week so Successful is the Instructors

This trimester’s five-day Explore Week is currently underway, with four course offerings that include jewelry making, woodworking, dance, and preparing for life after Eagle Rock School. Our campus in Estes Park, Colo., is nationally known for the quality of our progressive approach toward reengaging youth in their own education, and never are our educational offerings more exciting and well, non-traditional, than during Explore Week.

That acknowledgement of excellence has a lot to do with the subject matter, which — in past trimesters — has included helpful real-life topics such as balancing a budget, wilderness first aid, and video production. Just as important, and perhaps a bit more fun, are course offerings that instruct students in salsa dancing, whitewater rafting, or using improv poetry to communicate.

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But the main ingredient for all of these courses is the instructors, each one sought out and invited to relate their own expertise and life experiences on the topics they know best. Our staff go to great lengths to attract these educational guides for each of the unique courses offered during Explore Week. Many of the instructors, as you’ll see below, have no teaching background — at least in the traditional sense. However, each has a passion for their particular skill or calling, and with a little persuasion of our staff’s part, we ask these diverse individuals to take a week off and share that passion and knowledge with our students.

That being said, below we are introducing each of these instructors for current edition Explore Week, as well as a little about each course itself: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Are Halfway through Another Educational Explore Week

Regular classes have been set aside for the week as Eagle Rock students turn their attention to physical and mental explorations that range from touring Labyrinth Canyon via canoe, to a tour of nearly a dozen colleges and universities in Southern California for those seeking a higher education when they graduate from Eagle Rock School.

It’s all part of Explore Week, with unique course offerings that fall well outside the realm of formal education and more into the category of leaping feet first in to real-life experiences. Students are currently halfway through this — one of three Explore Weeks held each year— and below is a listing and brief description of the six course offerings in which they are participating:

25th Anniversary Prep Crew: For this course, 10 students have volunteered to stay on campus to help us produce this weekend’s 25th anniversary celebration of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s founding back in the early 1990s. (Learn more about this weekend’s celebrations by visiting our 25th Anniversary section of our website.)

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Several of these students are learning about event management and organization, while others are getting an education in property maintenance and management. In addition to picking up a fistful of service hours, these students will play a vital role in making sure that everything is in place for a successful anniversary celebration this coming weekend.

There are also fun evening activities underway throughout the week, giving students the chance to Continue reading…

Another Successful Explore Week Draws to a Close

Here at Eagle Rock School, we find ourselves halfway through another highly anticipated Explore Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017). And even though the regular class schedule has been sidelined for the week, our students aren’t ignoring their regular community chores and responsibilities.

Our student body strives to become a well-oiled machine, and our many and varied campus routines are just part of what keeps us accountable on this small mountainside community that we’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain.

After all, we know dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. Which is why we maintain a strict KP schedule during this “off” week from classes. Same goes for daily exercises, taking meals together, regular Gatherings and evening programs.

Turns out the magic of Explore Week is a full five days of exciting course offerings that fall well outside the realm of reading, writing and arithmetic. Below is a description of some of these unique offerings for Explore Week 73 (the 73rd such event since the founding of Eagle Rock in the early-90s), a little about their instructors, and what the students are getting out of the experience:

Step into the Cipher — In this musical adventure, students who fancy themselves as potential emcees, rappers, poets, or beatboxers, get together to make music, test rhymes, and share their talents.

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The title of the class comes from hip-hop, which describes a “cipher” as a sacred space — a circle of talented musical people where community is firmly established. It’s a laboratory where our students can make music, test rhymes, and share a piece of themselves with all who enter. Students are exploring hip-hop as a tool for community building, and they’re writing verses, poems, and hooks to bring their stories to life with sound.

The instructor for this course is Continue reading…

Artist in Residence Highlights Summer 2017 Explore Week

As if a selection of diverse and interesting courses weren’t enough, we’re adding Scott James to our Explore Week mix this time around, which means this poet and artist is on campus and meeting with students all week long.

As our official “Artist in Residence,” during Explore Week, Scott is in the midst, on the periphery and face-to-face with students every day this week. In fact, during most lunch and dinner hours, he’s poised over his vintage typewriter, ready for a good poetic challenge. The deal is, any Eagle Rock School student can walk up to Scott and offer a word — any word — for inspiration and Scott will write an original poem around that word. In fact, that’s pretty much his specialty, and a few years ago he churned out and gave away more than 1,000 such impromptu poems.

An Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellow in ER 40-42 (that would be the 40th through 42nd semesters since Eagle Rock’s founding in the 1990s), Scott currently resides in Austin, Tex., where he performs his instant typewriter poetry for events and parties, and helps writers turn their ideas into published books. His tools of trade include a 1946 Smith-Corona and he uses high-quality and handcrafted papers and techniques in his art that blend improvisation, metaphor and classic poetry.

Scott’s artistic career has included performance around the country, including Chris Guillebau’s World Domination Summit and Austin’s SxSW Interactive festival. And during Explore Week, this poet is available for one-on-one sessions with students. He’s also sitting in on several courses and conducting four workshops.

Meanwhile, for the students themselves, they’re all participating in one of the following course offerings: Continue reading…

Another Highly Anticipated Explore Week is Now Underway

From deftly dribbling a basketball to graceful salsa dancing, Eagle Rock’s student body is immersed in alternative courses this week during Explore Week, an event that occurs three times each year and is highly anticipated by students and instructors alike.

The reason behind this enthusiasm is the opportunity Explore Week presents to students to take on non-traditional courses that don’t necessarily fit into the mold of an academic curriculum.

This week’s event features courses taught by our own instructors, current Public Allies fellows, folks from our mountainside community, as well as noted experts in the courses offered.

Below is a list of courses — and a little about their instructors — from this trimester’s Explore Week, which wraps up Friday afternoon:

Improv Theater

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When you make something up on the spot, it’s called improvisation. In this Explore Week course, students are practicing improv theater through active games and exercises. They are learning how to control their Continue reading…