5 Eagle Rock School Students Set to Graduate Today

Pomp and circumstance — Eagle Rock style — will abound at 4pm Mountain Time this afternoon (Friday, August 5, 2016) in our Human Performance Center, as focus is directed toward five Eagle Rock School students who are graduating and heading off into the world with a new perspective on what it means to be engaged in their own education.

Among the grads are siblings Ryan and Dillon Powell — arriving on campus back in January of 2012. As you’ll read, the Los Angeles brothers took different directions once on campus, with one focusing on band and a cappella, the other on outdoor education and National Park Service volunteerism.

L-R: Ryan Powell, Zoe "Stormy" Johansen, Jared Moss Osterlund, Dillon Powell and Javonnie Campbell

L-R: Ryan Powell, Zoe “Stormy” Johansen, Jared Moss Osterlund, Dillon Powell and Javonnie Campbell

This latest trimester graduation ceremony will be broadcast live, beginning at 4 p.m. Mountain Time, on our Ustream channel, on Friday, August 5, 2016. To view the event live, please visit http://www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-rock-school-graduation.

Our five grads had a lot to say about the education they received at Eagle Rock, along with plans for their future and some advice for newbies to campus. Here’s a sampling:

Ryan Powell arrived at Eagle Rock at the same time as his older brother, joining Spruce House in January of 2012 (ER 56) and later, Ponderosa House. He counts among his successes being asked to Continue reading…

From Farm to Table to Deviance & Social Control — Eagle Rock School’s Diverse Class Offerings: Part Deux

Here at Eagle Rock School, we have always added new meaning to the term unique class offerings, and in fact, we’re fairly well known nationwide for the progressiveness of our classroom topics.

For example, not many high schools offer a class in on-the-job training to be a park ranger. In fact, some of our students will even be on the payroll of the Rocky Mountain National Park during the upcoming summer break as a direct result of taking this class.

Eagle Rock School Learning Resource Center

Below, we present the second of a pair of blog posts describing the unique classes offered during this, the second half of ER 69 (the 69th trimester since our founding in the fall of 1993):

Farm To Table: In this class, Eagle Rock School students are studying the methods and effects of different food production systems around the world. By planting, harvesting and tending the Eagle Rock garden, our “farmers” are growing and producing food for our own school cafeteria. A primary outcome of this class is to transform the Continue reading…

69 Trimesters Later, Eagle Rock is Still Offering Diverse Courses

One of the many things at Eagle Rock School for which we’re recognized is the diversity of our classroom offerings. For instance, you won’t find many traditional high schools that offer a class in the politics of music. Or how about a class that explores the notion that our educational system is inequitable, and then empowers students to do something about it.

ER Blog Post Image June 2

Below, we present the first of two blog posts listing and describing the unique class offerings for the first half of ER 69 — the 69th trimester since Eagle Rock’s founding in the early 1990s:

Deeper Learning & Equity

Our educational system is inequitable, and there are numerous structures and tools that people use to address that fact. In this class, Eagle Rock School students are looking closely at these structures. That includes those “No Excuses” schools that are exceptionally strict and teach a traditional curriculum, as well as the “Deeper Learning” concept — where students study topics in depth and often do projects to make a change in their communities. Students plan and facilitate a retreat for educators who want to improve equity in their schools, and our students have the opportunity to support those schools next year through the work of our own Professional Development Center. The retreat will take place during the second five weeks of the summer, so students will have responsibilities after the five-week course ends. But it’s a window to making a real difference in education and gain amazing real-world skills.

Music Politics

How does Beyonce fit in the succession of powerful Black divas that preceded her? What does it mean that Justin Timberlake is producing a country album? In this class students are learning the history, economics, politics and cultural context of the music we all listen to. Popular music is more than just beats and lyrics. It is one of the best ways to understand the values, prejudices and fantasies of our culture. Students listen, analyze and discuss songs, thinking critically about race, gender, genre, technology, money and the stories of the artists behind the music. Each student is expected to create an 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…

Eagle Rock Students Win Art Awards at Rocky Mountain Park’s 100th Anniversary

RMNP-100There’s been a lot of celebrating this year surrounding the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and Eagle Rock School students got in on the action with their offerings in the park’s student art competition.

This coming Friday is the 100th birthday of this pristine park that is Eagle Rock’s nearest all-green neighbor. And we’ve been excited as everyone else about this landmark anniversary, which has been highlighted by speeches, special activities and community events for the past year.

Some of our more artistic students signed up earlier this year for the park’s 100th anniversary student art competition, and Rahmel Evans, Cristian Aguliz and Zoe Johansen all won big-time awards for their art. Rahmel took a first-place win in the park’ statewide high school photography category, and Cristian followed up with a second-place nod. Zoe walked away with second place statewide for high school art.

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The theme of the student art competition was to illustrate a century of lessons learned from the eco systems in Rocky Mountain National Park. During an Exposure course held prior to the contest, students spent a full week traveling to different locations in the park, shooting pictures and learning about the environment and history of the area. That’s where Rahmel and Cristian captured the excellent digital images of Rocky that were recognized as winners.


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During a following trimester — in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain National Park mural that Eagle Rock students painted — time and energy was spent Continue reading…