After a couple of years of virtual duck races, this year, the ducks are back in the Big Thompson River. The Estes Park Duck Race — a benefit event that helps to raise funds for, among other things, our Graduate Higher Education Fund will be held on Saturday, May 7. Now known as the Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival, the daylong event maintains its tradition — dating back 30 years — in which participants launch thousands of little yellow duckies downstream in hopes of winning from among hundreds of prizes. Continue reading…
by Taileigh Hull and Benjamin Kin, Eagle Rock Students
Last month, the Student Ambassador Program from Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center collaborated with The Inspiration Project to co-host a virtual “Field Trip” related to “How Eagle Rock learns from and with the natural world.”
The Student Ambassador program is a student & educator partnership that undertakes educational initiatives to improve Eagle Rock as well as schools around the country. Continue reading…
For the 2022-23 program year, the Public Allies Eagle Rock Fellowship will provide eight individuals with an advanced year-long service and leadership development experience at the nationally recognized Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, located in Estes Park, Colorado. Public Allies is a national movement committed to advancing social justice and equity by engaging and activating the leadership of young people. Eagle Rock is a full-scholarship residential high school, serving students between the age of 15 and 21, from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods around the country, for whom having voice and agency in their education is the pathway to success. We also support schools nationally to implement effective and engaging practices to equitably serve all students. Eagle Rock is proud to be an antiracist, social justice organization.
The Public Allies Fellowship at Eagle Rock is a residential, community-based opportunity for aspiring educators & youth workers who are passionate about alternative learning strategies, social justice, youth development and empowerment, and re-engaging high-school students in their education. Continue reading…
School Reform Initiative (SRI) protocols within Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) have more impact when they are facilitated face-to-face by a skilled facilitator.
Being a member of the professional development team here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, I personally support about 10 school network or district clients nationally, which means there are times when I can’t be with them in person. Such face-to-face meetings are important, and I try to arrange these more personal consultations when possible.
But for those times when that’s not possible, I’ve facilitated such gatherings using Zoom’s video and web conferencing platform — a simple to use online tool that allows me to increase the amount of support I can offer clients sandwiched between in-person consulting visits to their local context.
If you’re unfamiliar with them, School Reform Initiative protocols offer structured processes to support focused and productive conversations, build collective understanding, and drive school improvement. Thoughtful use of these protocols is an integral part of building resilient professional learning communities.
In recent months, I’ve gathered up and written down a number of tips I believe can greatly increase efficacy of such gatherings online. These tips, which I’ll offer here as suggestions, include: Continue reading…
We’re comfortably squeezing in an abundance of learning between this week — which heralds the beginning of the second half of the fall trimester — and Dec. 9, which is the last day of classes before Winter Break.
From robotics to woodwork, from astronomy to sex-ed, this 70th trimester in the history of Eagle Rock School includes classes that are both challenging and potentially life changing to participating students.
Late last month we listed the first batch of new classes (see Eagle Rock 70 Classes Underway — And Here’s What’s Being Offered). Below is a list of other classroom offerings for the trimester, along with a description of each class:
In the past decade, we have seen the rise of smartphones and drones, along with the first computer to beat a world-ranked Go player. With this growing sector around computer technology come job opportunities galore, not to mention the enjoyment of toying with robots, solving tricky problems, software coding and the intricacies of electronic circuitry. In this class, students demonstrate what they’ve learned in teams, each designing, creating, testing and redesigning a robot to meet specific challenges.
In this class students are exploring sex and sexual health from a number of perspectives. However, this isn’t your father’s sex-ed class. Instead, participants are looking at sexuality through different newspapers, magazines, websites, documentaries, films, fiction and non-fiction. The focus is on stories and experiences from around the world that can be used to better understand sexuality and healthy relationships. Digital recording and podcasts are also being used to share stories and information.
Theatre Tech is designed to provide Eagle Rock School students with a basic understanding and practice of Continue reading…
Classroom instruction began a month ago for the 70th semester of Eagle Rock School, with returning students participating in many of the classes listed below.
Meanwhile, incoming ER 70 students set off on Sept. 26 for what serves as an initiation process here at Eagle Rock — our signature New Student Wilderness Orientation Program. These new students have since returned from that 24-day experience, and are busily preparing their Wilderness Program presentations of learning (POLs) that will be presented Saturday, Oct. 29.
Other activities on the immediate horizon include Explore Week — which takes place Oct. 31 through Nov.4 — and the beginning of the second half of the trimester beginning Nov. 7. The last day of classes before winter break is Dec. 9.
Below is a partial list of class offerings for the trimester, along with a description of the courses:
In this class, students are transported back to Harlem, New York between 1919 and 1935, seeing the neighborhood through the eyes of some of the brightest minds of the 20th century. A renaissance is a rebirth, and theirs — preempted by freedom — is expressed through bold colors, strong voices, and passion that launched a culture and was the foundation for the 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.
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…
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.
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.
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…
As we reach the midpoint in in our winter/spring trimester, Eagle Rock School students find themselves wrapped up in unique classroom experiences that we believe will affect and influence the rest of their lives. What we offer here is the second installment of descriptions about the latest lineup of five- and 10-week classes, many of which offer Eagle Rock School students unmatched opportunities to reflect on who they are and what they stand for.
The People’s History: In The People’s History, students are examining U.S. history through African American, American Indian, Asian American and Latino American points of view. Students are looking at individuals and groups that had an impact on history and their styles of change and leadership. A strong focus is on the importance of change as outside groups stepped in and collaborated in change efforts. By using perspectives on the past, we students are being encouraged to explore and construct ideas and or ways they can have an impact today and in the future through our own leadership for change.
Human Sexuality: While this class includes students exploring sex and sexual health from many different perspectives, this is definitely not your normal sex-education class. Students are looking closely at sexuality through different media, including newspapers, magazines, websites, documentaries, film, fiction and non-fiction and are improving their reading, writing and thinking skills in the process. The focus is on understanding data about sex and sexuality as we use that data to think about our future sexual health. In addition to working toward the creating and making healthy life choices power standard and distribution credit, students also receive human sexuality required experience credit.
Five-week classes for the second half of this trimester include:
Storytelling & Animation: Here, Eagle Rock School students are being introduced to various techniques of storytelling and stop-motion animation. As a result, they are engaged in a process that has them looking toward other methods of storytelling, including radio drama, long-form journalism and folk stories. In addition, they are learning techniques of Continue reading…
Eagle 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.)
The Wiz” Musical: Ease on down the road with Continue reading…