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 School Learning Resource Instructional Specialist Beth Ellis

Beth-Ellis-Eagle-Rock-SchoolBeth Ellis is the Learning Resource instructional specialist and Aspen house parent along with her partner, Janet. In her decade at Eagle Rock, Beth has taught a number of classes, participated with restorative justice and discipline committees and worked on the professional development team for instructors. She’s also headed affinity groups and our gay/straight alliance, and generally helped staff and students work through technological, personal, curricular and design issues.

Below are some other tidbits about this active and valued Eagle Rock staffer:

Eagle Rock: What else do you do here at Eagle Rock?

Beth: My job is perfect for me because I get to do so many different things – I’m always learning and challenged. I’m currently working in collaboration with the Estes Valley Public Library to integrate our collections and share our resources.

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

Beth: Before Eagle Rock, I was working as a freelance graphic designer for Catt Lyon Design. And I was a community organizer for the Environmental Community Organization (ECO) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Weeks before I arrived at Eagle Rock, I won a national design award from the Society of Environmental Graphic Design for my work on the Eagle’s Stadium in Philadelphia (see: Monumental Scrims). And the day I arrived at Eagle Rock, the softball team with whom I played in Cincinnati was vying for a national championship.

Eagle Rock: What attracted you to Eagle Rock?

Beth: My work in Cincinnati with communities that were struggling with industry in their neighborhoods helped me understand how education can empower people to know and advocate for their rights. I saw a direct correlation with an educational system that wasn’t serving the community’s needs and its ability to Continue reading…

Recommended Reads from Eagle Rock Staffers

Editor’s Note: It’s summertime, and for some reason, we’re all expected to catch up on our reading during this three-month respite from school. And, as you well know, there’s a big difference between required reading and recommended reading. Thus, we offer a second installment of what our staff members present for your personal time perusal. What we’ve done here is outline our educators’ thought process as to why they selected a particular read, along with an image of the book cover, and a link (click the book cover to activate the link) to Amazon so you can purchase the selection if you wish, or download it to your laptop or tablet.

beyond-learning-by-doing-theoretical-currents-in-experiential-jay-w-roberts-paperback-cover-artBeyond Learning By Doing: Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education — By Jay W. Roberts
Recommended by Jesse Beightol, Eagle Rock’s Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist

This book gave me a deeper understanding of the historical roots of Experiential Education. Though many educators value “experience,” experiential education is difficult to define and truly understand. This book looks at the many facets of this approach to education, and then challenges educators to learn from the past in order to continually improve in the future.

Science-as-Thinking-book-coverScience As Thinking: The Constants and Variables of Inquiry Teaching — By Wendy Ward Hoffer
Recommended by Janet Johnson, Eagle Rock’s Science Instructional Specialist

This book is based on backwards planning — and so it follows the model we use here at Eagle Rock — but it focuses specifically on scientific thinking and how inquiry looks as a scientist. What does “thinking like a scientist” mean? How do we capture that thinking in student work? How can we merge that with other strategies that we learn and apply it to science? For example, the practice of Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staffers’ Recommended Reads

Editor’s Note: For this blog post — which we expect to be the first of many to come in a series — we asked a few of our educationally focused staff members to make recommendations on a read or two worth pursuing. Here, we include the reader’s thoughts about the title selection, along with an image of each book cover and link to Amazon to purchase the book or download it to read on a tablet.

How-To-DifferentiateHow to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms

By Carol Ann Tomlinson

Recommended by Jonna Book, Eagle Rock’s World Languages Instructional Specialist

This book guides the reader in finding ways to address the diverse needs of students in a classroom. The author breaks down differentiation and demonstrates how it is feasible both in planning and in the classroom. I have found this information useful when planning and differentiating instruction in my courses.

That-Workshop-BookThat Workshop Book

By Samantha Bennett

Recommended by Beth Ellis, Eagle Rock’s Learning Resource Center Instructional Specialist

The workshop model for teaching and learning is useful for any educational setting — from a small Eagle Rock classroom to a large public school. This book profiles real classrooms using the workshop model with systems, structures, and rituals in place to create learner-centered experiences. The workshop model is particularly useful for managing a classroom of students of different ability levels. I use some part of the workshop model in every class I teach.

In-The-Middle-BookIn The Middle: New Understandings About Writing, Reading, and Learning

By Nancie Atwell

Recommended by Holly Takashima, Eagle Rock’s Language Arts & Literacy Instructional Specialist

This book contains a wealth of knowledge on how to teach reading and writing through the workshop model. It taught me the importance of structure, routine, and deep reflection on organization, which an effective workshop model requires. Through Atwell’s anecdotes and examples, I was pushed to think more deeply about Continue reading…