Estes Park Trail Gazette – Eagle Rock School gets ready for summer break

By Nic Wackerly

Eagle Rock School in Estes Park is approaching their summer break and graduation.

The school operates on a trimester schedule.  Each trimester includes three months of school in Estes and a one month break.  However, the uniqueness of Eagle Rock extends beyond the schedule.  The program is focused on helping students that did not have success at a previous school.

When new students arrive in September, they will go on a 24 wilderness trip after a week of preparation.

“Our experience is that going out on the wilderness trip is a way to disconnect from the distractions of society,” Jen Frickey said, director of curriculum for Eagle Rock School.  “Over 24 days, students have to look deeply within themselves and how they interact with people.”

Students choose to come to Eagle Rock.  The application process is student led and helps ensure they are passionate about attending Eagle Rock.  The school accepts students from around the country who have not had success in a traditional learning environment.

When students return to Eagle Rock, they will continue learning with interdisciplinary project based classes.  The teachers use state curriculum standards and common core, but also focus on developing creative curriculum.  examples of this are classes about the psychology of rock climbing or the physics of a roller coaster.

Along with innovative curriculum, Eagle Rock School will feature a new Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) lab.

“We think it is a great way to explore,” Frickey said.  “Students can become creators of technology and solutions instead of just consumers.”

In addition to helping students and developing new curriculum, the Eagle Rock School Professional Development Center works with educators to help make the high school experience more engaging.  Staff at the development center consults with other schools to help them make changes and learn from what is being done at Eagle Rock.

Service remains an important value for Eagle Rock School and Development Center.

Three times a year students participate in EagleServe, which gets students out and working in the community.

“Serve the Eagle Rock and other communities through the contribution of my labors,” is one of the 10 commitments that are a part of the Eagle Rock School Values.

This next year will be an exciting one as Eagle Rock will celebrate their 25th anniversary next summer.  There will also be a documentary coming out this fall about the student wilderness program.

Eagle Rock School is an initiative of the American Honda Education Corporation, a nonprofit subsidiary of the American Honda Motor Company.  It is a full scholarship high school for students and a low-cost professional development center for secondary school educators, according to