Doing Nothing on Thanksgiving is Not an Option at Eagle Rock School

One thing you can’t say about Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock School is that there’s nothing to do. This is one of those times of the year when students, staff and instructors are in accord that this mountainside campus of ours is indeed a great place to spend late-November holidays.

And, much like the name of the holiday, there’s plenty of gratitude to go around as our community prepares for literally dozens of events and activities over a four-day period. It’s a time when we all gather together to celebrate how fortunate we are to live in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by forests that a lot of us like to call home.

Thanksgiving Day 'Gathering' at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center

Thanksgiving Day ‘Gathering’ at Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center

Thanksgiving at Eagle Rock is about celebrating the importance of having each other and remembering that we are all here to better ourselves. It’s a time to appreciate what we’ve done to improve ourselves and what we’ve done to help others. It’s a celebration of how we have impacted each other’s lives in a positive way and to celebrate those successes.

Whether we’re indoors creating art or standing outside in the cold playing touch football, the idea is to spend time together.

The highlight of the holiday, of course, is today’s Thanksgiving Day dinner at 3pm, skillfully prepared by Continue reading…

Food for Thought: Chemistry Students Host Flavor Fest

Talk about creative curriculum. Our Science Instructional Specialist, Sara Benge, came up with a 10-week Chemistry of Cooking class that recently culminated in the First Annual Formulas & Food Fair — a hands-on event where students and staff had the opportunity to taste the “lab results.”

As usual, we’ve added a twist to your run of the mill chemistry class by focusing on the chemical changes that occur in food molecules during fermentation, baking and emulsification — not to mention the Maillard Reaction. As a result, our chemistry students learned how to identify and describe the features of atoms and molecular structures in specific food items, such as a glucose molecule that happens to be found in a number of carbohydrate and sugar-based foods.

Plenty of experimentation went into these chemistry lessons, with our “chem chefs” creating their own cooking recipes, observing changes in flavors, textures and the appearance of the food, and applying their knowledge of basic chemistry concepts in order to explain why they did or did not achieve a specific result.

The Food Fair was held on a recent afternoon with students in the class each preparing a Continue reading…

Fall 2016 Reading Recommendations from Eagle Rock Staff

Editor’s Note: Sure, there’s tons of reading to be undertaken when you’re working in progressive education. That’s because there’s no shortage of authors offering compelling reads that actually changes or reinforces the mindset of the educator.

Here we present reviews of a handful of fictional and nonfiction books — some of them new, some of them a bit longer in the tooth — that come highly recommended by members of our staff. See if any of them spark your curiosity. And then check them out:

the-dharma-bumsThe Dharma Bums – By Jack Kerouac

This 1958 semi-fictional novel relates the understanding and relationship between the outdoors and nature with that of the daily grind of working in the city life as seen through the eyes of the main character, Ray Smith. For our World Languages Instructional Specialist, Josán Perales, this book took him all summer to read because he had to stop every few pages to reflect on his own life experiences. As a college student studying philosophy and world religion, Josán found the story helped him, “empathize with people from all walks of life.” To him, it created a stronger interest for learning about other “experiences and dichotomous lives.” ~ Recommended by Josán Perales, World Languages Instructional Specialist.

witnessing-whitenessWitnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It – By Shelly Tochluk

This nonfiction book has the intention of educating individuals who are working in the education field with a diverse environment. Sara Benge, Eagle Rock’s interim science instructional specialist, said the book helped her witness her own identity as a white woman and how to develop herself as an anti-racist. The reading provides information on Continue reading…

Meet The Team: Interim Science Instructional Specialist — Sara Benge

Many staff and students around our campus call her Science Sara. She is the science instructional specialist and a house parent for Aspen House. Sara Benge has invested years in teaching and working with youth, including a stint in the Peace Corps in rural Morocco, teaching ESL at Horizon Science Academy in Columbus, Ohio.

She then taught science at a nature center in New Hampshire. In addition, Sara has led international service and adventure trips for high school students with The Road Less Traveled.

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Below, we quiz this science wiz on her life before Eagle Rock, her objectives here and some other fun trivial factoids: Continue reading…

Meet Eagle Rock’s 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellows

Like clockwork, each and every year since 2002 we’ve hosted a dozen Public Allies Fellows, and every year, we proudly introduce these Fellows to you, our stakeholders. Today, we’re presenting 10 new young leaders to you, along with two who we’re fortunate to hang onto for another year, as well as offering up a little information about each of them.

And in case you wondered what Public Allies is all about, here’s a primer:

Public Allies is a program with the intent of developing leadership skills in young adults. This AmeriCorps-funded program is a national movement with a mantra that’s pretty much this: “Everyone leads.” The thought here is, everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up to the plate and take action.

Since its founding in 1992, more than 5,000 Allies have completed the program at sites in 23 cities with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

And so, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Eagle Rock’s 2014-2015 Public Allies Fellows:

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Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow: Courtney received her Masters of Art degree in social change from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Most recently she worked for the Center Consolidated School Districts and has experiences with Transformational Ventures /Trading Hope. Courtney also has service experiences as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorps.

Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: Molly worked at Kansas State University for the past few years as part of house and dining services. She brings to the Eagle Rock table extensive knowledge about what it takes to get into college — and also what it takes to stay in college. Molly has worked with Spectrum Series groups along with Functional Literacy tutoring. She has a Masters of Science from K-State in counseling and student development.

Nicholas Viglione, Human Performance Center Fellow: Nicholas, who hails from Purdy N.Y., has taught physical education at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y., in both the upper and lower campus. He has also worked as a track coach as well as with project-based adventure after school programs. Nicholas earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education.

Aaron Guggenheim, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Aaron picked up his bachelor’s degree at the Continue reading…