Four More Classes Round Out our 79th Trimester

What makes a school’s curriculum unique? Here at Eagle Rock, it’s the totality of student experiences that occur within the content of our educational process.

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Predicated on the belief that every student has the ability to become fully engaged in their own education, our curriculum focuses on competencies that we refer to as our 5 Expectations:

  1. Learning to communicate effectively: The primary purpose of an Eagle Rock class is to help students understand how to get a message across. That’s why poetry, art, and music often figure prominently into our class offerings.
  2. Expanding one’s knowledge base: Helping students understand and providing them with the tools to learn how to learn, as well as how to apply that learning to other situations, is also part of the Eagle Rock experience. As a result, many of our classes include elements of problem solving.
  3. Becoming an engaged citizen: At Eagle Rock, we’re intentional about helping our students learn something that naturally enables them to interact better with various people and cultures. Sometimes that’s accomplished by learning a second language or taking a class that focuses on worker’s rights.
  4. Acquiring leadership skills in order to achieve justice: Helping students understand what it takes to make a place — our school for example, or the local community in which we are based — more fair and equitable, is another aspect of our educational process.
  5. Creating healthy life choices: Finally, helping students understand that the decisions they make can increase or decrease positive outcomes regarding health of self, society, others, or the environment, is another unique aspect of our curriculum.

With our 5 Expectations in mind, we’re able to conceptualize and offer classes worthy of the student engagement we believe every student is capable of achieving. We also require that all Eagle Rock School students have Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) that guide them on their journey here. And each of those ILPs include distribution requirements. (For more information on distribution requirements, please see Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings.)

This trimester, which is our 79th since our founding in the early 1990s, we’re offering five 10-week classes that we’ve previously blogged about and are still occurring (Research, Neuroscience, Jewelry Around the World, Facing History, and Facilitating Educational Change, along with the four new classes highlighted below: Continue reading…

Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings

A little more than a month ago, we offered a behind-the-scenes look at a number of class being offered during the first half of our 77th trimester (of Eagle Rock School). In addition to highlighting new five- and 10-week classes, we preceded that listing with a description of the role Power Standards play in Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) here at Eagle Rock.

To review, a student’s ILP is comprised of three sections: Power Standards, Distribution Requirements, and Required Experiences. And this time around, as we rundown the latest classes to be offered (during the second half of this trimester), we’re going to go into the details surrounding the role Distribution Requirements play in our curriculum and how students acquire credits as a means of assessing progress in order to complete their graduation requirements.

Here’s how Distribution Requirements fit into the scheme of things when it comes to Individual Learning Plans: Continue reading…

Another Successful Explore Week Draws to a Close

Here at Eagle Rock School, we find ourselves halfway through another highly anticipated Explore Week (Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 2017). And even though the regular class schedule has been sidelined for the week, our students aren’t ignoring their regular community chores and responsibilities.

Our student body strives to become a well-oiled machine, and our many and varied campus routines are just part of what keeps us accountable on this small mountainside community that we’ve worked so hard to establish and maintain.

After all, we know dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. Which is why we maintain a strict KP schedule during this “off” week from classes. Same goes for daily exercises, taking meals together, regular Gatherings and evening programs.

Turns out the magic of Explore Week is a full five days of exciting course offerings that fall well outside the realm of reading, writing and arithmetic. Below is a description of some of these unique offerings for Explore Week 73 (the 73rd such event since the founding of Eagle Rock in the early-90s), a little about their instructors, and what the students are getting out of the experience:

Step into the Cipher — In this musical adventure, students who fancy themselves as potential emcees, rappers, poets, or beatboxers, get together to make music, test rhymes, and share their talents.

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The title of the class comes from hip-hop, which describes a “cipher” as a sacred space — a circle of talented musical people where community is firmly established. It’s a laboratory where our students can make music, test rhymes, and share a piece of themselves with all who enter. Students are exploring hip-hop as a tool for community building, and they’re writing verses, poems, and hooks to bring their stories to life with sound.

The instructor for this course is Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Latest Explore Week Draws to a Close

Classroom education here at the Eagle Rock School resumes on Monday, Nov. 6, following Explore Week, a brief, five-day period of time during which our students are taking advantage of an opportunity to explore new and diverse subject areas they otherwise might have dismissed or never knew they could study.

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This is the latest in what has traditionally been a three-times-a-year educational experience that enables students to ‘poke a stick’ at a particular subject matter with which they might not be familiar, but which might appear interesting. If nothing else, these engaging courses — which are taught by subject matter experts who often travel great distances to be with our students for the week — serve as an introduction to future career pursuits or hobbies that can be followed up on by the students themselves going forward.

Not necessarily unique to Eagle Rock (other progressive schools across the country — including Continue reading…

Eagle Rock 70 Classes Underway — And Here’s What’s Being Offered

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.

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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:

Harlem Renaissance

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…