Eagle Rock School Continues to Place the Focus on Literacy and Literature

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” ~ James Baldwin (American novelist, playwright, and activist)

For more than five decades, educators throughout the United States have taken Baldwin’s comments to heart, stressing the importance of reading and words to allow students to navigate their future.

Poet Edgar Kunz visits Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, Colo.

And, indeed, literacy and literature — which we believe helps students unleash their imaginations, relate to the world around them, and actualize their literacy skills — is forefront in the curriculum at Eagle Rock School, with hands-on experiences such as the one I am attempting to pass on to my students this trimester. Called Adventure Writing, this is the latest class delivered through an experiential education context that emphasizes the importance of reading and writing.

Most recently, a class called Continue reading…

Second Half of Eagle Rock School’s 78th Trimester Gets Underway

We’re entering the second half of our 78th trimester, and as promised in our post about this trimester’s first grouping of classes (see: Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School), we’re now publishing a follow-up post featuring a rundown of the classroom offerings for this particular portion of the school year. Call it ER 78: The Sequel, if you will.

Each of our classes is carefully contemplated, curated and contained within our curriculum — constructed specifically for students seeking a purpose in school and in life. It’s an approach that has worked continuously for the past 25 or so years for the young people who are studying hard and experiencing a new life with and through the Eagle Rock community.

Without further ado, here’s what we’re tackling on the backside of ER 78 (the 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s): Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Citizen Scientists Monitoring Our Changing Environment

For the first five weeks of this trimester, six Eagle Rock School students have partnered with staff at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) for the launch of its citizen science initiative — Lily Lake Phenology.

Phenology, which is vital to many aspects of society, is the study of the timing of biological life cycles (nature’s calendar, if you will). Things like budding leaves, blooming flowers, or migration of animal species. So, why should high school students care about any of this? Because long- and short-term changes in areas such as animal migration and flowering are related to our weather and climate patterns. With more information about how plants are reacting to the climate, national park staff can make informed decisions on how to manage species that might be at risk.

At the first data collection site, Eagle Rock School student Hendrick looks for catkins and leaf buds on a willow with RMNP Superintendent, Darla Sidles.

Sound like a worthwhile project? Of course, it is. Especially when you consider that seasonal changes in plants and animals happen quickly and require sustained and frequent observation to monitor.

That’s where our students, serving in the role of citizen scientists come into the picture. For two days each week, students in our Phenology of Lily Lake class take a Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Pursue the Psychology of Self

The classes we offer here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center have always pointed our students toward self-discovery, self-improvement, and existing successfully within a society that can be fickle, conflicting, and confusing.

In Social Psychology, a five-week class currently underway in this, our 78th trimester, a dozen students are exploring the big picture in order to identify the conditioned behaviors that we all exhibit. The class explores the thinking process of the individual in order to learn how to establish and nourish healthy habits — keeping in mind that each of us has a psyche that is based on our personal and family history.

And, of course, that history is built upon the existing culture and society, which is dictated by evolutionary and biological needs.

A primary focus that is being explored more than halfway through this class is the “self-other distinction,” which means people instinctively and inherently distinguish between their own feelings and Continue reading…

Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School

Each trimester, we offer classes that traditional high schools might term progressive or unique. And while we pride ourselves on these offerings (please see our latest class descriptions below) because they truly engage students in their own education, there’s an approach to education that’s at work here at Eagle Rock School that may not be readily evident by just reading a bulleted list of class names.

Ours is a high school that has deep interest for classroom topics that make students think, build and validate their skills, and provide insight into what to expect in the real world upon graduation. And if everyone involved in the process — students and instructors alike — experience enjoyment along the way, all the better. Our instructors are as knowledgeable and helpful as our students eventually are eager and enthusiastic.

Lily Lake — Site of ER 78’s Phenology of Lily Lake Class.

It’s worked quite well for us this past quarter of a century as we continue to provide meaningful and engaging classes for our student body. Below are some of the topics we’re tackling this trimester, as well as a description of each. We’ll publish a second edition of classroom offerings for this, our 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s, at the beginning of July: Continue reading…