Three times each year, my calendar has appointments at places like Boondocks, Apex Center, Morning Cartoons at the Lyric, the Denver Zoo, and the Science Museum. And for each of those 20 or so hours, my “meetings” are centered around epic laser tag battles, Top Chef competitions, and meals highlighted by fistfuls of Hot Cheetos and copious amounts of Kool-Aid.
House retreats are an opportunity to reconnect after break, strengthen meaningful bonds with both my colleagues and our students, and spend some time focusing on the culture of Pinon House. To me, those days represent a new beginning.
If you’re unfamiliar with the structure of our on-campus housing, students and staff at Eagle Rock are members of one of the six houses: Pinon, Ponderosa, Juniper, Aspen, Spruce or Lodgepole. Michael Soguero, our director of professional development, reminds us: “Houses were conceived as a smaller unit within the school to form an identity around, to encourage camaraderie and team membership in a positive way.”
In other words, if we concentrate on building a positive community and culture within the houses, then those positive efforts should filter back into the larger Eagle Rock community. House retreats were created with the inspiration of being a smaller, more manageable group in which to work on community and culture building within the houses.
Here’s a Fun Fact: Back in the day, Eagle Rock existed without house retreats? The first week consisted of schoolwide community building, until former Eagle Rock Math Instructional Specialist Jason Cushner proposed a change. Now, there are 2.5 days each trimester set aside for staff and students to work on relationships, have difficult conversations, build community, develop house culture, have a lot of fun and share delicious food. It’s 2.5 days — before homework is assigned, notebooks need to be graded and the business of Continue reading…