Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s Director of Curriculum Janet Johnson

Today, we come full circle with Janet Johnson, who has been our Director of Curriculum since mid-June, and now becomes the first Eagle Rocker to be profiled for a second time on Meet the Team.

Back in August of 2014, in a post titled Meet The Team: Eagle Rock’s Science Instructor and House Parent – Janet Johnson, we spotlighted Janet, who at that time was well into her 13th year at Eagle Rock, serving as a science instructor and one of the house parents at Aspen House. She later supported the school’s new instructors for two years as they transitioned into our community.

Janet left Eagle Rock four years ago to become Director of Competency-based Learning and Director of Curriculum at RiseUp Community School in downtown Denver. While there, she helped develop and direct RiseUp’s learning competences — Think, Advocate, and Grow — as well as supported teachers in their efforts to create classes that push students’ learning and growth.

Now back at Eagle Rock as our Director of Curriculum, Janet leads an academic team made up of nine instructional specialists and their Public Allies Instructional Fellows, as well as recruits, hires, supports, and mentors new instructional specialists. She also conducts performance reviews with all of our instructional specialists, coordinates course scheduling and instructor workloads, as serves on our in-house leadership team.

Recently, we sat down with Janet — for a second time — to find out a little more about her professional background and some personal stuff. We love the personal stuff. Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Athletics Coordinator Jocelyn Rodriguez

This trimester marks the beginning of Jocelyn Rodriguez’ second year at Eagle Rock, where she formerly served as our Public Allies Fellow in Human Performance. Recently, she was asked to return as a full-time staff member, working in the new adjunct position of Eagle Rock athletic coordinator.

In her now role, Jocelyn is teaching several classes, including Changing the Game, a class that focuses on what it means to be a coach in professional sports. In addition, she is the new house parent for Spruce House.

As the athletics coordinator, Jocelyn continues to sustain our basketball program while also coordinating athletic events for the Eagle Rock community. Earlier this year, we highlighted Jocelyn’s work in this area in a post title ‘MoreThan a Game’ Shines a Light on More Than Basketball.

Jocelyn also now manages Eagle Rock’s Sports Challenge partnership with Strive at Haverford College, and will be attending Sports Challenge next year — a two-week program — with two members of the basketball team at Eagle Rock.

We recently caught up with Jocelyn between Eagle Rock tasks and asked her to fill us in a bit on her work experience, personal life, and some of her favorite things. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading…

New House Parents Settling in at Ponderosa House and Spruce House

We’re not sure if it’s the result of good luck, or skill, or just longtime experience, but it seems every time we have the need for a new house parent for one of our six student housing complexes here at Eagle Rock School, we always end up with staff members who are perfectly suited for the role.

Each of the six houses within our on-campus Living Village accommodates up to a dozen co-eds in two separate sleeping wings, with common areas and shared community values being the focus in between. And our house parents are there to support the community, act as a sounding board, make sure the house chores are done, and so, so, so much more.

That being said, we are proud to introduce new house parents taking over this trimester at Ponderosa and Spruce.

Elizabeth Rivera and Carlos Perez are new house parents at Ponderosa House but not new to Eagle Rock. This married couple arrived in Estes Park in the fall of 2017 from Miami, where Elizabeth worked in the hotel and hospitality industry for more than two decades, and Carlos served as a cook at a variety of Italian, American, and Latin restaurants for more than 15 years.

Elizabeth is originally from Lima, Peru, and Carlos hails from Maracay, Venezuela. At Eagle Rock, Elizabeth is a business office administrative assistant, assisting parents and students with Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Cedric Josey, Culture & Societies Instructional Specialist

Here at Eagle Rock, Societies and Cultures is our equivalent of Social Studies, and Cedric Josey, who has taught in middle schools and high schools in Massachusetts, is our new culture & societies instructional specialist.

While his new position makes Cedric the person on our campus primarily responsible for curriculum objectives related to world and U.S. history, physical and cultural geography, U.S. government, and civics, it’s his love and pursuit of original works of music that we’d like to highlight in introducing him to the Eagle Rock Community.

(Image courtesy of NewBedfordGuide.com)

Cedric’s love of music began while singing in a church choir as a child, and he later remembers driving his neighbors a bit crazy while learning to play the saxophone. So, years later, when he found himself living alone in a New Bedford, Mass., apartment, he picked up a guitar and quietly learned to play and write music in order to avoid disturbing those around him.

Most impressive, while working with Destination New Bedford — an effort of the City of New Bedford’s Office of Tourism and Marketing to highlight that seaside town’s unique attributes — Cedric wrote and produced a song called “Being in New Bedford,” that was used extensively in the city’s promotion efforts. (Scroll to the end of today’s post for a video featuring Cedric performing this song himself).

Beyond his love for music, and in addition to teaching in public middle and high schools, Cedric has worked with the Youth Corps within the State of Massachusetts’ Trustees of Reservations, which owns and cares for more than 25,000 acres across the Bay State. There, he provided youth in his community with an opportunity to learn in-depth leadership skills in an outdoor environment during the summer months. Ask him about it and Cedric will tell you it was an opportunity for him, as an African American male, to mentor youth in a way that highlighted an alternative path to success — outside of what society or peers might suggest.

For today’s post, we asked Cedric to fill us in on some additional details of his life and career to date, and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellows

Summertime will soon be just a memory as Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center’s students, instructors, staff members, and campus administrators make their way back to Estes Park for our 79th trimester.

Among those new and returning Eagle Rockers is a cohort of instructional, professional development, and student services fellows. This time around, our Public Allies Fellows includes a total of 12 new and returning charges, each either beginning or continuing a year-long commitment of service to the Eagle Rock community.

Public Allies Eagle Rock

Beginning next week, our dozen fellows will jump onboard and participate in everything we have to offer when it comes to education and professional development. And each of these fellows will be responsible for supporting alternative and progressive approaches to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on engaging students in their own education.

Claiming the title of Fellow is no walk in the park. Helping to mold fair and equitable societies takes work, and the task requires a stubborn passion and the courage to take action. Funded by AmeriCorps, Public Allies is centered around this concept… that everyone has the ability to lead and anyone can be an inspiration to others.

With that conception at the forefront, each of the fellows featured below has committed to becoming active participants in our unique residential and community-based form of education between now and next August. Each has already expressed or demonstrated a passion for teaching and youth development, as well as an interest in progressive education — which is very much what Eagle Rock School is all about.

Below, we present a brief bio and some random facts about each of these young leaders: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Chris Lamar — School Counselor/Life After Eagle Rock Instructional Specialist

Chris Lamar joined us in November of 2017 as a part-time mental health therapist and admissions support specialist and is now our school counselor and Life After Eagle Rock instructional specialist.

His primary responsibility here at Eagle Rock is to empower students to overcome their internal and external obstacles, as well as ensuring that they fulfill all requirements necessary to graduate and move toward whatever post-graduation opportunity they’re seeking. In addition, Chris works in admissions, interviewing incoming students to assess whether they’re a good fit for Eagle Rock. He says it’s also an opportunity to discover their personalities, their strengths and the ways in which they might need support.

Chris_Lamar_Eagle-Rock

We asked Chris to flesh out his school and job experience in an informal Q&A setting and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s 3 Latest Grads Have Big Plans Following Graduation

If you work at Eagle Rock, there’s always a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, especially at this time of the year. In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving on our mountainside campus in Estes Park, Colo., many of our students, staff, faculty and administrators are making plans for the upcoming Winter Trimester Break (Dec. 18, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019).

But before parting ways until the New Year, there’s one more major year-end celebration on the calendar. This Friday, Dec. 14, the Eagle Rock community will gather or go online to celebrate the high school graduation of three more Eagle Rock School students.

Eagle Rock School Dec 2018 Graduates

In particular, it’s Spencer Lanier, Hailee Williams, and Itxel Nava-Barron’s turn to take to the stage at our Human Performance Center — beginning at 4 p.m. (Mountain Time) — to accept their high school diplomas. For the folks at home, you can follow along online via the livestream that’ll be made available exclusively through the Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center page on Facebook.

As you’ll learn by reading the entries below, one of our new graduates says his immediately plans call for enrolling in a community college and completing his college prerequisites before taking classes at a four-year college or university in starting in 2020. Our other two grads say they’re going to grab their scissors and combs and take on cosmetology classes in order to learn hairstyling, with one expressing interest in buying an Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Christopher Iafrati, Human Performance Center Adjunct Instructional Specialist

Earlier this fall, Christopher lafrati was named our Adjunct Instructional Specialist for our Human Performance Center (HPC) — a role that has the Upstate New York native tasked with organizing morning exercise and intramurals, as well as overseeing safety in our Olympic size swimming pool, and teaching classes that help Eagle Rock School students establish and maintain healthy life skills.

Christopher lafratiWhile Christopher is new to his current role on our instructional staff, he’s is no stranger to Eagle Rock, having served as part of the HPC team as a Public Allies Fellow in 2015/2016. And lucky for us, he’s also no stranger to taking on optional assignments, which this trimester includes teaching yoga and becoming a part of our school’s ensemble group.

Our new adjunct instructional specialist received a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from the State University of New York at Buffalo (aka University at Buffalo) and, following his fellowship year, returned to that school to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.

We recently asked Christopher to fill us in on a few other details of his life, and below are his responses: Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Jannai Smith, Human Performance Instructional Specialist

Jannai SmithJannai Smith, the Human Performance Instructional Specialist here at Eagle Rock School, kick-starts her work days by taking our students through their morning exercises, conducting intramurals and recreation activities. In addition, she’s responsible for our Human Performance Center, where she plans, organizes and directs the operations of sports and fitness programs, activities and services aimed at addresses students’ physical fitness and healthy living.

Jannai joined us this past summer, and she arrived here with an impressive work history, having been a physical education teacher at a public school in Muncie, Ind. As a coach, she recalls spending many nights on the road, traveling to different games for volleyball, basketball and track & field. Prior to that, Jannai worked for three years in a juvenile detention/treatment center and another three years as a Ball State Recreational Center intern.

We asked Jannai to tell us a little about herself, and here is what she had to say:

Eagle Rock: Why did you choose to come to work for Eagle Rock?

Jannai Smith: I decided to apply because Eagle Rock offered Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s 2018/2019 Fellows

Summer break is winding down here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and that means we’re getting ready to welcome a new cohort of instructional, professional development, and student services fellows. Our 2018/2018 cohort includes ten new and three returning fellows — a baker’s dozen who are about to begin or continue a year-long commitment to service.

Eagle Rock Fellows 2018 2019

Our 13 fellows will immerse themselves in everything we have to offer in education and professional development — each responsible for supporting alternative and progressive approaches to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on playing an important role in engaging our students in their own education.

Below, we present a brief educational history and biography of each of our new and returning fellows:

Amelia la Plante Horne, 2018/2019 Fellow in Residential Life

Eagle Rock School FellowAmelia was born and raised in Las Vegas, N.M. After graduating from Eagle Rock School (she arrived in May of 2011, graduated in April of 2014), Amelia attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she designed and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ecological Praxis in Healing — a multidisciplinary degree that explored environmental science, anthropology, philosophy and psychology.

During her college years, Amelia’s non-academic activities included creating a campus Continue reading…