Our 82nd Trimester Offers Life-Changing Classes for Students

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 Continue reading…

SRI’s Summer Confab Featured Music Video from Eagle Rock School

The School Reform Initiative (SRI) recently held its first virtual Summer Meeting. Traditionally, SRI — an independent, non-profit organization that supports the creation of transformational learning communities — hosts an annual face-to-face gathering each fall where educators come together and renew their commitment to educational equity and excellence.

However, this year, given the current health and economic conditions across the country and the concerns related to travel due to COVID-19, the Houston-based organization put off its fall meeting in Memphis until next year, and opted instead to host a summer meeting online. And while the format for coming together as a community of learners changed, what didn’t is SRI’s focus on serving as an agent for its community of facilitators who work with schools, districts, and other agencies and organizations to give students what they need to be successful — regardless of their internal and external social and cultural contexts.

During the opening session of the virtually presented event, Eagle Rock students were highlighted in a music video they created in an Eagle Rock School class named Reflect, Connect, and Create Music. The five-minute video, which you can watch below, features expressive rap, songs, and instrumentals, illustrated by scenes of protest and support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

Reflect, Connect, and Create Music was taught by our Societies & Cultures Instructional Specialist, Cedric Josey, and our 2020/2021 Public Allies Fellow in Residential Life, Lucia Sicius. The class encouraged students to focus on reflection, expression, and connection, through music — especially in the time of a global pandemic.

To our way of thinking, especially in the midst of a global health pandemic, students need us to Continue reading…

I Learn America at Eagle Rock School

Late last year at Eagle Rock School, World Languages Instructional Specialist Josán Perales, and Societies & Cultures Instructional Specialist Cedric Josey combined efforts to teach a class exploring personal identities in association with global issues. The class, named Beyond Borders, encouraged students to look for how their identities intersect and are affected by historical and current issues in their lives.

By asking students to become experts of their own narratives and storytellers of their own lives, Josán and Cedric sought to encourage understanding across real or perceived lines of difference. In support of their effort, they ran across a documentary film called “I Learn America and immediately reached out to Jean-Michel Dissard, the film’s co-director/co-producer (along with Gitte Peng), who was more than willing to partner with them by engaging with students after they watched the film.

If you’re unfamiliar with I Learn America, it’s a 2013 documentary was filmed at International High School at Lafayette — a Brooklyn, New York, public high school attended by newly arrived immigrants from around the world. The film focuses on five teenagers as they Continue reading…

Eagle Rock Staff, Students Adapting to Era of Online Educating

We just finished up the eightieth trimester (ER 80) since our founding in the early-1990s, which we closed with a wonderful week of reflection and celebration. While you’ll be able to learn more about that final week of ER 80 in future updates published here on the Eagle Rock Blog, today we want to share more about the learning experiences we’ve designed for students during our foray into virtual learning in the time of COVID-19.

As previously described in Eagle Rock School Moves Online for the Time of COVID-19, we continue to ensure that the learning we design for our students is flexible and engaging, especially as they adjust to learning from home. Thanks to our quick-on-their-feet staff that worked hard and fast to create and facilitate new educational opportunities, students have had a variety of learning experiences to choose from and have demonstrated incredible commitment and flexibility as they transition to distance learning.

Some previous learning experiences have continued, including Fitness: Anytime, Anywhere, which features fitness challenges ranging from simply finding something active to do, to the 10-touch toilet paper challenge, where students and staff members attempt to Hacky Sack a roll of toilet paper — or maybe less valuable objects — 10 consecutive times. In addition, students, instructors, and other interested Eagle Rock staff have been posting online about their workouts. Such posts have included videos showing Eagle Rockers doing pushups, screenshots from running apps, and reports from workout apps.

The community-building aspect has been a huge success with our students. In fact, one fan-favorite has been Student Services Program Specialist/Explore Week Coordinator Annie Kelston’s video of herself performing weighted pushups with her toddler on her back.

For today’s post, we’re pleased to highlight several of our latest learning experiences, including: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock School Begins its 80th Trimester with Engaging Class Offerings

Just as it has been for the last 79 trimesters here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, students are once again immersed in classes that challenge their minds, improve their life skills, and present new ways of learning.

In this, our 80th trimester since the school was founded in the early 1990s, students made their selections from an assortment of class offerings, ranging this time around from exploring the probability and statistics of a dice game, to exploring personality traits through literature and the lens of a camera.

If you are familiar with our 10 Commitments for students attending our non-traditional school, you’ll run across the values that our students are committed to live by. In particular, they are asked to develop their minds through intellectual discipline, their bodies through physical fitness, and their spirits through thoughtful contemplation. As you’ll see below, our curriculum continues this approach of presenting educational experiences that add actual practical value to our graduates’ lives after they leave our mountainside campus and re-immerse themselves in the real world.

That being said, below are descriptions of a half dozen or so of the new classes available in this trimester. And please look here again in a month or so to see a synopsis of the remaining classes being offered this trimester:

The Game of Pig: Pig is a competitive dice game, and Interim Math instructional specialist Stephany Subdiaz is teaching her students the best approaches for this game of chance. Through numbers and probability, students are analyzing real life situations and games.

By the end of this five-week class, they’ll be able to figure out complex probabilities, the likelihood of basketball free throw percentages, and have designed their own games of chance — where they’re likely to win or at least come out ahead more often than not.

But Then You Read: The title of this class comes from James Baldwin, who once said Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s 79th Trimester Begins with Some Unique Class Offerings

A quick look at a few of the classes available in this, our 79th trimester, shows that Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center continues to stand at the forefront of an approach to education that uniquely encourages students to become actively engaged in their own education.

No cookie-cutter classes here. It’s all about leading our students into a future that they can help develop — free of nonsensical edicts, outmoded education models, and unimaginative curriculum. Here on our mountainside campus in Estes Park, Colo., we put the emphasis on classes that will actually turn out to be helpful and useful once our students step out into the real world.

That being said, feel free to check out the list of class names and descriptions below for the first half of ER 79 (the 79th trimester since our founding in the early-1990s). A second list will appear here a few weeks before Thanksgiving: 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…