Class Spotlight: Sports Conditioning

This trimester, six Eagle Rock students are enrolled in a 10-week class named Sports Conditioning. Instructed by Human Performance Center Adjunct Instructor Christ Iafrati and our 2019/2020 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Science & Math Chelsea Ehret, this class focuses on helping students develop and implement their own individualized workout plans. They’re also learning the physiology behind athletic conditioning and nutrition.

Successfully completing this 10-week class qualifies students for a ‘Creating Healthy Life Choices’ Power Standard. (For more on Power Standards, please read The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings.) That’s because this class combines content from biology, physical education, and statistics, it additionally qualifies students to receive additional experience and points required for graduation.

As an interdisciplinary class, students split time between the Aikido Dojo — located within our on-campus Human Performance Center (HPC) for the fitness component — and on the HPC stage for the traditional classroom component.

In the Dojo, students work out using weight machines, cardio equipment, and the Aikido mats. During these times, they’re engage in a variety of workouts that are meaningful to them, such as high-intensity interval training, yoga, Pilates, and resistance training.

Additionally, students have routine times where they 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…

Four More Classes Round Out our 79th Trimester

What makes a school’s curriculum unique? Here at Eagle Rock, it’s the totality of student experiences that occur within the content of our educational process.

Robert-Frost-Teaching-Quote

Predicated on the belief that every student has the ability to become fully engaged in their own education, our curriculum focuses on competencies that we refer to as our 5 Expectations:

  1. Learning to communicate effectively: The primary purpose of an Eagle Rock class is to help students understand how to get a message across. That’s why poetry, art, and music often figure prominently into our class offerings.
  2. Expanding one’s knowledge base: Helping students understand and providing them with the tools to learn how to learn, as well as how to apply that learning to other situations, is also part of the Eagle Rock experience. As a result, many of our classes include elements of problem solving.
  3. Becoming an engaged citizen: At Eagle Rock, we’re intentional about helping our students learn something that naturally enables them to interact better with various people and cultures. Sometimes that’s accomplished by learning a second language or taking a class that focuses on worker’s rights.
  4. Acquiring leadership skills in order to achieve justice: Helping students understand what it takes to make a place — our school for example, or the local community in which we are based — more fair and equitable, is another aspect of our educational process.
  5. Creating healthy life choices: Finally, helping students understand that the decisions they make can increase or decrease positive outcomes regarding health of self, society, others, or the environment, is another unique aspect of our curriculum.

With our 5 Expectations in mind, we’re able to conceptualize and offer classes worthy of the student engagement we believe every student is capable of achieving. We also require that all Eagle Rock School students have Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) that guide them on their journey here. And each of those ILPs include distribution requirements. (For more information on distribution requirements, please see Distribution Requirements Play a Big Role in This Trimester’s Latest Class Offerings.)

This trimester, which is our 79th since our founding in the early 1990s, we’re offering five 10-week classes that we’ve previously blogged about and are still occurring (Research, Neuroscience, Jewelry Around the World, Facing History, and Facilitating Educational Change, along with the four new classes highlighted below: 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…

The Role of Power Standards in this Trimester’s Class Offerings

It’s the beginning of our 77th trimester here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center and our students are already well entrenched in furthering their education with meaningful classes — many promoting strong leadership and good citizenry in the world they will soon inherit. A rundown of those classes is offered below, but first, we’d like to give you some insight into how we plan for and assess educational progress here at Eagle Rock School.

(image courtesy of Josán Perales)

At Eagle Rock, we’ve long maintained an “Individual Learning Plan” for our students, as well as “Power Standards” that assess student progress within this plan. All of this is organized around what we call our “5 Expectations,” which include:

  1. Creating Healthy Life Choices
  2. Effective Communication
  3. Leadership for Justice
  4. Engaged Global Citizen
  5. Expanding Knowledge Base

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP for short) is a means of assessing each student’s progress in completing their graduation requirements. The plan is divvied up among three sections, which include: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s 2015/2016 Public Allies Fellows ‘Take Flight’ at Summer’s End

Our 2015/2016 Public Allies fellows depart our mountainside campus at the end of this week after spending a year teaching, learning and being an enormous part of the Eagle Rock family.

This latest cohort of fellows joins an impressive 150 Public Allies Fellows who have completed the program here at Eagle Rock. In fact, our program is among the most successful in the nation, scoring in the high 90th percentile. You can learn about this group at their arrival on campus last September by reading 2015/2016 Public Allies Fellows Arrive On Campus.

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Meanwhile, here’s what our “graduating” fellows have planned for their immediate future:

Ally Bolger, Science Teaching Fellow: After Eagle Rock, Ally is moving to Colorado Springs where she will be teaching high school biology and chemistry at CIVA Charter High School. She is excited for the opportunity to apply all she has learned about alternative education, engaging teaching strategies, and building supportive relationships with students. In her free time, Ally is also excited to spend more time outside and explore her new surroundings. And since she’s very familiar with the 2.5-hour drive back to Eagle Rock, we’re looking forward to many return visits.

Aranda Salazar, Residential Life Fellow: Aranda will be sticking around Colorado after her year with us, pursuing whatever her heart desires. During her time at Eagle Rock she was better able to see that she values working directly with people, being a part of a team, and feeling valued as an employee. She hopes to find these qualities in future work places. And in her continued pursuit for happiness, she plans to spend more time with Continue reading…

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Eagle Rock’s Take on ‘The Wiz’

Eagle Rock School students and faculty members are busy rehearsing for a series of performances of the Tony Award-winning 1975 musical, “The Wiz,” which are scheduled in Estes Park at month’s end.

The Wiz Eagle Rock SchoolOur production of “The Wiz” (March 31-April 2, 2016) is an urban retelling of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 tale, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” using Motown, Funk and Soul music to rework the story into the context of modern African-American culture. A film adaption of the show was released in 1978, starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

Eleven talented Eagle Rock students and four staff members will perform in our staged version, backed by a live four-piece professional pit band. Meghan Tokunaga-Scanlon, Eagle Rock School’s Music Instructional Specialist, directs the show, with co-direction by World Languages Instructional Specialist Brighid Scanlon and musical direction by 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow Michael Grant.

Performances will be staged beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31 as well as Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2 at the Hempel Auditorium within the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park. Admission at the door is “pay what you like” and all proceeds benefit the Eagle Rock Graduate Higher Education Fund.

But we digress. The story of Dorothy and her road trip to Oz has become known worldwide for its themes of home, belonging, belief in oneself and freedom. “The Wiz,” with its original premiere in 1975 with an all-black cast and African-American styles, boldly showed that this classic story belongs to everyone, with audiences of all races flocking to watch productions of “The Wiz” over the past four decades. In addition to be culturally empowering, it is a “joy machine,” gorgeously designed, with quick humor and irresistible melodies.

Preparations for our production began last fall with a Continue reading…

Our Fellows Team Service Projects are Well Underway

It is the task of our Public Allies fellows to serve a full school year in an apprenticeship where they are asked to create, improve and expand services offered by Eagle Rock — specifically in the areas of youth development and education.

Like Allies across the country, fellows also participate in a rigorous leadership development program and community building activities, and they each contribute to team service projects (TSPs).

Eagle Rock Team Service Projects

The TSP is a unique opportunity to lead and learn through team experience in upholding the Public Allies values in six areas:

  • Diversity & Inclusiveness
  • Integrity
  • Focus on Assets
  • Collaboration
  • Continuous Learning
  • Innovation

Well-designed TSPs seek to recognize the assets of a community instead of approaching communities in a needs-based way. In small groups — and in partnership with community members — Allies create, implement and evaluate a service project that will ideally have a sustainable and lasting positive impact.

This year we introduced the concept of TSPs during core training. And before students even arrived on campus, our fellows had already begun to brainstorm ideas for projects inspired by their own strengths and passions. As the weeks progressed, and as fellows became more integrated into the Eagle Rock community, additional ideas emerged.

Fellows captured their thoughts in a Continue reading…

Winter Classes Range from Musicals and Murals to Soilless Gardening

erslogo2Eagle Rock’s busy student body is already well into the winter trimester, with many among them enjoying a number of class offerings — most of them new — that promise to challenge their intellect and maybe even spark interest in an avocation, adventure or activity that can last an entire lifetime.

Ten-week classes sprinkled among the mix for ER 68 (our 68th semester since our founding of Eagle Rock School in the early 1990s) include:

La Telenovela: In this class, which we first offered in the fall of 2014, students analyze and create their own Spanish-language “soap opera” episodes. By doing so, they are gaining insight into telenovela structure, characters and themes by viewing real telenovelas. (For the uninitiated, a telenovela is a type of limited-run serial drama and popular on European, West Asian, Southeast Asian, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Arab World, Brazil, Portuguese and Spanish television networks.) By watching these programs, students are refining their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in Spanish, which is enhanced by working together on their Spanish in the classroom. As a final project, students will be asked to script and film their own telenovelas — themselves portraying the characters as well as completing all of the required behind-the-scenes production work. They will work on acting as well as filming and directing techniques to produce the final episode. (Brighid Scanlon is teaching this class.)

Data Analysis: In this class, which first appeared at Eagle Rock School in the spring of 2015, students are beginning to explore data sets, looking for patterns and using statistics to answer student-generated questions. Each student explores one question, researching data that will help answer that question. By analyzing the information, they can communicate their newfound knowledge using infographics, written articles, presentation or blogs. Experts in the field, peers, and Eagle Rock staff will review the work and provide feedback for the inevitable revision. (Becky Poore and Helen Higgins are teaching this class.)

Five-week classes offered this trimester include:

101 Years of Murals: This all-day class presents students with the opportunity to appreciate what murals can teach us, communicate and add vitality to our lives. Students are part of a hard-working team with an emphasis on leadership that is designing and painting a mural in the Rocky Mountain National Park. We are learning how to use different mural techniques to create Part 2 in a series of murals. Students in this class are already capable at drawing — or are teachable — and they’re all willing to take risks. This class promises a lot of hard work, but it also promises to yield a lot of new skills as well as possible connections that may benefit them in the future. (Cindy Elkins and Claire Oliphant are teaching this class.)

RMNP Mural ER65

The Wiz” Musical: Ease on down the road with Continue reading…

Teaching Fellows Take a Day Away to Focus on Team Building

The New Year was barely nine days old and we’d just returned to Eagle Rock from our trimester break. And now, here we were, heading off to the YMCA of the Rockies for our mid-year Fellows’ Day Away.

As director of Public Allies here at Eagle Rock, I was responsible for facilitating our 12 Public Allies fellows through a day that focused on reconnecting, framing the trimester ahead, reflecting and goal-setting, and intentional time to work on Team Service Projects (TSPs).

Our day began with a quick energizer outside, highlighted by a backdrop that included snow-covered views of the Rockies.

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Michael Soguero, our Professional Development Center (PDC) director, presented us with an introduction and overview of the Leadership Challenge — a global campaign to liberate the leader in everyone. Fellows will be learning and utilizing skills outlined in the Leadership Challenge framework to frame their TSP work for the trimester.

Michael highlighted the importance of Continue reading…