Eagle Rock’s Student Body Begins 74th Trimester of Progressive Classes

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The first trimester of 2018 is well underway here at Eagle Rock School, marking a total of 74 trimesters since we began our own progressive brand of education back in the early 1990s.

And by progressive education, we’re talking about competency-based learning rather than a traditional education platform, the latter which might offer students “book learning,” but often falls well short of life experience, personal development and an open-eye view of the people who populate this planet.

Photo © by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash | Used with permission
Photo © by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash | Used with permission.

For example, this trimester we’re offering a class for camera buffs who appreciate that photography doesn’t have to revolve around a rectangular cellphone with a camera attachment. We’re talking old school black-and-white photography here, complete with darkroom experience and creative writings to accompany students’ camera art.

Or a human sexuality class that goes way beyond the typical high school “sex ed” programs of yesteryear that featured archaic body part posters and stern warnings about promiscuity. In this class, students find themselves in a safe, comfortable environment where they can discuss important issues such as gender and sexual identity, consent, contraceptives and healthcare access.

Below is a listing and short description of each of this trimester’s class offerings, with the first three classes scheduled for 10 weeks and remainder for five weeks.

Data Analysis — In this 10-week class, students are looking for patterns and using statistics to answer self-generated questions. They are giving a critical eye to both useful and unreliable information and weighing the difference. And they’re analyzing data using infographics, written articles, presentation, and even blogs. Each student’s work is reviewed and receives feedback from experts in the field of data analysis. And then the revisions begin. It’s all designed to push our students thinking muscles to the extreme.

Neuroscience — Here’s an opportunity for students to learn exactly what’s happening in that brain of theirs. They are exploring the physical makeup of brain matter, as well as the physiology and “habits” of the human nervous system. They are learning how different parts of the brain and nervous system work together to allow daily function and how those systems develop specific habits and conditioned tendencies in response to the individual’s environment and experiences — including trauma. By understanding individual conditioned tendencies and habits, people can have more control over their nervous systems and make predictions about their own health. Talk about self-examination!

Exposure — As described above, this is an old school black-and-white film camera class that devours poems to discover personal insights. Students are achieving a beginner’s level of mastery in black-and-white photography and creative writing. They are developing and processing their film in a darkroom, as well as providing original words to describe their photographic masterpieces. At the end of the class, students will be part of a public exhibition either in Estes Park or here on campus that includes their printed word and their photography.


Musical ‘Allegiance’ — This student-produced play tells the story of the Kimura family, who were among 120,000 other Japanese-Americans forced to leave their homes after the events of Pearl Harbor. The family is torn between serving their country and standing up against the same country that has done them wrong. In this class, beginning and advanced theatre students are developing or improving basic singing and acting concepts through their character’s perspective. Students who are successful in their audition and callback will participate in weekly rehearsals, as well as learn about costuming, make up, and set construction. They will also attend professional theater engagements and participate in a final cast dinner and reflection. Performances of ‘Allegiance’ will be at 7:30 p.m. on April 5, 6, and 7 in the Ruesch Auditorium at the YMCA of The Rockies in Estes Park.

The Science and Physiology of Sex and Love — Romantic love is the theme of this class as students explore scientific and literary texts from such authors as Helen Fisher, Emily Nagoski and Kahlil Gibran. The objective is to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary and cultural origins of romantic love. Students will contextualize their own experiences and beliefs about sex and love in order to determine what it is they value and need from intimate relationships. The final project for this class will involve a creative critique of cultural representations of love — such as romantic comedies, commercials and holidays — to be presented at one of our daily gatherings.

No Wasted Words — To the author of “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn,” the word “very” is a waste of space on a page. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) believed a writer can pen any article or book without using that word. In this class, future novelists and writers are unlocking the secrets to writing both fiction and nonfiction, employing the techniques — and suggestions — of the great writers. They are drafting, sharing, and revising their work constantly, with the objective of presenting eight to 10 pages of creative writing and producing a chapbook (portfolio) of their work.

Photo © by Evan Dennis on Unsplash | Used with permission.
Photo © by Evan Dennis on Unsplash | Used with permission.

Human Sexuality — A fresh and honest exploration of sex and sexual health from many different perspectives is the objective of this class, where topics that include gender and sexual identity, consent, healthy relationships, contraceptives, STIs, sexual risks are frankly discussed. Students are also incorporating an examination of newspapers, magazines, websites, documentaries, film, and fiction and non- fiction sources to support their classroom conversations and observations.

Lifeguarding — For teens and young adults alike, lifeguarding can be among the most popular, well-paying part-time jobs available, but it’s not all sunscreen and heroism for these young employees. In this class, students are learning the components of a rescue, pool safety, risk management, and rescue skills. They’re also perfecting their First Aid & CPR skills with the objective of receiving Red Cross certification, and maybe even Lifeguard certification.

Check back on the 7th of March for information about the classes being offered during the second half of the current trimester here at Eagle Rock School.

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