Small Schools = Better World

Published: 2006 by Carol Ann Schmid

Communities are eager for change and are looking toward their young people to solve educational challenges. Schools continue making classes larger and harder for students to learn on an individual basis. Small schools like Eagle Rock offer opportunities to young people to expand their knowledge with structure and support. Eagle Rock was founded on values that lead students and faculty to find a healthy way to live out a desired lifestyle. We embrace values like intellectual discipline, service to others, cross-cultural understanding, and physical fitness to keep our bodies and minds constantly striving for improvement. Eagle Rock manifests the healthiest community possible and always recognizes struggles as if they were gifts and opportunities for learning.

I have been involved in numerous discussions where we challenge relevant issues of the day such as race, education, politics, immigration, and poverty. We expand on topics like this daily, learning new methods to process information that gets distributed. We improve our language so we can more clearly understand each other and be able to use a multitude of opinions. Time for reflection at Eagle Rock is not forgotten. A portion of the schedule is intentionally meant for giving students and staff time to re-process the learning experience.

As I am pushed with lessons of patience, honesty, and fortitude, I remember these are the foundation values that will accelerate my personal growth. As I take Eagle Rock’s tools, I will use them in other educational environments to help me better understand my surroundings. Struggling to create safe environments can be the first major step for all schools. I am developing as an individual through Eagle Rock. I get the opportunity to work on myself in the safe and supportive environment of Eagle Rock’s learning community.

Small schools everywhere continue to push educational limits and are creating inspired young people with aspirations of making changes and nurturing healthy communities across the globe. One person can make a difference. Students who dare to dream beyond what they’re told and ask more from their education deserve small schools. To take a young person’s dream and to accessorize it with tools gives that person the chance to fly and succeed. The generation of today is looking for a base of knowledge to lead them to their own successes, not someone to spoon-feed us.

Eagle Rock is an eclectic and balanced community with teachers, students, and visiting educators learning from each other. We are told to come in with open minds. Everyone is coming in with a bit of knowledge from many different places. We understand that a good balance of class and social time offers different environments for everybody. If we learn as a community together, we become closer in achieving our dreams as one.

I learned time management through my advisory, I gained endless amounts of honest communication skills in my classes, and I started to care for others while living with people from all walks of life.

Eagle Rock has given me the skills and purpose to achieve my highest dreams. My goals to sail around the world and write for National Geographic are honored and nurtured at Eagle Rock.

Young people everywhere need support and a sense of guidance from passionate educators who strive to listen and understand. Educators start spreading support as peers learn to guide one another through these times. Instructors that took that extra ten minutes to explain a problem more in depth are the ones that made the difference. I’ve been blessed with an education that I am grateful for and very proud of. I am confident that my contribution can make a positive difference in our fragile environment. I hope to work at an orphanage in the Himalayas and spend time doing service in all the local communities in which I live. Join me in supporting small schools and their mission to challenge our generation to positively impact our world.


Eagle Rock School
Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center, in Estes Park, Colorado, is both a school for high school age students and a professional development center for adults, particularly educators. The school is a year-round, residential, and full-scholarship school that enrolls young people ages fifteen through seventeen from around the United States. Eagle Rock is a CES Mentor School.


Coral Ann Schmid, age eighteen, arrived at Estes Park, Colorado’s Eagle Rock School in January of 2004. She struggled in conventional educational situations and enjoys Eagle Rock’s educational philosophy, including experiential learning experiences and the safe environment the school offers. Coral enjoys sailing and will be traveling to India this winter. After she graduates, she looks forward to continuing her passion for travel.

Student-as-worker

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