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…

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…

Instructors Tackle Tools for Competency-based Learning and Equity

Each year, our school’s Instructional Team selects an annual focus for improving our educational practices. Past focus areas have included student-centered coaching, classroom culture, and common assessments. This year, we are focusing on competency-based learning and equity.

Competency-based learning can go by other names in educational literature, including proficiency-based learning and mastery learning. Competency-based learning is one tool we use at Eagle Rock toward the achievement of our ultimate goal for students: equitable attainment of high standards of learning. We drew from a variety of sources to define what competency-based learning and equity mean to us and honed in on our definitions: Continue reading…

The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings

It’s the beginning of our 77th trimester here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center and our students are already well entrenched in furthering their education with meaningful classes — many promoting strong leadership and good citizenry in the world they will soon inherit. A rundown of those classes is offered below, but first, we’d like to give you some insight into how we plan for and assess educational progress here at Eagle Rock School.

(image courtesy of Josán Perales)

At Eagle Rock, we’ve long maintained an “Individual Learning Plan” for our students, as well as “Power Standards” that assess student progress within this plan. All of this is organized around what we call our “5 Expectations,” which include:

  1. Creating Healthy Life Choices
  2. Effective Communication
  3. Leadership for Justice
  4. Engaged Global Citizen
  5. Expanding Knowledge Base

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP for short) is a means of assessing each student’s progress in completing their graduation requirements. The plan is divvied up among three sections, which include: Continue reading…

Round 2 of Eagle Rock’s Fall Trimester Classes Now Underway

This week, we find ourselves well into our 76th trimester here at Eagle Rock School, and we’re taking advantage of this space today to describe another offering of classes in which our students are currently participating. Whether you’re a perspective Eagle Rock School student, client of our Professional Development Center, or a parent of a current Eagle Rocker, reading the following class descriptions may be beneficial to the journey you’re currently on or are about to undertake.

Since a significant portion of our focus is on delivering an education that truly seeks to engage students in their own education, we take pride in describing these topics for our many stakeholders. The idea is to keep you informed about the learning experiences offered here at Eagle Rock and hopefully, enhance your own engagement in — and takeaways from — our unique approach to education.

Cinquefoil-classroom-in-the-LRC

While we consider the basics of education to be most important, we believe students are eager to acquire knowledge through the learning of practical life tips, current social issues, appreciation of the arts, and the benefits of staying physically and mentally active. As a result, we believe you’ll find this current listing of Eagle Rock School classes meets all those objectives and more.

The most recent group of five-week courses began earlier this week and, unless otherwise noted, run for five weeks: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School’s Unique Brand of Classes Begin on Monday

As Eagle Rock School kicks off its 76th trimester this month (fondly referred to here on campus as ER 76), our progressive and engaging class offerings are once again taking center stage, with the first batch described below. Classes start on Monday for most students, with the noticeable exception of new students, who head out on their introductory three-week wilderness orientation course the first day of October.

For everyone else, class offerings this trimester range from a class called Fiberlicious, which has little to do with fiber as a foodstuff and more to do about employing fiber items as legitimate artwork. In addition, there is a class called Winning the Votethat explores collecting data, analyzing polls, and making predictions on electoral outcomes.

Without further ado, we offer a partial listing of classes that begin Monday. Unless otherwise noted, each class runs for five weeks:

(Eagle) Rock the Vote: School elections don’t always get the heart pounding, with many students shrugging their shoulders and saying, “Who cares?” Or maybe, they don’t think their vote matters. Or maybe, they’re still too young to vote in a “real” election. This five-week class has students organizing school-wide political campaigns, participating in election rallies, and meeting people from a wide spectrum of political beliefs. In addition, students will learn about our nation’s voting history and electoral process and the history and voting processes of other democracies across the globe.

Vote-Image

Fiberlicious: Fiber art techniques are not limited to weaving, felting, batik work, silk painting, sewing and up-cycling clothing. In this 10-week course, students are learning how to embellish wearable art with ribbons, buttons and beads. Each student in this class must research a period of time and fashion to create a story board for a presentation to share with class. And students will present their wearable fiber arts during a fashion week on the last week of class — offering each a chance to express their voices as fiber artists — both in written form and Continue reading…

Our 75th Trimester Continues with Even More Unique Class Offerings

With another successful Explore Week behind us — and the celebration last weekend of our 25th anniversary of reengaging youth in their own education — Eagle Rock School is back to normal, with students absorbed in a number of new classroom experiences.

“Back to normal” might be a stretch when it comes to our campus, which has pretty much been delivering progressive education to its student body for what is currently the halfway point of our 75th trimester.

A second collection of five-week classes is underway at Eagle Rock, with offerings that include hands-on internships at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, methods of creating actual change in society, the meditative mode of Buddhism, and even a class on the coolness of comics.

Here then is the second installment of ER-75 classroom adventures at Eagle Rock:

Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado,  USA

RMNP Internship: Students accepted into this program are performing internships within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Students are participating in a number of divisions, including Continue reading…