Experiential Education Highlights Latest Eagle Rock School Class Offerings

For those of us who are fortunate to make Eagle Rock School a daily experience, we’re well into our 72nd trimester, which means our students are participating in a mixed brew of classes not often found in traditional high schools.

As has been the since the early 1990s, Eagle Rock’s curriculum offers its student body a selection of subjects from which to choose — most of them far removed from the reading, writing and arithmetic formulas often employed by schools that can curtail the creative juices that prompt students to want to learn. In fact, here at Eagle Rock, we tout ourselves as a “leader in the nationwide effort to re-engage youth in their own education.”

(Image ©2017 Mohammad Thabata)

(Image ©2017 Mohammad Thabata)

The emphasis is on “their own education,” which means our students are taking classes that will serve them well into the future, which may include as college students, employees, entrepreneurs, guardians of the environment, or just good citizens engaged in their own communities.

Here then is our second offering of unique and non-traditional classes currently being tackled by our 15- to 18-year olds:

Psych Rocks: In this class, students are exploring the perception of challenge, risk, and fear through the lens of adventure activity. The idea is to get the students to step outside their comfort zone. Designed to challenge students mentally, physically and emotionally, the Eagle Rockers enrolled in this class are learning the Continue reading…

From Dragonfly Citizen Science to Sacred Places

ER 66 classes (the 66th semester in Eagle Rock School’s illustrious history going back to September of 1993) get underway this week. And as you might expect of us, this wouldn’t be Eagle Rock if we didn’t present our students with an assortment of progressive class offerings from which to choose.

As you’ll see, you’re probably not going to find these particular classes offered at your traditional high school, but perhaps — depending on the school’s vision, goals and objectives — the possibility exists. And that’s really the point of blog posts like this one… to inspire educators around the nation with concrete examples of classes aimed at reengaging the disengaged.

With that in mind, what we have for you today is a Part One of a two-part series detailing this trimester’s classes here at the Eagle Rock School.

Come the end of June — the halfway mark of this trimester — I’ll be back to present you with a whole new list of classes that we’re offering for the second five-week stretch of ER 66.

Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of 10 classes being offered right now:

Hip Hop Odyssey

In this class, students gain an understanding of the power of words through exploring the impact of spoken word and hip-hop. Through learning about the history of various forms of art expression (e.g., spoken word, djing, graffiti, mcing, b-boying) students become informed enough to craft their own message as they speak for themselves and those who have no voice. The class includes a travel component where students travel to local and national venues to practice spoken word (sometime called “slam poetry”) and hip-hop.

P1080279Sacred Spaces

In this class students gain knowledge about the significance of sacred spaces for different people and cultures through researching and visiting sacred spaces in our area (Colorado’s Front Range) and observing how these sites are utilized. We read and watch videos on the diversity of sacred spaces in different cultural and spiritual practices, with reflections and journal entries addressing the application and value of sacred spaces in moral and faith development. Activities include creating a personal sacred space, creating or renewing a shared sacred space here on Eagle Rock’s mountainside campus, and traveling to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (located in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border) to extend our experience about sacred spaces recognized and valued by the Oglala Lakota people.

Run for your Life

Running is among the most basic of human functions. It allows us to cover distance at speed, be it for sport or for fitness or out of necessity. Whether students love to run, hate to run, or have never given it a real chance, this class helps Eagle Rock students discover the beauty of movement and tap into that natural and simple piece of your humanity. In this class students learn how their body changes and adapts to stress and work. We track students’ running statistics on a daily basis, analyze running form and learn how to develop a workout plan to help class participants achieve their goals. In this 10-week course, students run almost every day — rain or shine, on or off trail — with the goal of participating in running events ranging from Continue reading…