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…

Introducing Eagle Rock’s 2013-2014 Public Allies Fellows

Public-Allies-LogoToday we’re happy to introduce you to our latest crop of Public Allies Fellows, all of whom we are very proud to have on our campus and part of the Eagle Rock community. But before we introduce these young adult leaders, we’d like to tell you more about the amazing program that brought them to Eagle Rock in the first place.

Public Allies is an AmeriCorps-funded program that’s dedicated to developing leadership skills in young adults. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a national movement grounded in the conviction that everyone leads, and that everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up and take action.

Officially, the mission of Public Allies is to advance new leadership in order to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation The Milwaukee, Wis.-headquartered nonprofit demonstrates a profound conviction to the long held notion that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds take responsibility and work together.

Since it’s founding in 1992, about 5,000 Allies have completed the program with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

Eagle Rock’s participation with the program began a decade after the founding of Public Allies, and was initiated by our own Dan Condon and directed by him for two years. In the years that followed, 132 Public Allies have walked through the gate here at Eagle Rock with 98 percent of them graduating – making the Public Allies Eagle Rock program the most successful in the nation in terms of retention of Allies.

Each year we host 12 Public Allies Fellows, and as mentioned at the top of this post, we welcomed our latest group earlier this month, including (full bios appear below photo):

Eagle Rock's 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows

Eagle Rock’s 2013/2014 Public Allies Fellows (click photo for large image).

  • Jake Sund, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Jake hails from Starkville Miss., and has a Bachelor’s Degree in English in Secondary Education from Mississippi State University. He has taught at Starkville High School and has outdoor experience with SUW of the Carolinas.
  • Sara Benge, Science Fellow: From Columbus, Ohio, Sara most recently taught at the Horizon Science Academy High School and recently returned from two years in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Sara has a Bachelor of Arts degree in exercise science from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
  • Clay Elkin, Math Fellow: Clay, “Don’t Call Me Chiles or Cindy” Elkin has a bachelor’s degree in accountancy and leadership from the University of San Diego and has served with AmeriCorps as a VISTA Volunteer. Clay previously worked at High Tech High in San Diego.
  • Calvin King, Societies/Culture Fellow: This former Eagle Rock School student is a Bonner Scholar and graduate of Morehouse College where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Over the past few years Calvin has worked with the City of Atlanta Freedom Schools, as well as the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support.
  • Katie Funk, Visual Arts Fellow: From Grand Rapids, Mich., Katie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art and design with an emphasis in fine arts and K-12 teaching from Kendall College of Art and Design. She has worked at Northview High School in Grand Rapids along with student taught within the Byron Centers Public School system.
  • Lindsey Rodkey, Human Performance Center Fellow: Originally from Ellicott City, Maryland, Lindsey has a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology and human development from the University of Maryland. She has been operating swimming programs for several years and will soon be certified to certify lifeguards.
  • Jennifer Pearsall, Service Learning Fellow: Jennifer most recently served as the assistant director and AmeriCorps member of the Camp Fire Camp in Central Oklahoma. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and has done work with the YMCA of Three Rivers, Mich. Jennifer has extensive experience in working with and teaching public speaking and will bring that asset to our school and Service Learning Department.
  • Mary Reid Munford, Professional Development Center Fellow: Straight out of Louisiana, Mary has worked with the ExpandEd Day Cultural Arts Academy in New Orleans, along with doing some relief work in South Africa. Mary earned her bachelor’s degree from Princeton.
  • Brian Rudd, Outdoor Education Fellow: Brian was a part of the HPOE Department before he joined the wilderness course in ER 59. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science from Brigham Young University and is originally from Pleasant Hill, Calif.
  • Rebecca Fenn, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: This year’s LAER Fellow most recently worked as an admissions officer at the University of Chicago and will bring that experience to our students at Eagle Rock School. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative human development from the University of Chicago.
  • Jesse Taitt, Music Fellow: Our music fellow is a Berklee College of Music graduate, receiving his degree in jazz composition and professional music. Jesse has also worked with the Berklee Mentoring Program along with the Alumni Creative Corps, which is sponsored by the Boston Arts Academy.
  • LuLing Osofsky, Curriculum Fellow: LuLing received her master’s degree in fine art from the University of Wyoming. She has worked for Green Seas Humanitarian Expeditions, The Art Institute of Indonesia and the Wu Wei Si Monastery in China. LuLing speaks several languages and is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Bahasa Indonesian.

So there you have it. Over the years, we’ve seen many of our Public Allies Fellows from Eagle Rock impact public secondary education after they leave us. Some of these include Stanley Richards who is an instructional coach for New Tech in the Bay Area, Calif.; Dan Hoffman, a teacher and curriculum specialist at Voyager Academy in Durham, N.C.; Sarah Glasband, an advisor with MetWest in Oakland, Calif.; Michael Dunn, currently an upper school history instructor and service learning coordinator at the AIM Academy in Philadelphia, Pa..

Also, Liz Berliant, who is a music teacher at KIPP Bridge Charter School in the Oakland, Calif.; Adrienne Kovacik, who teaches chemistry at Mission Early College High School in Durham, N.C.; and Emily Matuzek, director of learning and development at Teach For America.