Second Half of Eagle Rock School’s 78th Trimester Gets Underway

We’re entering the second half of our 78th trimester, and as promised in our post about this trimester’s first grouping of classes (see: Here’s Some of What We’re Learning This Trimester at Eagle Rock School), we’re now publishing a follow-up post featuring a rundown of the classroom offerings for this particular portion of the school year. Call it ER 78: The Sequel, if you will.

Each of our classes is carefully contemplated, curated and contained within our curriculum — constructed specifically for students seeking a purpose in school and in life. It’s an approach that has worked continuously for the past 25 or so years for the young people who are studying hard and experiencing a new life with and through the Eagle Rock community.

Without further ado, here’s what we’re tackling on the backside of ER 78 (the 78th trimester since our founding in the early 1990s): Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Citizen Scientists Monitoring Our Changing Environment

For the first five weeks of this trimester, six Eagle Rock School students have partnered with staff at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) for the launch of its citizen science initiative — Lily Lake Phenology.

Phenology, which is vital to many aspects of society, is the study of the timing of biological life cycles (nature’s calendar, if you will). Things like budding leaves, blooming flowers, or migration of animal species. So, why should high school students care about any of this? Because long- and short-term changes in areas such as animal migration and flowering are related to our weather and climate patterns. With more information about how plants are reacting to the climate, national park staff can make informed decisions on how to manage species that might be at risk.

At the first data collection site, Eagle Rock School student Hendrick looks for catkins and leaf buds on a willow with RMNP Superintendent, Darla Sidles.

Sound like a worthwhile project? Of course, it is. Especially when you consider that seasonal changes in plants and animals happen quickly and require sustained and frequent observation to monitor.

That’s where our students, serving in the role of citizen scientists come into the picture. For two days each week, students in our Phenology of Lily Lake class take a Continue reading…

Our 75th Trimester Continues with Even More Unique Class Offerings

With another successful Explore Week behind us — and the celebration last weekend of our 25th anniversary of reengaging youth in their own education — Eagle Rock School is back to normal, with students absorbed in a number of new classroom experiences.

“Back to normal” might be a stretch when it comes to our campus, which has pretty much been delivering progressive education to its student body for what is currently the halfway point of our 75th trimester.

A second collection of five-week classes is underway at Eagle Rock, with offerings that include hands-on internships at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, methods of creating actual change in society, the meditative mode of Buddhism, and even a class on the coolness of comics.

Here then is the second installment of ER-75 classroom adventures at Eagle Rock:

Rocky Mountains National Park in Colorado,  USA

RMNP Internship: Students accepted into this program are performing internships within the Rocky Mountain National Park. Students are participating in a number of divisions, including Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Fall 2017 Classes Are Informative and Interesting

The summer of 2017 is history, and for new and returning Eagle Rock School students, it’s the beginning of a fresh trimester — the 73rd since our founding in the early 1990s. And as reliable as the season’s change is here in the Rocky Mountains, so to comes the promise of a progressive lineup of class offerings tailor-made for our diverse student body. Take mathematics for example. Your typical high school curriculum lists class offerings in spades, ranging from Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2, to Pre-Calculus and Calculus.

But how does this sound as a more engaging alternative: The mathematics of casino gambling? We’ve got that class already underway for those who like to have fun with their numbers while learning.

Or how about chemistry? Most high schools feature classes that entail a lot of memorization, periodic tables, and some lab work. Unless it’s a class about the chemical changes that take place when preparing a meal. Now we’re really cooking. And the “final exam” for that class revolves around a student-hosted food fair.

Classes at Eagle Rock School

Below are descriptions of a number of class topics offered this trimester — most of them unique and all of them designed from the ground up to be both interesting and engaging:

Borders & Identity: In this class, students are exploring their own identity through the lens of the U.S.-Mexican border and the human stories, learning and reflecting on the visible and invisible borders we each confront every day. Learning Spanish is a goal, in order to build bridges between people and community, and compare, contrast and write from multiple points of view. During the first five weeks, participants are diving into the world of migration and identity, formulating their own informed perspectives through video and field work — all the while communicating in Spanish. During the second five weeks, they will continue to explore borders and identity and develop a culminating action-project that propose solutions to the immigration and border debate.

Chemistry of Cooking: In this unique chemistry class, students are studying the chemical changes that food undergoes when it is Continue reading…

What it’s Like to Intern at Rocky Mountain National Park — 3 Eagle Rock School Students Tell All

A trio of Eagle Rock School students who are currently enrolled in this trimester’s Rocky Mountain National Park internship class were asked by their instructor to write down some thoughts on their unique experiences within the park’s 415 square miles of unmatched natural beauty.

Human Performance & Outdoor Education Instructional Specialist Jon Anderson asked the students to describe their service learning projects and what they’ve acquired from the experience thus far. And suffice to say, the park system, which offers internships in a number of divisions including trail maintenance, recycling, fire fuels reduction, and visitor education, just to name a few, has been very supportive of our educational objectives and goals.

Below is brief info of each student, along with each student’s thoughts on their internship:

SOREN ARVIDSON
Hometown: Springfield, Mass.
Eagle Rock School start date: May 8, 2015 (ER 66)
Projected graduation date: Dec. 15, 2017 (ER 73)

I am involved in the Forestry Division within the park. We go out and treat or cut trees that are affected by the pine beetles in the park. Rocky Mountain National Park’s mission is to protect and preserve the land for the wildlife and public use. The idea is to have a high-quality experience with a low-environmental impact from humans.

Eagle Rock School student Soren Arvidson and co-workers at Rocky Mountain National Park

Eagle Rock School student Soren Arvidson (far left) and co-workers at Rocky Mountain National Park

I really love protecting the wildlife because I feel the National Parks are strong at protecting wildlife and ecosystems — especially because there are Continue reading…