Eagle Rock School Begins its 80th Trimester with Engaging Class Offerings

Just as it has been for the last 79 trimesters here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, students are once again immersed in classes that challenge their minds, improve their life skills, and present new ways of learning.

In this, our 80th trimester since the school was founded in the early 1990s, students made their selections from an assortment of class offerings, ranging this time around from exploring the probability and statistics of a dice game, to exploring personality traits through literature and the lens of a camera.

If you are familiar with our 10 Commitments for students attending our non-traditional school, you’ll run across the values that our students are committed to live by. In particular, they are asked to develop their minds through intellectual discipline, their bodies through physical fitness, and their spirits through thoughtful contemplation. As you’ll see below, our curriculum continues this approach of presenting educational experiences that add actual practical value to our graduates’ lives after they leave our mountainside campus and re-immerse themselves in the real world.

That being said, below are descriptions of a half dozen or so of the new classes available in this trimester. And please look here again in a month or so to see a synopsis of the remaining classes being offered this trimester:

The Game of Pig: Pig is a competitive dice game, and Interim Math instructional specialist Stephany Subdiaz is teaching her students the best approaches for this game of chance. Through numbers and probability, students are analyzing real life situations and games.

By the end of this five-week class, they’ll be able to figure out complex probabilities, the likelihood of basketball free throw percentages, and have designed their own games of chance — where they’re likely to win or at least come out ahead more often than not.

But Then You Read: The title of this class comes from James Baldwin, who once said Continue reading…

Neuroscience Students Expound on Findings During Eagle Rock TED Talk

In the final trimester of 2019, a half dozen Eagle Rock School students participated in a unique class offering called “Neuroscience,” that put its full focus on functions of the human brain — that mysterious grey-hued organ that is crowded inside each of our skulls.

This 10-week class was taught by our science instructional specialist Sara Benge and Chelsea Ehret, our 2019/2020 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Science & Math, with the purpose of exploring the anatomy, physiology, and habits of the human nervous system.

In addition to discovering how different parts of the brain and nervous system work together to allow us to perform day-to-day duties ranging from doing the dishes to, well, breathing, the class also focused on how the system affects our personal lives.

TED Talk Eagle Rock School

(Image © Sara Elise Benge)

Specifically, students enrolled in the class learned how the human nervous system responds to our personal surroundings and experiences. Students’ conducted experiments, collected data, and then analyzed that information in order to determine how the brain has an impact on our decision-making and health. Perhaps even more important, they learned how  Continue reading…

Utah’s Rugged Desert Areas Host 7 Eagle Rock Student Explorers

For a full month last trimester, we offered a new experiential outdoor adventure-based course for sevenveteran Eagle Rock School students — a wilderness course that entailed navigating inner and outer landscapes in the pristine desert areas of Utah.

We approached this exploration by focusing on three modalities of backcountry travel — backpacking, climbing, and rafting — which ultimately offered ample opportunities for participants to learn more about themselves nature, and where the two intersect. In addition to a human-powered outdoor adventure, students engaged in a rigorous academic experiences that included creative non-fiction writing and ecological earth science.

Among our group were students Angel Resendiz, Ay’Niah Rochester, Carter Raymond, Dauntay Acosta, Jacob Israel, Sequoia Masters, and Xavier Hagood-Edmeade. Support came from our amazing instructor team, which included Jack Bynum (Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructor), Leila Ayad (our 2017/2018 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Outdoor Education), and Amelia la Plante Horne (our current Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Outdoor Education, and Eagle Rock graduate). And as you’ll read later in this post, we connected toward the end of our trip with Nia Dawson (Student Services Program Manager).

We also had support from Song Candea, a snowboard instructor at Steamboat Resort and Eagle Rock graduate who has assisted us on our wilderness classes for several years, and myself — Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack.

And, following a week on campus to ground ourselves in the course curriculum, and packing for the trip, we headed to the desert.

Our course began with a seven-day loop in Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. Our route took us down the Twenty-Five Mile Wash, then 14 miles to the Escalante River, and up and out of Scorpion Gulch. We backpacked down massive slick rock domes, bushwhacked through forests of invasive tamarisk (a small shrub that the USGS says “favors sites that are inhospitable to native stream-side plants…”), waded down the frigid water in the Escalante River, and exited the canyon via a  Continue reading…

Recent Explore Week Course Sends Students on College Campus Tours

Five Eagle Rock students recently joined a pair of administrators in a weeklong tour of California college and university campuses as a part of an Explore Week course called College Tour.

Students Edna, Malyk, Hana, Alizja, and Austin visited Caltech in Pasadena, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Santa Monica College, The Studio School in Los Angeles, UCLA, California State University of Los Angeles, and Occidental College during their tour. Leading these students were Chris Lamar, our school counselor, and Laila Hosseinzadeh, our 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellow in the Life After Eagle Rock.

And indeed, life after Eagle Rock was the entire focus of the Explore Week road trip, with students focusing on finding the perfect institute of higher learning while still in high school.

One highlight of the tour was a stop at  Continue reading…

Reflecting on Eagle Rock’s Past and Looking Ahead to the New Decade

The holiday break is drawing to a close and here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, our instructors, staff, administrators, and students will be trickling back onto campus next week as the New Year — and a new decade — get underway.

Recently, there has been a flurry of debate on social sites claiming the new decade doesn’t officially begin until next Jan.1, but proponents of that notion forget that there was no Year Zero when the current era began more than 2,000 years ago. As a result, some may feel that all decades, centuries, and Millenia begin with Year 1.

(Photo by David W. Riggs | Sourced from Unsplash)

Now that we have put that silly debate to rest, here’s a quick look at Eagle Rock’s past, and what the future holds for our school and Professional Development Center (PDC).

Back in the spring of 1989, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. contributed ideas and funds for what would become the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center. Its vision was for an educational organization that would focus the interest of young people on community, integrity, and citizenship. And it targeted youth who weren’t exactly fitting into the mold demanded in a traditional high school setting.

In addition, through close coordination with other school districts and educational organizations, our PDC team was tasked with  Continue reading…