Eagle Rock Staff, Students Adapting to Era of Online Educating

We just finished up the eightieth trimester (ER 80) since our founding in the early-1990s, which we closed with a wonderful week of reflection and celebration. While you’ll be able to learn more about that final week of ER 80 in future updates published here on the Eagle Rock Blog, today we want to share more about the learning experiences we’ve designed for students during our foray into virtual learning in the time of COVID-19.

As previously described in Eagle Rock School Moves Online for the Time of COVID-19, we continue to ensure that the learning we design for our students is flexible and engaging, especially as they adjust to learning from home. Thanks to our quick-on-their-feet staff that worked hard and fast to create and facilitate new educational opportunities, students have had a variety of learning experiences to choose from and have demonstrated incredible commitment and flexibility as they transition to distance learning.

Some previous learning experiences have continued, including Fitness: Anytime, Anywhere, which features fitness challenges ranging from simply finding something active to do, to the 10-touch toilet paper challenge, where students and staff members attempt to Hacky Sack a roll of toilet paper — or maybe less valuable objects — 10 consecutive times. In addition, students, instructors, and other interested Eagle Rock staff have been posting online about their workouts. Such posts have included videos showing Eagle Rockers doing pushups, screenshots from running apps, and reports from workout apps.

The community-building aspect has been a huge success with our students. In fact, one fan-favorite has been Student Services Program Specialist/Explore Week Coordinator Annie Kelston’s video of herself performing weighted pushups with her toddler on her back.

For today’s post, we’re pleased to highlight several of our latest learning experiences, including: Continue reading…

Recent Explore Week Course Sends Students on College Campus Tours

Five Eagle Rock students recently joined a pair of administrators in a weeklong tour of California college and university campuses as a part of an Explore Week course called College Tour.

Students Edna, Malyk, Hana, Alizja, and Austin visited Caltech in Pasadena, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Santa Monica College, The Studio School in Los Angeles, UCLA, California State University of Los Angeles, and Occidental College during their tour. Leading these students were Chris Lamar, our school counselor, and Laila Hosseinzadeh, our 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellow in the Life After Eagle Rock.

And indeed, life after Eagle Rock was the entire focus of the Explore Week road trip, with students focusing on finding the perfect institute of higher learning while still in high school.

One highlight of the tour was a stop at  Continue reading…

Just Like on ‘Survivor,’ Our Grads Take Final ‘Rights of Passage’

At the end of each trimester, Eagle Rock School’s graduates head out on the trail for the traditional Grad Wild camping trip, a two-night experience that enables these grads to connect with one another and collectively and individually reflect on their Eagle Rock journey.

Much more condensed that the nearly three-week wilderness trek undertaken by our newest students, Grad Wild provides a brief but important time for grads to share their trepidations, hopes and dreams as they prepare to transition out of living at Eagle Rock.

On a Friday afternoon during the first week in December, students Alysha Dan, Javon Banks, Stacy Escobar, and Katie-Lynn DeRaps packed up their gear and headed out to the campsite, which is about a mile from the main campus. And, despite chilly temperatures, the graduates stayed up late playing card games, drinking hot chocolate and regaled each other with favorite Eagle Rock memories. Continue reading…

Latest House Retreats Rekindle the Fire for a New Trimester

Pinon Amazing Race in BoulderIn our ongoing efforts to “engage youth in their own education,” Eagle Rock School goes to great lengths to see that most of that educational engagement is interesting, positive and — in the case of our pre-trimester house retreats — rejuvenating.

Like waking up after an afternoon nap, sometimes it’s difficult to jump to your feet and get back into action. Same goes for returning to campus after a well-deserved trimester break.

House retreats enable our students to reestablish the camaraderie they had before break and reconnect with their fellow house dwellers. It’s two and a half days of “what I did on break,” punctuated by meals, competitions, sightseeing and time to refocus on the trimester immediately facing these students.

Mixed in with all that frivolity and fellowship, there are house meetings where house leaders and intramural captains are elected. And there is serious discussion about topics of importance to each living community, as well as a sober revisiting of the house mission statement.

Recently, four of our six campus houses handed us notes and photos of their house retreat happenings and we’ve related those activities below: Continue reading…

‘Staff Bingo’ Highlights the Life After Eagle Rock Fair

From the Claremont Colleges on the West Coast to Colby College in the East, from South Texas all the way north to Anchorage, Alaska, and even overseas in Uganda and the Philippines, Eagle Rock students recently learned where select Eagle Rock staff members headed off after their own high school experience.

It was a “share and tell” on a grand scale, with staff describing their own experiences immediately following high school and college. This first-ever Life After Eagle Rock Fair featured staff memories, along with photos, anecdotes and adventures, all to enliven presentations from colleges and universities about their offerings for new high school graduates / incoming students.

Life After Eagle Rock Fair 2016

Participating Eagle Rock staff members provided “fun facts” about their experiences, and at the end of the presentations, students played “Staff Bingo,” tasked with identifying what fun fact belonged to which staff member. Prizes ranged from a kitchen patrol shift cover from an Eagle Rock instructional specialist, to a trip to Safeway with two friends, and first choice to an off-campus movie or play.

Among the fascinating facts uncovered during the “Staff Bingo” portion of the evening: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Bea Salazar-Nunez, Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist

Bea-Salazar-Eagle-Rock-SchoolBea Salazar-Nunez was born in Los Angeles, Calif., but grew up in Commerce City, Colo. Ever since college, she has felt drawn to assist students — as well as their families — gain an understanding of all the options available to them after they graduate from high school. Bea is also incredibly adept at helping families navigate through what is to many a confusing and complex financial aid process.

Here at Eagle Rock, Bea assists students in exploring their options as they prepare for their journey after Eagle Rock. Besides being excellent at what she does here on campus, this artist and animal lover has other interests and avocations that we asked her about:

Eagle Rock: What year did you graduate from college, what colleges did you attend, and what was your major and minor?

Bea: I graduated from the University of Colorado Denver in 2013 with a BA in psychology, a minor in ethnic studies, and an honors thesis in biochemistry/biophysics. I also attended Marquette University for my first year of college where I was a majoring in biomedical engineering.

ER: What did you do prior to coming to work for Eagle Rock?

Bea: Prior to coming to Eagle Rock I was Continue reading…

Nine Eagle Rock School Students Earn Their Diplomas

Just in time for the holidays, nine Eagle Rock School students became the latest graduates to emerge from our campus in Estes Park, Colo. — each set to embark on that lifelong journey that almost all commencement speakers talk about.

ER 67’s grads (the 67th graduating class in the history of Eagle Rock School) received their diplomas on Friday, Dec. 11, in ceremonies that were recorded and are now available to watch online at Eagle Rock’s Ustream channel. Graduates included Ashalou Harrison, Emelia Eller, Daisy Delgado, Joey Flores, Cristian Aguiluz, Bryan Yanez, Kira Sinclair, Aaron Beckles and Saben Hinckley.

ER67-Graduates-Eagle-Rock-School

With their departure, we’re pleased to provide a little background on the graduates, along with words of wisdom from each:

Ashalou Harrison joined us in ER 59 and was a Juniper House resident who was born in Nepal and raised in Hawaii. Highlights of her time at Eagle Rock include working at Rocky Mountain National Park for two summers and traveling with the Eagle Rock Professional Development (PDC) team to San Francisco for a PDC engagement.

This athletic and funny grad, who’s heading off to college after graduation, suggests future Eagle Rock students, “don’t force upon anything — just go with the flow.”

Emelia Eller, ER 60, is from Austin, Texas and St. Louis, Mo., but has spent the past few years as a Continue reading…

Welcoming a Pair of New Instructional Specialists

We’re excited to welcome two new full-time instructional specialists to the Eagle Rock family, each of whom have been on campus over the past four weeks or so to get the lay of the land and soak up some early orientation.

Our new instructors include Beatriz (Bea) Salazar, who was born in South Central Los Angeles, and grew up in Commerce City, Colo., and Eriq Acosta, a Loveland, Colo., native who finished high school in Johnstown, Colo.

Bea Salazar
Bea Salazar

Bea received her education at 11 different schools through her lifetime, and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Most recently, she earned a Master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Colorado State University (CSU).

Her most recent job was in the Housing and Dining Services department at CSU, where Bea served as an assistant residence director.

Bea first heard about Eagle Rock while chatting with a colleague at CSU about her passion for educating young people of color. Reflecting on that discussion, Bea said, “I loved the determination the students had in making the best future they could, and having adults who believed and encouraged their dreams.”

Bea is our new Life After Eagle Rock (LAER) instructional specialist, and she’s excited to build new relationships and opportunities, and learn all there is to learn about Eagle Rock and our brand of progressive education. A fun random fact about Bea? “I have a love for old cars! My lifelong dream is to rebuild an old Ford truck.”

Eriq Acosta acquired Navajo, Pueblo and Chicano origins from his mother’s side of the family, and Comanche and Mexican from his father’s side. Eriq has a Bachelor’s degree in Continue reading…

Introducing Eagle Rock School’s Latest Graduates

Springtime graduations are among our favorite times of year at Eagle Rock School. It’s an event that coincides with mother birds nudging their young offspring out of the nest, and no, the irony does not escape those of us who educationally nurture these young folks.

In the case of our latest grads — who take the stage starting at 4pm MT on Friday, April 10, 2015 — we’re celebrating the successful completion of the Eagle Rock experience for four inspiring high school graduates, including Song Candea, Sonja Stolmar, Maya West, and Hunter Gantz.

Eagle-Rock-School-Graduates-ER65

Below is a little background on each, and even a piece of advice from these veteran Eagle Rockers:

Song Candea joined us in ER 57 (the 57th trimester of Eagle Rock) and has been an active member in the Eagle Rock community ever since. He hails from Niwot, Colorado, and resided in Aspen House throughout his three years here.

Song has been described as an incredibly strong leader who leads by example, taking every opportunity given to him to grow as an individual. Because of this mentality, he was recently selected as the Student Wilderness Instructor for the incoming students of ER 64.

His success in his roles with the Outdoor Education department is paving the way for future student involvement. And with this passion for the outdoors he is seeking to major in Outdoor Education while attending Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, beginning this fall. Song also showed his talents as an active member of the musical improvisation ensemble, choir, as well as acting in the play In the Blood.

Song’s advice for all the educators reading this: “Teach students what they want to learn and they will learn it.”

Hunter Gantz is another Colorado native — from Boulder — who also joined us in ER 57. Hunter was immediately drawn to the multitude of music and performance opportunities on campus — from musicals to choir and a cappella, and poetry slams.

Hunter was in the Eagle Rock theater productions of Continue reading…

We’re in the Market for a Great Guidance Counselor

Most educational institutions set aside time for graduating seniors to meet with a counselor to discuss their future ambitions, and most of these advisers do a good job of pointing grads toward a suitable college that they can afford or a promising vocation based on their interests.

But here at the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, we go a little overboard when it comes to assisting in the future planning of our students.

DSC_2710_BThat’s because most of our students initially found success elusive at their previous school, and we’re bound and determined to make that a non-issue in their future lives. We care about each other’s success, our student’s experience, and we work hard to constantly innovate.

Which is exactly why we’re advertising for a new guidance counselor to assist our students in planning for their futures. We don’t even call these folks “guidance counselors.” In fact, the job title reads, “Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist,” or LAER IS, if you’re into awkward acronyms.

Truth be told, a position at Eagle Rock isn’t for everyone. We add new meaning to the term non-traditional, and our “classroom setting” extends way past the final bell and into the evenings and weekends. So if you’re looking for a job rather than a lifestyle, fill out an application at a school where they follow a strict set of standard curriculum documents and hours of operation.

But if you believe in an educational process that supports diverse high school students in reengaging in their own education and finding and nurturing their gifts, or you like the notion of empowering students to explore and examine their options for life after high school in a deep and critical way, then we just might be your huckleberry.

Riddle us this: Do you believe that youth can benefit from coaching and preparation during high school that can make them even more successful after they graduate? Does a boarding school that bases its disciplinary approach on relationships and respect resonate with you?

What it all comes down to is an applicant with boundless energy, an inherent trust in the ability of students, a passion for the array of options that exist for youth, a deep desire to work on both school wide initiatives and with individual students, and you have ambitions to impact secondary education nationally.

If you’ve got it, we want to hear from you.

As the successful applicant for the Life After Eagle Rock instructional specialist (LAER IS) position, you would serve as part of Continue reading…