Utah’s Rugged Desert Areas Host 7 Eagle Rock Student Explorers

For a full month last trimester, we offered a new experiential outdoor adventure-based course for sevenveteran Eagle Rock School students — a wilderness course that entailed navigating inner and outer landscapes in the pristine desert areas of Utah.

We approached this exploration by focusing on three modalities of backcountry travel — backpacking, climbing, and rafting — which ultimately offered ample opportunities for participants to learn more about themselves nature, and where the two intersect. In addition to a human-powered outdoor adventure, students engaged in a rigorous academic experiences that included creative non-fiction writing and ecological earth science.

Among our group were students Angel Resendiz, Ay’Niah Rochester, Carter Raymond, Dauntay Acosta, Jacob Israel, Sequoia Masters, and Xavier Hagood-Edmeade. Support came from our amazing instructor team, which included Jack Bynum (Adjunct Outdoor Education Instructor), Leila Ayad (our 2017/2018 Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Outdoor Education), and Amelia la Plante Horne (our current Public Allies Teaching Fellow in Outdoor Education, and Eagle Rock graduate). And as you’ll read later in this post, we connected toward the end of our trip with Nia Dawson (Student Services Program Manager).

We also had support from Song Candea, a snowboard instructor at Steamboat Resort and Eagle Rock graduate who has assisted us on our wilderness classes for several years, and myself — Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack.

And, following a week on campus to ground ourselves in the course curriculum, and packing for the trip, we headed to the desert.

Our course began with a seven-day loop in Escalante-Grand Staircase National Monument. Our route took us down the Twenty-Five Mile Wash, then 14 miles to the Escalante River, and up and out of Scorpion Gulch. We backpacked down massive slick rock domes, bushwhacked through forests of invasive tamarisk (a small shrub that the USGS says “favors sites that are inhospitable to native stream-side plants…”), waded down the frigid water in the Escalante River, and exited the canyon via a  Continue reading…

Recent Explore Week Course Sends Students on College Campus Tours

Five Eagle Rock students recently joined a pair of administrators in a weeklong tour of California college and university campuses as a part of an Explore Week course called College Tour.

Students Edna, Malyk, Hana, Alizja, and Austin visited Caltech in Pasadena, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, Santa Monica College, The Studio School in Los Angeles, UCLA, California State University of Los Angeles, and Occidental College during their tour. Leading these students were Chris Lamar, our school counselor, and Laila Hosseinzadeh, our 2019/2020 Public Allies Fellow in the Life After Eagle Rock.

And indeed, life after Eagle Rock was the entire focus of the Explore Week road trip, with students focusing on finding the perfect institute of higher learning while still in high school.

One highlight of the tour was a stop at  Continue reading…

Fall 2019 Explore Week Focuses on Unique Student Experiences

With the first five weeks of this, our 79th trimester (ER 79), under their belts, Eagle Rock School students are now in the midst of Explore Week — an opportunity to pivot from regular classes and explore personally chosen interests in structured courses taught, led, and facilitated by instructors with deep knowledge and expertise in their chosen fields.

As with prior Explore Weeks, our instructors hail from all over Colorado and across the country, and include current staff and fellows, members of the local community, and other notables from the Eagle Rock family — including Eagle Rock School graduates who now have careers of their own.

Here’s a rundown of what’s on the schedule for this week’s courses, both on and off campus:

Producing and Audio Engineering: This course is taught on campus in our recording studios by Bradlie Jones, a University of Colorado-Denver graduate who majored in Music & Recording Arts and minored in Music Business. Known as Jelie, this artist has been writing and performing songs — as well as MC’ing — for close to 15 years. In addition to learning how to build beats, students in this course are focused on  Continue reading…

Meet the Team: Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson

Nia-Dawson-Eagle-Rock-SchoolAs our Student Services Program Manager, Nia Dawson develops and supports non-academic activities within the Eagle Rock community. As a member of the student support team, she works closely with students and staff to develop sustainable opportunities for partnership.

Nia grew up in Los Angeles and began her career working in youth services with the YMCA. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Syracuse University in New York with a concentration on youth development.

And over the past two decades and prior to joining our team in January of this year, Nia developed and managed programs on both coasts for the Urban League, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) — New York chapter, and most recently the Harlem Children’s Zone — a pioneering nonprofit organization committed to ending generational poverty in Central Harlem, New York.

We posed a few professional and personal questions to Nia and here’s what she had to say: Continue reading…