New Event Celebrates Student Successes at the Halfway Mark

At Eagle Rock School, we place the same value on personal growth as we do our insistence on academic success. Over the course of their time here, there are countless opportunities for our students to challenge themselves and develop their own character.

This trimester, we’re piloting a celebration to recognize students’ personal growth at the half-way point of their time here. It takes an abundance of commitment and dedication to become successful at Eagle Rock, and we find it often takes about a year for our students to fully find their groove here. Thus, our new Mid-Career Celebration is what we’re blogging about today.

Eagle Rock School students achieve growth in many ways, including by learning about, experiencing, and practicing effective communication skills, dealing with conflict, and embodying a centering practice. For example, students begin their Eagle Rock School career with a month-long wilderness course focusing on not only becoming part of a community but becoming comfortable with one’s self.

Upon their return to campus, these new students immediately begin the practice of effective communication and teamwork. And they do that while residing in a diverse community and participating in such non-volunteer tasks as Continue reading…

Explore Week Sends Eagle Rock Students in Search of Adventure and Learning

This trimester, the Eagle Rock student body finds itself in pursuit of several outdoor adventures among the half-dozen or so Explore Week course offerings. The wilderness-style courses include camping and canoeing along two popular rivers, as well as another adventure course that features instruction — and participation — in some serious mountain biking.

Also among courses underway this week are a pair of hands-on projects that promise to improve the appearance of our 640-acre campus, including a group-participation mural to grace a wall near our Human Performance Center, and a spruce up for a new on-campus construction project that’s nearing completion.

Here’s what’s going over this five-day period, both on and off campus:

Mountain biking — There’smuch more to mountain biking then just hopping on a saddle and pedaling up or downhill, as students in this Explore Week course are learning. Among the tasks our students are choosing to take on are how to assess an entire mountain bike for mechanical issues, how to adjust wheel bearings, how to change a tube, and how to adjust shifting and brakes for optimal performance on the trail. In addition, students have been spending time each day riding bikes, with longer rides facing them at the end of the week.

The instructor for this course is Devin Konecny, who has a 15-year background in experimental plasma physics, computer diagnostics, machining, and Continue reading…

When It Comes to Social Media, Eagle Rock Continues to be Authentic

Authenticity matters. It matters in the classroom, where students are much smarter and interested than many educators want to give them credit for. And it matters online, where followers and fans of brands, organizations, and institutions know when you’re trying to be something that you’re not.

Here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, we’re known for our tactful yet radical candor. When we publish a blog post or something through one of our social media channels, you can expect that it will be authentic, meaningful, and beneficial for those who care about engaging youth in their own education and/or keeping up with what’s happening within our school or professional development center for educators.

Eagle Rock School Social Media

If authenticity matters to you, then we’d like to “re-invite” you to visit and engage with us through our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube. With so many people visiting our social accounts, it is imperative that we continue to make improvements. For instance, there’s the Home page of our website, which now features a visual news feed displaying all of the latest Eagle Rock-related content broken out by social platform (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Here’s a snapshot of where to find, follow, and engage with us through social media: Continue reading…

Field Trip Shows Just How Much Black Lives Matter

For a second consecutive year in the month of February, Eagle Rock students and staff gathered to celebrate our organization’s Black Lives Matter Day. On Saturday, February 23rd, forty-plus members of our community traveled 70 miles to Downtown Denver to participate in four distinct educational and community-focused activities.

One group of students and staff visited the United Capoeira Association – Colorado chapter in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District to learn about the history and practice of capoeira— an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music. Developed 500 years ago by African slaves mainly from Angola, capoeira served as a self-defense technique that today incorporates kicking, head-butting, slap-boxing, deception, evasion, and even walking using one’s hands.

A second group of students met with Adri Norris— a Denver artist known for crafting art and stories of women throughout history to inspire, teach and empower. Alongside Norris, Eagle Rock students and staff created Continue reading…

‘More Than a Game’ Shines a Light on More Than Basketball

Our 2018/2019 Public Allies teaching fellow in Human Performance, Jocelyn Rodriguez, has implemented a program called “More Than a Game” that targets students who want to develop their both their basketball and leadership skills. To be a part of the program, students are expected to exhibit leadership in the Eagle Rock community, participate in various team-building activities, and put forward the effort to succeed not only on the basketball court, but in the classroom as well.

Jocelyn takes over where Cordell Church — our 2016/2017 Public Allies teaching fellow in Human Performance — left off. Cordell initiated a co-ed basketball team two years ago in order to create a safe space for students to interact with the game, learn some sports and life skills, and have fun at the same time. (Learn more about that offering by reading For Some at Eagle Rock, Basketball is the Only Game in Town here on the Eagle Rock Blog.)

Under Jocelyn’s tutelage, the 18 students who are participating in the More Than a Game program are engaging in various leadership roles, including serving as team captain and in leading team huddles. In particular, one Eagle Rock School student has been Continue reading…

House Parents Describe Their Eagle Rock Student Housing Experiences

At first glance, the job of being a house parent for a group of six teen-aged boys and an equal number of teen-aged girls could be a tall order. And as challenging as it is to properly support a dozen students on a daily and nightly basis, imagine a house full of young adults when it comes to being engaged in their own education and living community.

Three of our six house parents recently wrapped up their first trimester in this critical on-campus role. And, not unexpectedly, our administrators again proved to be really good at selecting the best staff members to serve as house parents. We’re also experts at preparing and supporting those house honchos for what the job entails, but some things — as you’ll read below — can only be learned while performing the job itself.

That being said, no one can describe the house parent experience as well as these fresh adult leaders. We’ve asked the three newbies to reflect on what those experiences meant to them personally. But first, a little background on our on-campus Living Village, which is made up of six houses — each designed to accommodate up to 12 students in two separate sleeping areas. Continue reading…

Part of What Makes Explore Week so Successful is the Instructors

This trimester’s five-day Explore Week is currently underway, with four course offerings that include jewelry making, woodworking, dance, and preparing for life after Eagle Rock School. Our campus in Estes Park, Colo., is nationally known for the quality of our progressive approach toward reengaging youth in their own education, and never are our educational offerings more exciting and well, non-traditional, than during Explore Week.

That acknowledgement of excellence has a lot to do with the subject matter, which — in past trimesters — has included helpful real-life topics such as balancing a budget, wilderness first aid, and video production. Just as important, and perhaps a bit more fun, are course offerings that instruct students in salsa dancing, whitewater rafting, or using improv poetry to communicate.

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But the main ingredient for all of these courses is the instructors, each one sought out and invited to relate their own expertise and life experiences on the topics they know best. Our staff go to great lengths to attract these educational guides for each of the unique courses offered during Explore Week. Many of the instructors, as you’ll see below, have no teaching background — at least in the traditional sense. However, each has a passion for their particular skill or calling, and with a little persuasion of our staff’s part, we ask these diverse individuals to take a week off and share that passion and knowledge with our students.

That being said, below we are introducing each of these instructors for current edition Explore Week, as well as a little about each course itself: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Students Are Halfway through Another Educational Explore Week

Regular classes have been set aside for the week as Eagle Rock students turn their attention to physical and mental explorations that range from touring Labyrinth Canyon via canoe, to a tour of nearly a dozen colleges and universities in Southern California for those seeking a higher education when they graduate from Eagle Rock School.

It’s all part of Explore Week, with unique course offerings that fall well outside the realm of formal education and more into the category of leaping feet first in to real-life experiences. Students are currently halfway through this — one of three Explore Weeks held each year— and below is a listing and brief description of the six course offerings in which they are participating:

25th Anniversary Prep Crew: For this course, 10 students have volunteered to stay on campus to help us produce this weekend’s 25th anniversary celebration of Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s founding back in the early 1990s. (Learn more about this weekend’s celebrations by visiting our 25th Anniversary section of our website.)

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Several of these students are learning about event management and organization, while others are getting an education in property maintenance and management. In addition to picking up a fistful of service hours, these students will play a vital role in making sure that everything is in place for a successful anniversary celebration this coming weekend.

There are also fun evening activities underway throughout the week, giving students the chance to Continue reading…

Doing Nothing on Thanksgiving is Not an Option at Eagle Rock School

One thing you can’t say about Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock School is that there’s nothing to do. This is one of those times of the year when students, staff and instructors are in accord that this mountainside campus of ours is indeed a great place to spend late-November holidays.

And, much like the name of the holiday, there’s plenty of gratitude to go around as our community prepares for literally dozens of events and activities over a four-day period. It’s a time when we all gather together to celebrate how fortunate we are to live in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by forests that a lot of us like to call home.

Thanksgiving Day 'Gathering' at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center
Thanksgiving Day ‘Gathering’ at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center

Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock is about celebrating the importance of having each other and remembering that we are all here to better ourselves. It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve done to improve ourselves and what we’ve done to help others. It’s a celebration of how we have impacted each other’s lives in a positive way and to celebrate those successes.

Whether we’re indoors creating art or standing outside in the cold playing touch football, the idea is to spend time together.

The highlight of the holiday, of course, is today’s Thanksgiving Day dinner at 3pm, skillfully prepared by Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Now Equipped with FUSE Studio

If you were to ask a group of high school students to raise their hands if they were interested in, or thought they were good at math or science, recent statistics claim that few of those students would be excitedly waving their arms and shouting, “Me! Me!”

That’s because, when it comes to mathematics and the sciences, American teen-agers rank at about midpoint — and behind many advanced industrial nations — when faced with such things as chemistry flasks and quadratic formulas.

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In fact, results from the most recent PISA testing (Programme for International Student Assessment) place America’s high schoolers in 38th place out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science. U.S. students ranked 30th in math and 19th in science among the 35 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

So you can understand our excitement at being selected to partner with Northwestern University to bring a FUSE laboratory to our campus. As part of its NextUp initiative to interest teens in tech careers, CompTIA has partnered with FUSE at Northwestern University in a program that is equipping 21 schools in nine states with Continue reading…