Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School

Each trimester, we offer classes that traditional high schools might term progressive or unique. And while we pride ourselves on these offerings (please see our latest class descriptions below) because they truly engage students in their own education, there’s an approach to education that’s at work here at Eagle Rock School that may not be readily evident by just reading a bulleted list of class names.

Ours is a high school that has deep interest for classroom topics that make students think, build and validate their skills, and provide insight into what to expect in the real world upon graduation. And if everyone involved in the process — students and instructors alike — experience enjoyment along the way, all the better. Our instructors are as knowledgeable and helpful as our students eventually are eager and enthusiastic.

Lily Lake — Site of ER 78’s Phenology of Lily Lake Class.

It’s worked quite well for us this past quarter of a century as we continue to provide meaningful and engaging classes for our student body. Below are some of the topics we’re tackling this trimester, as well as a description of each. We’ll publish a second edition of classroom offerings for this, our 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s, at the beginning of July: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Wax Poetic at National Poetry Slam

A half-dozen of our Eagle Rock School students, along with three staff mentors, have just returned from a national youth poetry festival at the University of Houston in Houston, Tex., and while we didn’t walk away with any major trophies or prizes, the reward came in helping each of our students find and display their own voice.

Called the 2018 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, the annual event brings more than 500 young poets — along with their educator mentors — all joining up with some the nation’s leading spoken-word artists and cultural workers to take a deep dive into arts education, artistic expression, and civic engagement.

BraveNewVoices

Brave New Voices is a national youth poetry festival sponsored by Youth Speaks, an organization that has long championed what is becoming a global movement of young people finding safe places to discover, develop, publicly present, and apply their voices as creators of social change.

Participating students do this through the intersection of arts education and youth development practices, civic engagement, and quality artistic presentation.

Dan Hoffman, Eagle Rock’s Societies & Cultures Instructional Specialist — and a Ponderosa House Parent— did most of the heavy lifting at the local level, coordinating the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Poets Net Last-minute Spot in National Poetry Slam

The name of the class was Poetic Justice, and the Eagle Rock School students enrolled last trimester received a little poetic justice of their own earlier this year by snaring a position in a big-time poetry slam in San Francisco.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a poetry slam is a competition at which poets recite or read original work. Poetry slamming began in Chicago in the mid-80’s when performance poet Marc Kelly Smith began experimenting with open mic night and venues for poetry readings by making them competitive.

My students knew it was a long shot when we applied for a slot in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, which was held last month in San Francisco. After all, we’d never performed or participated in slams outside Colorado’s Front Range. On top of that, we’re a fairly small school, and we’re new to big-time spoken-word poetry competition.

(Photo ©2017 Daniel Schaefer of Outlier Imagery)

(Photo ©2017 Daniel Schaefer of Outlier Imagery)

Nevertheless, we applied to participate, and the festival’s powers-that-be graciously placed us on a waiting list. Then at the last moment, our school was pulled off the wait list and we were welcomed to participate into the four-day mid-July festival.

Student Engagement Through Spoken-word Poetry

This was indeed a highlight for a classroom of students who — on a daily basis — express their passion for poetry by reading, writing, viewing and performing all things related to spoken-word composition. In conjunction with what they are learning, our students also explored their own Continue reading…

For Just a Short While, There Was a Poet Among Us

Edgar-Kunz-Poet-Eagle-Rock-School-VisitOakland, Calif., poet Edgar Kunz has been a familiar face around the Eagle Rock campus the past few months, sparking interest in poetry in the form of readings, presentations and visits to poetry slams.

Kunz is one of 5 first-year Wallace Stegner Fellows in Poetry at Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. His poetry can be found in New England Review, AGNI Literary Magazine, The Missouri Review, Narrative Magazine, and the annual Best New Poets anthology series, among other places. Middlebury Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Academy of American Poets, and Vanderbilt University — where Kunz earned his Masters degree in Fine Arts — have all supported his writing over the years.

During his visits here, readings were held for Eagle Rock School students and staff, with the poet reciting selections of his poems that have been published in various literary journals. In a Q&A session following his October visit, Kunz responded to questions about his Continue reading…