Our 82nd Trimester Offers Life-Changing Classes for Students

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As we began our 82nd trimester here at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center, we again found our student body proactively participating  — albeit online and at home for now — in a half-dozen classes that are likely to have real-life impacts on our committed and engaged students.

Nearly all of this trimester’s class offerings are explored with an informed lens on what’s occurring across the United States at the present moment. From the Black Likes Matter movement and the upcoming Presidential election, to the health pandemic, students are exploring and learning about the important issues behind peace, social justice, nonviolence, the current and future state of the nation, and one’s own health and wellbeing.

As you’ll read below, this time around, students are looking at nonviolent protests through the works of Nobel Peace winners, as well as the determination of athletes who have opted out of participating in their current season, instead dedicating their efforts to activism.

Finally, below, we introduce three personal growth experiences in which all students are participating. These cover stress, resilience, and staying connected during these most unprecedented and changing times.

Over the next five weeks or so here on the blog, we plan to shine an additional spotlight on five of the classes mentioned below. In the meantime, here’s a short synopsis of what our students are studying and experiencing this trimester at Eagle Rock School:

Voting MATHers: Granted, it’s a clever name for a math class, but Eagle Rock Math Instructional Specialist Stephany Subdiaz is showing students how mathematics plays an important part in our nation’s complex voting system. Stephany’s students are exploring the math behind the ballot box. How are the ballots counted? Why does it matter? How do statistics and demographics affect the outcomes? There’s plenty of math in Voting MATHers.

You Are What You Eat: In this class, students are taking a close look at how the foods they eat impact their daily lives and long-term health in a number of different ways. Sara Benge, our Science instructional specialist, and Mitaali Taskar, one of our 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellows, are engaging with students in identifying patterns in the foods we eat, and investigating the ways that food influences more than just our physical bodies.

In the Mind of a Champion: In this class, students are reflecting on their mind, body, and spirit — and asking themselves how each contributes to their views on the world around them. Instructors Jocelyn Rodriguez, Eagle Rock’s athletics coordinator, and Dan Marigny, another 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, are asking students to reflect on their bodies and spirits in developing a physical fitness plan that aligns with their values, spirituality, and image of self. Finally, students are exploring how the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19 has impacted amateur and professional sports in America.

Then and Now: Cedric Josey, our Societies & Cultures instructional specialist, along with Nathaniel Phillipps, a 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, are asking students to imagine their own place in the movement history of our country and consider how their actions can shape their personal futures. Students are studying both the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the Black Panther Party.

Good Trouble: Eagle Rock students in this class are looking into the issues of peace, social justice, and nonviolence through the study of the life and work of American and international Nobel Peace Laureates. They are learning how to read the world; engage across lines of difference; and explore the intersections of identity, history, current events, and social change and action. The class is being taught by Josán Perales, our World Languages instructional specialist; Lucia Sicius and Matisyn Darby, two more Public Allies Fellows; Courthney Russell, Jr., our residential life program coordinator; and Annie Kelston, a student services program specialist and Explore Week coordinator.

It’s Lit! Circles: This class, which is also open to the Eagle Rock community, focuses on the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. Drawing from the tenets of black literary societies of the 19th century, students and folks from the community are learning how to critically examine systems of power and privilege as they relate to race. Instructors include Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack, our Human Performance and Outdoor Education program manager; Tara Jewell, our School Team Projects coordinator; and Janet Johnson, Director of Curriculum.

Moving on, below are descriptions of three personal growth offerings for Eagle Rock students that enable our community to stay connected and grow. In fact, Staying Connected is the name of one of these online offerings:

Staying Connected: Eagle Rock Counselor Chris Lamar is leading students in an exploration of what it means to stay connected — especially during a health pandemic. This offering asks students to zero in on their purpose, look at something larger than themselves, and of course, examine their connection with themselves and others.

Refreshin’ from Stressin’: Jesse Tovar, Health & Wellness Counselor, and Carolyn Plein, 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, are focusing on ways to relieve the turmoil that many of us are facing these days. Students are talking about how they’re feeling, and how that impacts their minds, bodies, and spirits. And they are learning new skills to cope with stress.

Cultivating Resilience: Finally, Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack, assisted by Audrey Ling, 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow, are tapping into students’ resilience, a source of power for anyone. Resilience can be found in a favorite song, the memory of a beautiful moment with a loved one, or just feeling alive. To capture this power, students are listening to music, watching videos, participating in rich conversations, and hearing from guest speakers.

Check back next week when we shine a deeper light into one of this trimester’s class offerings.

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