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…

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 Joins Estes Park High School in Encouraging Active Citizens

Change can often be a good thing, and such was the case last month when we switched up our traditional two-day Eagle Serve program for something new: tasking our students to put in the time, energy, and resources in order to benefit the local community in a new and profound way. In previous trimesters, Eagle Serve challenged returning Eagle Rock students withthe importance of being of service to others through participation in open enrollment courses that drive home the idea of “giving back to the community”— especially for students we believe can become the nation’s future leaders and/or active citizens within their own communities.

But this time around, we partnered up with about 40 students from nearby Estes Park High School  interested in participating in an intense, two-day intercultural conference that we called The Necessity of Exploration. And while the goal of being of service to others hasn’t changed from prior trimesters, we did alter how this is being done.

In order to achieve this, we found it necessary to remove the ignorance over social and cultural issues affecting our local community, and to prepare our students to be of service to others by first recognizing their role in diversified communities. By raising awareness and holding courageous conversations with peers from a local school, our students discovered and uncovered what is missing and what must be done to truly serve others.

So, for two full days last month — Jan. 17 and 18 — students from both schools joined together at the Estes Valley Community Center in hopes of Continue reading…

House Parents Describe Their Eagle Rock Student Housing Experiences

At first glance, the job of being a house parent for a group of six teen-aged boys and an equal number of teen-aged girls could be a tall order. And as challenging as it is to properly support a dozen students on a daily and nightly basis, imagine a house full of young adults when it comes to being engaged in their own education and living community.

Three of our six house parents recently wrapped up their first trimester in this critical on-campus role. And, not unexpectedly, our administrators again proved to be really good at selecting the best staff members to serve as house parents. We’re also experts at preparing and supporting those house honchos for what the job entails, but some things — as you’ll read below — can only be learned while performing the job itself.

That being said, no one can describe the house parent experience as well as these fresh adult leaders. We’ve asked the three newbies to reflect on what those experiences meant to them personally. But first, a little background on our on-campus Living Village, which is made up of six houses — each designed to accommodate up to 12 students in two separate sleeping areas. Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Residential Life Program Coordinator, Courthney Russell Jr.

Courthney Russell Jr. is the residential life program coordinator here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, tasked with the responsibility of fostering a safe and secure environment within our on-campus community.

Born in Fort Knox, Ky., Courthney lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands for a time, and eventually moved to East Atlanta, Ga., an underserved community devoid of many of the services found in more well-funded communities. He attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Ala., and received his medical degree in 2011 from Windsor University School of Medicine on Saint Kitts Island in the Caribbean.

Courthney Russell Jr

It was while taking classes at medical school that Courthney made the decision to dedicate his life to humanity — to help neighborhoods like the one he grew up in. He says by leveraging his medical knowledge in a non-traditional way to become what he calls “an authentic, determined, humble leader by example,” he is doing his part (while helping others) to make the world, one neighborhood at a time, a better place to live.

Courthney joined the Eagle Rock community in 2014 as our community advocate and student support consultant and was promoted to his current role in Residential Life four years later. We recently sat down with him to learn more about his past, his thoughts on Eagle Rock and his interests.

Here’s what Courthney had to say: Continue reading…

Explore Week — An Opportunity for Students to Go with the Flow

When we hear that someone is “in the zone,” or “on fire,” we know these terms are describing a person who is performing at his or her peak. Whether it’s the basketball player who hits 15 free throws in a row or a jazz drummer improvising complex patterns at breakneck speed, we recognize great skill when we see it.

However, what we might not realize is that the potential to achieve this state of being exists in every one of us. And unlocking this potential is possible given the right circumstances and application of willpower. In fact, by becoming concurrently relaxed, alert, focused and responsive, achieving Flow is a mental and physical condition allowing most of us to operate at the top of our abilities.

Learning how to go with the flow is the topic of just one of Eagle Rock School’s learning options underway this week (Feb. 22-26) both on and off campus. It’s all part of our Explore Week, an opportunity for students to explore a variety of topics that don’t start with the “three R’s” of “reading, writing and ’rithmatic.”

Eagle Rock Explore Week

Instead, our student population is participating in a week’s worth of education surrounding music, art, hobbies, sports, outdoor activities and other pursuits intended to expand the mind and body beyond regular classes.

We’re going to begin this list of course titles underway through Friday, including the above-mentioned “Go with the flow,” offering, as well as a short description of the instructors teaching these one-of-a-kind courses: Continue reading…