Eagle Rock Alums Reflect on their Presentations of Learning

Among the things we’re proudest of at Eagle Rock School are our thrice-annual Presentations of Learning (POLs), during which our students present a self-appraisal of their educational progress during the previous trimester. And they do so each time before a live audience of teachers, administrators, notables and community members interested in alternatives to educational assessment.

This “rite of passage” gives students the chance to show what they’ve learned in the preceding months — a sort of show and tell for learning and academic progress. (Note: If you’d like to learn more about POLs, please read: Understanding Eagle Rock’s Presentations Of Learning.)

Presentation of Learning

Presentation of Learning

With that in mind, what we’re presenting below are the thoughtful memories and experiences of 15 Eagle Rock School graduates who, over their time here, presented their share of POLs. Some of these recollections provide insight into the process and others describe the life-changing effects such sessions have had on these grads lives since their departure from Eagle Rock.

We’re delighted and proud to hear from these former students, and we’re impressed with their take on POLs: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Alumni Return to Campus Teach Explore Week

After the first five weeks of classes at Eagle Rock School, students take a break from regular classes and participate in Explore Week — so named because it offers an opportunity for our students to explore outside interests in structured courses taught by guest instructors.

Instructors come to our mountainside campus from all over Colorado and across the country. Past instructors have included previous staff members, fellows, and other important members of the Eagle Rock community. Over the summer trimester, we welcomed back not one, not two, but three alumni: Charmaine Mitchell-Persens (she arrived at Eagle Rock as a student in the spring of 2002 — aka ER 27), Stephanie Sweets-Baldwin (winter 2001 — ER 23), and David Sanchez (winter 2010 — ER 53).

Charmaine and Stephanie were co-teachers for a course called Hair Care, Hair Design and Extension Wear. Of course it was one of the most popular courses during Explore Week and Stephanie and Charmaine were able to encourage self-discipline among the students.

Explore Week Course Eagle Rock School

For instance, students were asked to come prepared, which meant 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.

Eagle Rock School Learning Resource Center

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…

Reporting on Another Successful Explore Week

The effects of our most recent Explore Week — that staple of the Eagle Rock School experience whereby our students have the opportunity to learn about careers, hobbies, art, music, physical pursuits and other offerings that may not necessarily fit into the daily academic curriculum — are now being felt here on campus.

The latest installment of this thrice-annual event took place June 20-24 with students vying for learning experiences related to earthen building, canoeing through Canyonlands National Park, music, poetry, beauty and hair care.

Eagle Rock School Explore Week

In addition to a few of our own instructional specialists, Explore Week offers experiences presented by instructors from the community and as you’ll see below, Eagle Rock School alumni — all highly experienced in what they do.

Here’s a short recap of courses and instructors from our most recent Explore Week:

For those musically inclined students with an interest in turning their words into lyrics, the Songwriting, Stories, and Live Performance course was the perfect opportunity to complete songs that they might have started writing and put aside or put time into new materials that they wanted to turn into song. The course included a lot of interaction, discussions, writing activities — all capped by live musical performances by the students, completed individually and sometimes collaboratively.

About the instructors — Eric Ian Farmer, Ph.D and Juan Torres: Farmer is no stranger to Eagle Rock. He served as an intern from the fall of 1999 through the summer of 2000, and was an Eagle Rock School instructional specialist from the fall of 2005 through the summer of 2008. Torres studied music at the VanderCook College of Music in Chicago and now plays with the Estes Park Jazz Big Band and teaches concert, jazz, and marching percussion at schools in the Estes Park School District.

Led by a pair of street poets, Poetry of Initiation: From Pain to Purpose was best described as a writing and performance course fueled by the Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Radio Makes Waves During Explore Week

In the midst of each trimester here at Eagle Rock School, students break from their normal classes to engage in Explore Week, a weeklong exploration of new and diverse subject areas.

It’s a time when visiting educators from across the country descend upon our mountainside campus, bringing with them expertise in everything from holistic medicine to theater production to entrepreneurship.

During the most recent Explore Week this past February, some of our students had an exciting opportunity to learn the basics of radio production. Taught by Lisa Morehouse, an award-winning public radio journalist from the San Francisco Bay Area, a half dozen students explored how to record, edit and publish audio pieces.

Eagle Rock School Radio

In addition to the technological aspects of producing radio programming, the students analyzed pieces from SoundsLA, StoryCorps and Lisa’s own pieces on California Foodways to identify different styles of radio. Students also dissected specific sounds or tools that each piece used, such as Continue reading…