Latest Eagle Rock School Classes Explore Everything from Coaching to Carpentry

Below is a sampling of some of this trimester’s unique classroom offerings that are already underway here at Eagle Rock School — each designed to challenge the mind, develop global citizenship or promote creativity and critical thinking. You’ll note that for the most part, there’s no memorization of historic dates or wheat export totals from Yugoslavia.

It’s education, but it’s education that’s useful in real life. We begin with three 10-week classes on education, eating and exploring (research). The other courses run five weeks.

Here then is a brief synopsis of some of the classes that began a week or so ago:

What is Education For?: Students begin this quest by looking at the foundational role of philosophy in education. Eagle Rock students are asked to answer three questions:

  1. ER_StudentWhat is real?
  2. What is true?
  3. What is good?

They’ll research the meaning and history of education as it has been delivered and experienced in the United States. Students are developing their own tools for making observations and we will be using these tools while visiting schools where different curricula, teaching methods and student populations are present. By applying what is learned from firsthand observations, from history, personal experience and context, each student will prepare and present their own Leadership for Justice action plan for improving education in the context of Eagle Rock’s mission and vision. Finally, the class will plan and conduct a mini-conference, bringing together different voices in dialogue arriving at new insights and directions in response to the perennial question, “What Is Education For?”

You Are What You Eat. By examining what students eat, they learn how the foods we consume impact their daily and long-term health. Students will track their food choices, discover how those food choices affect their bodies, and then make predictions about their future health based on their current choices. Students will figure out how what they eat today will impact their health tomorrow.

Research: In this 10-week class, students investigate and research a topic about which they are curious, steadily progressing from a novice to an expert in that particular field. Students will choose their topic through a process that balances interests with the general feasibility of the topic. They’ll learn how to find and evaluate both print and digital sources, examining the main arguments, purposes and biases within them. Students will pull key ideas and details from the sources in notes that support their emerging research questions and claims. Then they will learn how to synthesize and represent their growing body of knowledge in an organized way, eventually sharing their new understanding around their topic by developing a thesis statement and writing a traditional research paper.

Riverwatch Citizen Science: In this five-week class, students are exploring the health of the Big Thompson River, while engaging in the sport of fly fishing. Students are tasked wit collecting water samples and macroinvertebrates (bugs) of the Big Thompson River. They will then analyze their samples, which will help them to determine the river’s health. Their data will then be used by the Continue reading…

Residential Life at Eagle Rock School Explained

Student housing at Eagle Rock School has always been an exercise in evolutionary change and this trimester promises to be no different. Among the biggest draws to our campus are the living arrangements we offer our students, providing them with an atmosphere that is warm and non-threatening; in a word, supportive.

There are six student houses here on our mountainside campus — each housing seven boys and seven girls in separate wings — and each supported by a pair of house parents. In recent years, we eliminated a student bed, wardrobe, desk and chair from each wing in order to give our students a little more elbow room.

Eagle Rock School Living Village

Eagle Rock School Living Village

What remains is a team structure within each house that provides students with ample opportunities for interpersonal growth, as well as the lessons that arise from sustained group activities such as intramural sports, service projects, chores, house dinners, outings and retreats.

In addition to house parents within each residential dwelling, our board recently approved adding a residential life coordinator position to the team here at Eagle Rock. Our first such coordinator is J. Jacques Fournet, II, who is tasked with supporting and evolving the residential life experience. Jacques brings an elevated focus to residential life with the ultimate goal of helping us become more responsive to student needs.

Here’s a rundown on how the individual houses looked before the beginning of this trimester: Continue reading…