Eagle Rock Classes That Add New Meaning to the Term ‘Non-traditional’

Editor’s Note: Here at Eagle Rock, we’re known for modeling successful strategies and tactics in the effort to re-engage students in their own education. What that means in part is that we often offer classes in our Estes Park, Colorado, high school that resemble in no way those offered in a traditional school setting.

We tell you this because we use our blog to share our work, and we share our work because it’s not in our fabric to keep it to ourselves. In fact, publishing posts like the one you’re about to read is meant to inspire you to examine how education is delivered in your community.

With that in mind, here’s part one of a two-part series by our own Dan Condon detailing the unique class offerings that are already underway this trimester at Eagle Rock:

– – – – – –

By Dan Condon, Associate Director of Professional Development

Listen to me!” We all have times when we feel alone, believing we’re the only ones who suffer both tragedy and happiness. But no matter how dark things may get, you must know that you are not alone, someone has felt it, lived through it and can empathize.

This is the story of the characters in Spring Awakening, a dramatic play that is also the subject of an Eagle Rock class by the same name. In this class, students are developing basic singing and acting concepts through their character’s perspective. This is a rigorous class that tests beginning and advanced students in the development of performance skills.

Those accepted as cast members through an audition and call back were asked to commit to weekly rehearsals (class), final week dress rehearsals, costuming, makeup, set construction, and a final cast dinner and reflection. The show goes on in April.

In Rocky Mountain National Park Murals, the class is painting three murals in two different buildings located in Rocky Mountain National Park. The class is studying the visual communication power that is unique to mural art as they work alongside national park employees to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the park.

Students are studying significant historical murals in America as they design, plan and paint two sites in the Hotshot dorm, and one in the Science Studies Center. Students are using stencils and project images and are creating art that honors the work that explores the park — some of it created by park service employees.

This is an opportunity to continue to strengthen the bond between Eagle Rock and the park, as well as explore opportunities within this beautiful wilderness area.

In a class called Research, students are investigating and researching a topic that interests them, steadily progressing from a novice to an expert in that particular field. Students choose a topic through a process that balances their interests with the general feasibility of the topic, including resources available, rigor and depth.

These students then learn how to find and evaluate both print and digital sources and examine the main arguments, purposes and biases within them. Students pull key ideas and details from the sources in notes that support their emerging research questions and claims.

Participants learn how to synthesize and represent their Continue reading…

Recapping Our Work With the Staff at MetWest High School

MetWest High School — a partnership between the Oakland Unified School District (Oakland, Calif.) and the Big Picture Learning Network — prepares its students to recognize and take advantage of all the resources that can further their personal well being, as well as the well being of their communities.

Here at Eagle Rock, our Professional Development Center has been working with MetWest for two years now — with associate director Dan Condon as the lead — on ways that the school can use relevant, key data indicators to guide them in their work.

In particular, MetWest is interested in using data to support existing efforts with respect to their students:

  • Real world thinking
  • Critical thinking
  • Social and emotional intelligences
  • Literacy and communication
  • Resistance to oppression / social change agents / promoters of social change

Our most recent engagement with MetWest took place in Continue reading…

Everyone knows what it feels like to go to school. Want to know what it feels like to go to a great school?

Eagle Rock is excited to partner on an exciting 10-part video series chronicling the rhythms and relationships of a year in the life of one of America’s most successful public school and showcasing what powerful teaching and learning actually looks like – and requires!

A Year at Mission Hill captures the stories of a single community. But the series is designed to elevate the stories of communities across the country – and to provide a cross-platform multimedia opportunity to clarify what powerful teaching and learning actually looks like – and requires.

We love what is happening at Mission Hill, which is a K-8 school, and know Eagle Rock has something to offer when it comes to creating that powerful and effective learning community in a high school setting. We look forward to sharing what it takes to make a school great and how to sustain that greatness over time. For each Mission Hill chapter we’ll align it with our “in the trenches” work with high school students at Eagle Rock School here in Estes Park. We hope you’ll join us in this journey as we share these resources and insights consistent with our Professional Development Center and be sure to keep checking back. Watch the first episode here.

What elements do you think make great schools & what great schools should we know about?

Happy New Blog

Happy New Year Blog

Typically, on New Year’s Eve, you’ll find blog posts on the top education stories of the year, a reflection of trends, some similar year end list or a year end donation appeal.

This is not that post.

Instead, we’d like to introduce something we’re pretty excited about.

This past summer we engaged with ‘ghost blogger’ and Entrepreneur magazine contributor Mikal E. Belicove to assist Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center in rethinking our approach to media and we’re please to introduce our blog where we invite you to play a role.

Eagle Rock has been making a difference in education since 1993. Our philanthropic endeavor is to address the issue of widespread high school disengagement. We do that locally by operating a school for formerly disengaged youth and we do it nationally by working with other schools with a similar mission to ours. In light of that work we are excited to use this blog as a platform to engage you in several ways to create a community interested in these same issues.

You can look forward to a post where our Head of School will talk about our “in the trenches” work with our high school students at Eagle Rock School.

We’ll keep you up to date on our national mission work related to having a positive effect on schools in the United States such as pieces about our work with a network of charter schools in Albuquerque, NM.

We’ll launch conversations with you, those interested in the progressive education community, around current, hot topic issues impacting public education nationally. We encourage you to pose the complex issues you are dealing with in your context and we will weigh in. We look forward to a dialogue about innovative ways to navigate the thorny issues facing schools.

We’ll share resources and invite you to share of resources and insights consistent with the national work of our professional development center such as our Project Based Learning work in Durham, NC, our youth/adult partnership work in Vermont & our curriculum revision work in Denver.

Another way we will make this blog interactive is by ending each post with a question. What topics would you like to see in this new blog? Oh, and of course, we wish you a Happy New Year.