AEE eNews Update – AEE Accredited Program: Eagle Rock School

Eagle Rock School is one of the proudest examples of the work that AEE members do. I have twice had the privilege to visit this AEE accredited program and to participate in the trimester end “Presentations of Learning” (POLs) given by students at Eagle Rock in Estes Park, Colorado. Doing so has provided me with first hand knowledge of the challenges of the Eagle Rock staff and the powerful results their program has on youth that have not found success in traditional educational settings.

All students enrolled at Eagle Rock are required to present what they have learned at trimester end to a group of adults from outside the school community. They are given 15 minutes to give their presentations and then panel members, peers and Eagle Rock staff, ask questions. The POLs often include the use of props, art, technology, and interaction with their peers. One of the students baked some doughnuts for us to try. Another student had a peer do some acting and intentional interrupting in order to make a point really hit home with the audience.

In speaking with other panelists, one of the most interesting things about the Eagle Rock students is their ability to weave academic content into their personal growth in a very authentic way. We really get a sense for where they have been and where they are going, and the depth of their self knowledge. In fact, Jeff Liddle, Director of Curriculum, said, “POLs are a reflection of both what a student is learning and where they are with their personal growth.”

What struck me most as a panel member was how these students come to Eagle Rock with extreme challenges and yet, their growth is extensive enough that they are able to bare those issues to an audience of unfamiliar adults. ER students have often experienced catastrophic circumstances and yet they demonstrate skills, knowledge, and coping mechanisms that many adults do not possess.

Another bonus of being a panelist is experiencing the deep sense of respect and support these students of give to one another. Said Jeff, “It is the culture of the school. There is a significant amount of diversity among the students, geographically, culturally, economically, and that becomes fuel for them to learn about, and respect one another.”

AEE members are encouraged to inquire about being panel members for POLs at Additionally, Eagle Rock is a professional development center and if you are interested in learning more about the school or visiting the school, please visit the website for more information.