Residential Life at Eagle Rock School Explained

Student housing at Eagle Rock School has always been an exercise in evolutionary change and this trimester promises to be no different. Among the biggest draws to our campus are the living arrangements we offer our students, providing them with an atmosphere that is warm and non-threatening; in a word, supportive.

There are six student houses here on our mountainside campus — each housing seven boys and seven girls in separate wings — and each supported by a pair of house parents. In recent years, we eliminated a student bed, wardrobe, desk and chair from each wing in order to give our students a little more elbow room.

Eagle Rock School Living Village

Eagle Rock School Living Village

What remains is a team structure within each house that provides students with ample opportunities for interpersonal growth, as well as the lessons that arise from sustained group activities such as intramural sports, service projects, chores, house dinners, outings and retreats.

In addition to house parents within each residential dwelling, our board recently approved adding a residential life coordinator position to the team here at Eagle Rock. Our first such coordinator is J. Jacques Fournet, II, who is tasked with supporting and evolving the residential life experience. Jacques brings an elevated focus to residential life with the ultimate goal of helping us become more responsive to student needs.

Here’s a rundown on how the individual houses looked before the beginning of this trimester: Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Eagle Rock Tech Associate, Daniel Madson

Our tech associate Daniel Madson’s days are spent resolving matters of how to and why. He manages the network, computer resources and peripherals here at Eagle Rock, and develops and maintains our school’s database, as well as manages our audiovisual resources, all the while keeping a close eye on our Learning Resource Center.

On a good day, he’s able to supply solutions and considerable thought to all of those how tos and whys that keep him deep in the bowels of the tech side of our world. He’s also a proud member of Aspen House.

Meet Daniel Madson:

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

Daniel: Well, I’ve been in the Estes Park (Colo.) area for 27 years. The bulk of that time was spent at the YMCA of The Rockies where I worked as a housekeeper, painter and conference services team member. I culminated my career at the “Y” as Conference Services Manager. Although not educationally related, I believe it was my years spent at the YMCA that best prepared me for my time at Eagle Rock. My experiences in working with young adults and an internationally diverse staff have proven very valuable to me in navigating the Eagle Rock community. I have many wonderful friendships and memories as a result of my 15 years at the “Y”.

I also spent six years at Valhalla Resort here in Estes Park. It was a small family operated not my family, of course — vacation resort. It was the kind of place where everyone shared in all tasks, from the owners to the freshest summer hire. We all worked very closely together. It was really like being part of a family with its triumphs and tribulations. It was at Valhalla where I started to venture into the world of IT, where by necessity I built their first website and helped with troubleshooting the reservation system and other computer/network issues.

Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Daniel: Years ago, Eagle Rock didn’t have a full time technology position. As technological needs and demands evolved, it was determined that Eagle Rock should develop a fulltime position to meet those needs and demands. Technology skills aside, my experiences and the concept of community at the YMCA and Valhalla helped my realize Eagle Rock would be a good fit for me.

Eagle Rock: When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Daniel: I love city simulation games. They provide a great distraction and really help me recharge. They also help me come to grips with my god complex. I also enjoy exploring the science behind the 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…

On the Slopes, the Eagle Rock Teacher Becomes the Student

Falling is one of the ways of moving. ­– Merce Cunningham

Spiritual development is an important component of Eagle Rock’s 8+5=10 philosophy.

Which is why we begin each trimester with Week 0 — a time when returning students and staff take time to reflect on the previous trimester and set the tone for the trimester to come. In the midst of Week 0, individual student living houses set goals, share intentions and build relationships at house retreats.

While we did spend a significant amount of time on goals and reflection, students and staff from Aspen and Juniper Houses also had the opportunity to hit the slopes at Beaver Creek Resort near Avon, Colo. Boarding the buses well before dawn on a cold mid-January morning, we bundled beneath hats and lots of layers and traveled three hours southwest of campus for a day on the mountain.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve never seen the appeal of attaching a couple of sticks to your feet and sliding down a really big hill. On the other hand, I’m also not one to shy away from new experiences. While I still had anxieties about breaking an ankle, making a fool of myself and freezing to death because of not wearing enough layers, I was feeling pretty great about learning something new, especially alongside our students.

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Eagle Rock students getting ready for a day on the snow at Beaver Creek with SOS Outreach.

When we finally arrived, staff from SOS Outreach — a nonprofit that that uses adventure sports to foster self-confidence, leadership skills and positive decision-making in the clients it serves — met with us and helped our students get Continue reading…