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.

Public-Allies-Fellows-Eagle-Rock-201516

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…

Physics Students Journey to CU Boulder for Lasers, Lenses and Learning

As a physics student and mountain biking enthusiast in college, I never imagined I would have the opportunity to combine these two activities. Eagle Rock’s support of interdisciplinary courses has allowed me to do just that by teaching physics through the lens of mountain biking.

The Physics of Motion class here at Eagle Rock School focuses on scientific investigation and experimentation both in the classroom and out on bikes. From Newton’s Laws to gear ratios and rotational speed calculations, we’ve dug deep into the exploration of mechanical physics.

Eagle Rock High School Mountain Biking

When my co-instructor, Ally Bolger (Eagle Rock’s 2015/2016 Public Allies Teaching Fellow In Science), and I first read over the class enrollment list, we were surprised to find all of our students were female. To celebrate the rarity of an all-female physics class, we looked into support groups for diversity in science and came across the Women In Physics collective at The University of Colorado, Boulder.

As a teacher, attempting to arrange field trips can often mean sending email after email with no success or even response. In this situation, my introductory email to Women In Physics was met with 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…

Eagle Rock Staffers Reflect on Books Worth Reading Over The Break

For educators — not unlike surgeons, attorneys and others in professional avocations — keeping up with the “tricks of the trade” is a necessity. Physicians must consistently take refresher courses or attend seminars just to keep up with the advances in medicine.

Attorneys require updates on new laws and legal trends. And teachers and educators who are interested in bettering their skills are constantly attending lectures, taking continuing education courses and checking out the latest literature to stay at the top of their field.

So, once again, we’ve checked in with Eagle Rock staffers to discover what they’re reading on the holiday break that’s going to impact their students come January.

Here’s a short list of who’s reading what (note: clicking on any of the book cover images will take you to that book’s page on Amazon.com):

Just-Like-Us-Book-CoverJust Like Us — by Helen Thorpe

This book follows four young women in Denver as they graduate from high school and head off to college. All four of the young women have parents who are undocumented and several are also undocumented. It brings to the forefront what the label “undocumented” does to their identity.

This book provides a great insight to some of the struggles of balancing two cultures — especially for those that are undocumented and really wanting to succeed in this country.

I read this book when I was working with undocumented students and students who had undocumented parents. I had grown up knowing very well what undocumented students and parents go through, and this was something that helped validate some of the identity struggles that I had been surrounded by.

Later I met a researcher who talked about how the Continue reading…