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 Students Focusing on Real World Learning Experiences

More than halfway through our school’s 82nd trimester (known as ER 82), all of our students have been tasked with answering this essential question: “How can I best direct my own learning to successfully support my future goals?

We’re calling this new educational experience Real World Learning as our student body continues to learn from their own homes during the 2020 health pandemic, using online tools such as Google Classroom and Zoom. And admittedly, it’s a broad topic, with each student asked to create an individual learning plan that fits in with their passions, curiosities, and virtual learning needs.

At this point in the trimester, each student has already selected from among a range of experiences, focusing on their future and concentrating on those interests that are most likely to put a sparkle in their eye.

Among the interests expressed by students are mastering a musical instrument, learning a foreign language, graphic design, antiracism projects, and college courses in entrepreneurship. Other interests include certification courses in First Aid, wilderness medicine, fitness, real estate, food handling and construction management. And some of our students have also opted to continue employment in their hometowns, focusing on responsibilities associated with those duties during their five-week Real World Learning experience.

To date, all students have announced their own individual learning plan and have met with their 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…

Athletic Coordinator Changes the Game Plan in Unique Coaching Class

As Eagle Rock’s adjunct athletics coordinator, Jocelyn Rodriguez wears many (sports) hats, ranging from managing the school’s basketball program to heading our Sports Challenge partnership with Strive at Haverford College. Most recently, Rodriguez taught a unique class called Changing the Game, where her students focused on what it means to be a coach in the atmosphere of today’s professional sports.

Image © 2019 Jocelyn Rodriguez

Specifically, the five-week class addressed how gender, race, and power, and even social media have influenced sports in the United States every bit as much as talent and collective bargaining between players and the team owners. Rodriguez’ students explored the unspoken rules and reality of professional sports by looking at the history and changes that many of our most popular sports are undergoing.

Students learned about the successes of female coaches, including Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) and Katie Sowers of the San Francisco 49ers (NFL), both of whom battled to become staff coaches in a sport formerly designated for “men only.” And they examined the  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: Athletics Coordinator Jocelyn Rodriguez

This trimester marks the beginning of Jocelyn Rodriguez’ second year at Eagle Rock, where she formerly served as our Public Allies Fellow in Human Performance. Recently, she was asked to return as a full-time staff member, working in the new adjunct position of Eagle Rock athletic coordinator.

In her now role, Jocelyn is teaching several classes, including Changing the Game, a class that focuses on what it means to be a coach in professional sports. In addition, she is the new house parent for Spruce House.

As the athletics coordinator, Jocelyn continues to sustain our basketball program while also coordinating athletic events for the Eagle Rock community. Earlier this year, we highlighted Jocelyn’s work in this area in a post title ‘MoreThan a Game’ Shines a Light on More Than Basketball.

Jocelyn also now manages Eagle Rock’s Sports Challenge partnership with Strive at Haverford College, and will be attending Sports Challenge next year — a two-week program — with two members of the basketball team at Eagle Rock.

We recently caught up with Jocelyn between Eagle Rock tasks and asked her to fill us in a bit on her work experience, personal life, and some of her favorite things. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading…

New House Parents Settling in at Ponderosa House and Spruce House

We’re not sure if it’s the result of good luck, or skill, or just longtime experience, but it seems every time we have the need for a new house parent for one of our six student housing complexes here at Eagle Rock School, we always end up with staff members who are perfectly suited for the role.

Each of the six houses within our on-campus Living Village accommodates up to a dozen co-eds in two separate sleeping wings, with common areas and shared community values being the focus in between. And our house parents are there to support the community, act as a sounding board, make sure the house chores are done, and so, so, so much more.

That being said, we are proud to introduce new house parents taking over this trimester at Ponderosa and Spruce.

Elizabeth Rivera and Carlos Perez are new house parents at Ponderosa House but not new to Eagle Rock. This married couple arrived in Estes Park in the fall of 2017 from Miami, where Elizabeth worked in the hotel and hospitality industry for more than two decades, and Carlos served as a cook at a variety of Italian, American, and Latin restaurants for more than 15 years.

Elizabeth is originally from Lima, Peru, and Carlos hails from Maracay, Venezuela. At Eagle Rock, Elizabeth is a business office administrative assistant, assisting parents and students with Continue reading…

‘More Than a Game’ Shines a Light on More Than Basketball

Our 2018/2019 Public Allies teaching fellow in Human Performance, Jocelyn Rodriguez, has implemented a program called “More Than a Game” that targets students who want to develop their both their basketball and leadership skills. To be a part of the program, students are expected to exhibit leadership in the Eagle Rock community, participate in various team-building activities, and put forward the effort to succeed not only on the basketball court, but in the classroom as well.

Jocelyn takes over where Cordell Church — our 2016/2017 Public Allies teaching fellow in Human Performance — left off. Cordell initiated a co-ed basketball team two years ago in order to create a safe space for students to interact with the game, learn some sports and life skills, and have fun at the same time. (Learn more about that offering by reading For Some at Eagle Rock, Basketball is the Only Game in Town here on the Eagle Rock Blog.)

Under Jocelyn’s tutelage, the 18 students who are participating in the More Than a Game program are engaging in various leadership roles, including serving as team captain and in leading team huddles. In particular, one Eagle Rock School student has been 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…

Meet the Team: Eagle Rock’s 2018/2019 Fellows

Summer break is winding down here at Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, and that means we’re getting ready to welcome a new cohort of instructional, professional development, and student services fellows. Our 2018/2018 cohort includes ten new and three returning fellows — a baker’s dozen who are about to begin or continue a year-long commitment to service.

Eagle Rock Fellows 2018 2019

Our 13 fellows will immerse themselves in everything we have to offer in education and professional development — each responsible for supporting alternative and progressive approaches to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on playing an important role in engaging our students in their own education.

Below, we present a brief educational history and biography of each of our new and returning fellows:

Amelia la Plante Horne, 2018/2019 Fellow in Residential Life

Eagle Rock School FellowAmelia was born and raised in Las Vegas, N.M. After graduating from Eagle Rock School (she arrived in May of 2011, graduated in April of 2014), Amelia attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she designed and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Ecological Praxis in Healing — a multidisciplinary degree that explored environmental science, anthropology, philosophy and psychology.

During her college years, Amelia’s non-academic activities included creating a campus Continue reading…