By Mags Miller '90 02/08/2019
I was living in Harare, Zimbabwe, when I first found CRMS. I was 13 years old, had lived in Africa most of my life, and didn’t know the first thing about Colorado, let alone snow. But my 13-year-old self was certain that CRMS was the place for me. To this day, I couldn’t tell you why it spoke to me, it was just one of those things that you know in your gut.
And my gut was right.
By Allison Johnson 01/31/2019
The ability to stare down a genocidal Bosnian general at an international human rights tribunal does not come overnight. It is the product of years of hard work, dedication, experience, and exposure to human suffering. In the case of CRMS alumna Claire Noone '07, many of the seeds that have contributed to her successes as a human rights lawyer were planted at CRMS.
Noone recently visited CRMS to share her story with students. In addition to speaking at an all-school meeting about her work in Bosnia and along the U.S.-Mexico border, she attended several classes and had lunch with students. She was delighted to see that many of the ideals that shaped who she is, still exist today at the school.
By Heather McDermott, Director of the Garden Program 01/10/2019
It was a record-breaking year for the CRMS garden. As we were planning for a robust expansion for 2018, we purchased a tractor and other specialized equipment. We broke ground and installed irrigation on over 2 acres of new field on Crystal River Road. This piece of land had long ago was used as a CRMS soccer field, but this year it became a gorgeous, thriving garden. In all, the garden doubled in size.
By Allison Johnson 01/03/2019
If you journeyed far out into the Pacific Ocean and down to a depth of 1,200 feet, you might be lucky enough to spy a creature that looks like a giant seashell mated with an octopus. The chambered nautilus can trace its ancestry back 500 million years, but it is now endangered and hunted for its shell. What the nautilus will never know is that thousands of miles away, a landlocked senior at CRMS is fighting to protect it and has been since he was 11 years old.
By Thomas Phippen , Post Independent 12/27/2018
Why two teachers stayed at Carbondale boarding school for 40 years
At 8:15 on a Tuesday just before the holiday break, Mark Clark tries to get Colorado Rocky Mountain School students to talk about the inevitability of death, specifically as it is portrayed in Sartre’s short story “The Wall” about prisoners facing a death sentence.
Clark, who now teaches philosophy of history to seniors, and chemistry teacher Jim Gaw are in their 40th year as teachers at CRMS. They are beloved for their attention to the students at CRMS, and their contributions to the school and the community.
By The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) 12/20/2018
Where and how your child learns can significantly impact their chances for success. A boarding school education can be a superior alternative when considering schools. Here, we’ve compiled the most common misperceptions about boarding school from parents. Browse through them to learn the truth and discover more about boarding school.
Topics: boarding school
By Ruth Oppenheimer '19 12/13/2018
The purpose of the trip, for 15 CRMS seniors who chose to attend, was to experience firsthand the Buddhist ideals we are studying, as we have learned that one cannot truly learn Buddhism without coming into contact with the concepts and practicing them ourselves.
By Allison Johnson 12/06/2018
Adults have always worried about the health and well-being of our teens. The teen years are a vulnerable time of immense brain growth and of leaning into adulthood without fully understanding what it is. The neurodevelopment of critical areas of a teen’s brain makes them more receptive to both environmental factors and learning but also hinders key areas like executive function and planning, which fully mature later in their twenties.
Today the challenges teens face are external as well as internal and more concerning than ever before. Anxiety, depression, and suicide are notably on the rise paired with an increased pressure to get into college. Social media and cell phones have taken a toll on student health – a recent study found that 50% of teens felt addicted to their phones. Screens have impacted teens in other ways as well. Teens are sleeping less than they were a generation ago, and a 2016 study found that over 90% of U.S. high school students don’t get enough exercise to stay healthy. While teen smoking is down, vaping use has skyrocketed. Adults are right to worry about their student’s health and wellness.
By The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) 11/28/2018
High school is around the corner, and you're wondering what it will be like. You may be thinking about whether it will help you get into the college of your dreams, or allow you to learn about the things that really interest you.
There are a lot of unknowns about high school, but you're sure of one thing - you have big plans for yourself, and you want to be in the right place. If you've ever considered a boarding school, take a look at these seven signs that you're ready for more.
Topics: boarding school
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 11/15/2018
Perhaps you can tell by this list that I have switched from summer leisure reads to strategic initiatives and planning. That is not to say that these books are all about “work;” they are all excellent reads and worth people’s time if they find the subject relevant and of interest.
By Andrea Chacos 11/06/2018
At some point, we all start to sound just like our parents when it comes to the importance of music education. “I wish I continued playing the piano when I was your age,” or “Just one more year of music lessons and you’ll thank me later,” are comments that we utter to our children when they’re still in our care. We say things like this because we know the benefits of music are bountiful and there is value in this type of education.
By Amiee White Beazley 09/13/2018
For nine months out of every year, Colorado Rocky Mountain School is alive, filled with students tapping into their exceptional possibilities, working together, planning adventures, and for more than half of the student body – living together.
Boarding is a big part of CRMS life. With seven dorms there are approximately 100 students living on campus.
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 08/30/2018
My summer reading list: Perhaps due to the pervasive lists of “beach reads” that I encountered over the last few months, there is a broader assortment of literature that I am recommending this time around. I still had the pleasure of reading some excellent non-fiction books that generally focus on culture and community. Surprisingly, I did not read a book this summer that I would not recommend.
By Dave Meyer, History Faculty 08/02/2018
You drift blissfully on the current of a lazy summer day and your mind ponders the glories of cold lemonade, the happiness of some unstructured hours, and whether that guy/girl you have a crush on knows you exist. Thoughts continue and you consider favorite places, concerts in the future, great friends, math derivatives and factoring. Wait! Derivatives and factoring? This is summer, why are you thinking about math?
This is a quick reminder that using your brain in the off-season (summer time) is as important as dryland training is for a great ski winter. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself in intellectual shape in the summer months.
By Reprinted from Grown & Flown 07/12/2018
Many parents wonder how they can help with the college application process. Here are a few tips on how to help without taking over.
By Jeff Leahy 06/28/2018
The latest installment of what CRMS Head of School, Jeff Leahy, is reading
Check out what Alex Schechter of Bloomberg has to say about our quaint town nestled in the Colorado Rockies. "Serious food cred, big mountain adventures, and a growing stock of luxury hotels are putting this little-known town on the cusp."
Plus it's home to the Colorado Rocky Mountain School!
By Peter Benedict, River Program Manager and Mathematics Faculty 05/10/2018
As the rivers rise again this spring, I wanted to take a moment to pass on some things I think about in regards to river safety. Fast flowing mountains streams are captivating on hot days. There is little that is as fun as riding the whitewater roller coaster of a high water river. But things can go wrong quickly on a cold mountain river. Below is some practical advice for anyone planning to be in the water.
By Betsy Bingham-Johns, Director fo College Counseling at CRMS 05/01/2018
It's that time of year at Colorado Rocky Mountain School where the junior class has begun the process of writing their personal essay for college admissions. Here are a few tips on the best way to approach what could be considered by some to be a challenging topic.
By Genevieve Villamizar 04/19/2018
For ten summers, fifty inner-city kids have filled Colorado Rocky Mountain School classrooms with academic fervor, paddled waterways with new-found friends and climbed to their personal bests through all CRMS has to offer.
“CRMS programming uniquely combines academic, residential, and outdoor experiences to help young people challenge themselves to become the students and citizens they want to be,” says Chelsea Brundige, CRMS board president. “High School High Scholars is a program in the same spirit—supporting the passion and courage of underserved students who want to chart a course for themselves to a 4-year college degree.”
By Heather McDermott, Director of the CRMS Garden Program 04/13/2018
The success of your garden this summer depends a lot on how you plan, prepare and prime your garden soil! Here are some tips to get you going:
Topics: garden, service
By Allison Johnson 03/29/2018
The history of Native American culture of the Southwest has been incorporated into the CRMS learning experience since its founding days. In the early years of the school, John and Anne Holden packed students into the famous green truck to visit Native American reservations in New Mexico for Spring Trip. In later years, Navajo guides took students on ponies to visit remote canyons and cliff dwellings where potsherds littered the ground. Students have stayed with families on reservations and helped elders who sometimes didn't speak English with tasks such as herding sheep. More recently, CRMS seniors have visited reservations on class trips and learned about traditional skills such as weaving and hunting. These experiences were so powerful for alumni that in the 1990s they stepped forward to support the creation of two scholarships for Native American students. The school continues to cultivate this connection today and has a special decades-old relationship with one family in particular.
Topics: arts, community
By Jessica Worley '11, Teaching Fellow 2018 03/22/2018
The Joshua Tree Traditional Climbing Interim had its debut this winter. BJ Sbarra had been crafting the interim for a few years, wanting to fill a gap in the school’s climbing program. Student’s who go through the CRMS climbing program gain strength, technique, competency in belaying, and even learn how to lead sport climbs.
By Allison Johnson 03/15/2018
A school is measured to a significant degree by the quality of its teachers. At CRMS, Annual Fund dollars are earmarked to ensure that the school can recruit and retain passionate and high-quality staff.
“My co-workers are the most dedicated people I’ve ever met,” says Environmental Science teacher Robin Colt. “They support their students and treat them as equals who can make a difference.”
There’s no better place to witness this philosophy in action than in Colt’s Environmental Science classes, where students are exposed to real-world environmental issues, current events, potential career options, and hands-on science in the form of field work and labs.
Topics: academics, environment
By Tracy Wilson 03/06/2018
This year, several new Interim offerings were proposed. Look for recaps from the leaders in the coming weeks.
9th-grade Coordinator Tracy Wilson and Director of the International Program Katie Hyman took a group of students to the South to learn about civil disobedience during the Civil Rights Movement and how those practices can still be utilized today.
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 03/01/2018
I am sitting with my son on a plane the day he turned thirteen, and almost precisely at the moment that would mark his birthday, the sweet little boy presented a previously unseen edge in his impatience with me and all of a sudden it appeared as though I could not do anything right. I am not exaggerating when I share this - he was at that moment a noticeably different person: one that had very little tolerance for my getting something wrong and becoming annoyed relatively quickly with something that I no longer could read because I was in my 50's (and therefore helpless with small print). The moment didn't last long, and by all measures, he remains a very gentle and kind person, but the shift in his attitude towards me was noticeably there. I shouldn't have been surprised, given what I know about the teenage brain.
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 02/22/2018
As a nation, we seem more obsessed with being happy than at any time before, and research would suggest that this pursuit of happiness has only made us unhappier. It is a paradox that I am aware of, and yet, as a parent and educator, if I could desire one thing for my children and any student at our school, it would be health and happiness above all else. Complicating the matter, the notion of one's happiness does not come in a can that can simply be opened and distributed – in short; we can't make our child happy.
Alumnus Peter Olenick '02 is a freestyle skiing pioneer and an 11-time X-Games competitor who won four medals in three different events. This winter, he’ll be at the 2018 Winter Olympics, representing the home team. Olenick is the coach of the South Korean freestyle ski team. He coached his sister Meg '06, a top-level slopestyle skier, through her entire career.
By Allison Johnson 01/18/2018
Joe Wagner, class of 2000, grew up in Napa Valley amidst the vineyards of his family’s estate. He first heard about CRMS from a friend of his brother’s, and those stories of a school out in the Colorado Rockies with hands-on learning, outdoor trips, and challenging athletics spoke to him. Only looking back now, however, does he realize the full impact the school had on him.
By Geneviève Villamizar 01/05/2018
How often do you consider the possibility that your firmly held beliefs could, in fact, be wrong?
“You could keep kids in a bubble,” Pittz allows. “But I’ve been very frustrated by the bubble. What I mean by that, is it’s our defense not to be informed, to not be educated about something.” That is in part what the Visiting Scholar Program seeks to address. “It’s meant to inject some interest— intellectual, emotional, civic energy— into CRMS,” says Forbes.
Topics: academics, community
By Amiee White Beazley 12/28/2017
What makes a school special? Beyond academics, it is the nurturing of a community, a place where traditions and ritual take hold and bring students and faculty together. At CRMS, teachers and students not only share in the learning and living experience but look also to bonding experiences through music, the outdoors and athletics.
Topics: active, fun, student life
By Jeff Leahy 12/22/2017
My recent reading list: Over the summer months and into the school year I have had the pleasure of spending my personal free time reading some outstanding books. If you took notice of my earlier reading list (last spring), you will see that this current list is heavily weighted with “business” books and towards the theme of culture, and how we view people and their place within their communities. (I noticed this only upon reflection, and while it is not deliberate on my part, these are topics of personal interest).
By Dave Meyer 12/14/2017
The gravity battles of the High School Climbing League moved from the cozy confines of the Western State University climbing wall to the cavernous walls of Grand Valley Climbing in Grand Junction. This competition drew the biggest field of the season in the Western Slope region with 138 high school climbers suiting up to do battle with the boulders and roped routes.
By Allison Johnson 12/01/2017
CRMS Senior Whitton Feer is more interested in the backcountry than the spotlight; however, recent awards have driven him out from the behind the lens of his camera. After winning the second annual Aspen Photo Challenge in the under-18 category and a Dream Project scholarship from the 5Point Film Festival earlier this year, Feer has a busy fall ahead of him that includes videography, photography, and applying to college.
Topics: arts, outdoor
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 11/20/2017
CRMS is an intentionally small student community, and the reasons for this were clear on Halloween night when over 50 costumed teenagers gathered to celebrate the occasion down at the Head of School's home.
By Cindy Blachly 11/10/2017
Stepping into David Powers’ glassblowing studio is like stumbling onto a secret portal that leads to the molten core of the Earth.
As he opens the door to the main furnace, a radiant orange heat roars into the room. Inside, liquid glass shimmers white at 2,000 degrees F.
“Glass is a magical, mystical thing, a glob with all this potential, not unlike a teenager,” Powers says. He should know, having taught teenagers at Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) for 40 years.
By Genevieve Villamizar 11/02/2017
Perched as they are at the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork Rivers, it is fitting that the ninth grade class at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School have found themselves immersed in the very lifeline of the West: water.
Through an inter-curricular water study unit, students have explored its braids, oxbows and side streams through English, history, world geography, science and the arts. The essential question being asked, says Academic Dean Nancy Draina, is “How do we shape water and how does it shape us?”
Topics: academics, environment
By Allison Johnson 10/26/2017
The first weeks of any high school experience can be a time of nervous transition for new students. This year CRMS has introduced initiatives aimed at easing the passage for incoming freshman by giving them more time outside of academics or sports to get to know each other and build a greater sense of community in the class as a whole. Traditionally, some of that happens on the Wilderness orientation trip, but because Wilderness happens off-campus, this year staff decided to do more.
By Geneviève Joëlle Villamizar 10/05/2017
Class of '90 alumna Micah Springer began saving money for a one-year backpack trip throughout Africa with best friend and running partner, Kas Hilberman while still attending the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. They saved for three years and researched the continent before springing the surprise on their parents.
"Keepers of the Story," is a memoir of Springer's journey.
By Allison Johnson 09/28/2017
If you see a student pedaling a yellow cruiser bike around campus and then see another student pedaling a yellow cruiser bike around campus, don't worry. You're not seeing double. You're actually witnessing the success of a new bike sharing program that has recently been introduced to campus. The CRMS Community Bike Program is a student-driven project that took off last year to resolve some of the bike issues students were seeing around campus.
By Allison Johnson 09/20/2017
Competitive swimming might not seem like a natural pursuit for an adult living in the mountains of Colorado, but longtime CRMS teacher Kayo Ogilby has not only returned to a beloved sport from his youth but also clocked in with such impressive results that he’s headed to the World Masters Swimming Championships in both open water and pool events.
By Carolyn Watt-Williams 09/06/2017
The students involved in the horse program at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) dreamt for months of adopting a wild mustang. In June, their dreams came true.
Topics: horsemanship, active
By Aimee Yllanes 06/08/2017
On June 3, 2017, 36 seniors prepared to embark on the next chapter of their lives.
By Randall Lavelle 06/05/2017
Coffee House is an all-school "talent show" where any CRMS student or faculty member has the opportunity to perform. Coffee House has become a wonderful CRMS tradition with two performances a year, one during Family Weekend in the fall and the second closes out the school year - the night before graduation.
By Aimee Yllanes 05/25/2017
Senior Project is an integral part of a student’s final year at CRMS, requiring students to exercise self-reliance and responsibility. This project forms an important aspect of the transition from the relatively comfortable and familiar school community to the world beyond.
By Molly Dorais, Director of Admission and Financial Aid 05/18/2017
The benefits of attending a boarding school are often untold. A recent Forbes.com article shares how this incredible experience can impact a child's education, and life. At Colorado Rocky Mountain School, we embrace the values stated here, and the data supports that notion that boarding school students are more motivated and better prepared than their public and private day school peers.
By Amiee White Beazley 05/04/2017
Senior Morgan Young stepped up to the microphone at the end of CRMS’ All School Meeting holding a heavy, oversized chain. From it hung a copper letter “B,” jagged and raw. Morgan began to read from a black and white notebook. “This person has taught me how to be a better listener, a kayaker, a geologist, and hopefully someday a teli-er,” she said. “This person is special. He’s special because he moves you with not only his words, but his actions.” When she finished, Morgan lifted the mammoth chain and handed it -- the Braj Award -- to its latest recipient...
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 04/24/2017
Ever wonder what the Head of School at CRMS reads and listens to? Everything from sports training to character building to how to food quality impacts students on college campuses. Check out Jeff's list of books and podcasts that he's read and listened to this spring.
By Aimee Yllanes 04/11/2017
5Point Film is a non-profit organization on a mission to inspire adventure of all kinds, to connect generations through shared experience, to engage passion with a conscience, and to educate through film.
This year, three CRMS students won a 5Point Dream Project Scholarship
By Heather McDermott, Director of Garden Program 04/06/2017
Colorado’s climate with its intense sun, day/ night temperature fluctuations, dry and windy weather can be a challenge to grow in. Here are some tips to get you started.
By Bob Ward 03/09/2017
The ranks of independent college counselors in the United States continue to grow, from an estimated 1,400 in 2005 to some 8,000 in 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Those numbers tell a story of perceived need, of families anxious for help to get their high-school graduate into the best possible college or university.
Especially for the high achievers eyeing tough, selective schools, the college admissions process can be fraught with pressure. More students are applying to colleges and the perceived value of a college degree has never been higher. So the process gets more competitive — and therefore stressful — by the year.
But here’s the good news for CRMS families. There’s a dedicated college counselor on campus, and she spends 100 percent of her time guiding students through the admissions process. Moreover, the college counseling program is woven into the CRMS curriculum, so students are pondering, researching and preparing to apply months before the actual documents are due.
Topics: college, faculty, academics, parents
By Mark Clark, History Faculty 03/02/2017
This year, we are very excited to welcome Craig Childs' to CRMS. His visit will bring the opportunity to highlight and focus on our diverse, powerful, and important Active Curricula.
Topics: speaker, active, art, garden
By Rachel Bachman 02/28/2017
The grand finale! The Oysters headed to Steamboat Springs last weekend to compete in the CHSAA State Championships.
Topics: active, nordic
By Dave Meyer 02/23/2017
With a long climbing season winding down, the Oysters of Colorado Rocky Mountain School continued their winning ways this past weekend.
By Aimee Yllanes 02/10/2017
Every February, students get a break from their daily class schedule to pursue a special intellectual interest for an entire week. Since the early 1970s Interim has been one of the most popular aspects of academic life at CRMS, as every member of the community is able to focus their energies on a single elective.
By Bob Ward 02/02/2017
Virtually anyone associated with Colorado Rocky Mountain School will tell you it’s a unique place, where the learning environment extends from the classroom to the garden to the dormitory to the surrounding mountains and rivers. To help articulate CRMS’s unusual synthesis of classroom learning, village living, wilderness adventure, and what happens when work and life unite, we asked four faculty veterans — Amanda Leahy, Jim Gaw, Mark Clark, and Kayo Ogilby — to describe their experiences teaching, living, playing, and raising families on campus.
Topics: faculty, academics, active
By Teige Muhlfeld 01/19/2017
The floors and walls of the timbered room are cloaked in black soot that rises in little puffs as you walk around. A metallic clang of hammered iron resounds. Scroll work, decorative iron work, hammers, and jigs hang on the walls. The scene could be straight out of Dante’s Inferno, but in fact it is the forge at Colorado Rocky Mountain School.
Topics: blacksmithing, arts
By Amanda Leahy, Horse Program Manager 01/12/2017
The CRMS Horse Program just completed its third year after a historical hiatus of more than 20 years. The program serves approximately sixteen students of varying abilities both 1st and 2nd quarter, and offers instruction in a variety of equine disciplines, including both Western and English equitation, jumping, veterinary care, horse training ethics, and all-around horse care and education.
Topics: active, sports, horsemanship
The third quarter Active Program at CRMS is typified by the snow-sport offerings.
Topics: sports, active, winter
By Catherine Lutz, on behalf of the Aspen Skiing Company 12/29/2016
When a 147-kilowatt solar array was installed on the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) campus in Carbondale in 2008, it was the largest solar array on Colorado’s western slope.
Topics: solar, environment
By Dave Powers '72, Glassblowing Artist-in-Residence 12/15/2016
Attending CRMS in the late sixties/early seventies was a transformative experience for me. I became really excited about learning, was immersed in a community of fascinating people, and felt meaning/purpose in many of the activities that filled our time there. Since graduating, I have spent many years here teaching and as a parent, doing what I could to make sure that students continued to have opportunities for powerful educational experiences.
Topics: alumni, sports, academics, values, garden
By Betsy Bingham-Johns 12/08/2016
Parents know (and remember!) what peer pressure looks like for kids. They want to fit in. They want to be accepted. They don't want to be singled out. "Everybody's doing it" can be a persuasive teen argument even when it's not true.
Peer pressure also exists for parents, especially around college admissions. And if you're the parent of a high school student, you've likely seen, heard, or experienced it.
Topics: college, parents
This week, we feature a member of the Arts faculty, George Weber, Director of the Music Program.
Topics: faculty, music
By Allison Johnson 11/17/2016
Tech classes may not seem like a natural fit for a school that's renowned for its outdoor education, but CRMS' nascent and cutting-edge computer sciences department not only appeals to a broad swath of students but also taps into some of the most deep-rooted values of the school.
Topics: computers, science, mathematics
By Aimee Yllanes 11/03/2016
Family Weekend took place October 28 - 31. Parents came from all corners of the country and world to visit their children.
Topics: music, family, fundraiser
By Molly Dorais, CRMS Director of Admission and Financial Aid 10/27/2016
Choosing a school for your child is a big decision. It’s where they will spend the majority of their waking day, where they will make their friends, and where they will develop the foundations for life long learning. Ask anyone about how to approach this decision and they will tell you to “do what is best for your child.” That too can be a difficult question to answer.
By Amiee White Beazley 10/20/2016
Fall means harvest season for the CRMS Organic Learning Garden. Here hundreds varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs which have been nurtured since spring are being moved from the earth to the plates of the CRMS community.
Topics: harvest, garden, work, food
By Jeff Leahy, Head of School 09/02/2016
Colorado Rocky Mountain School begins each school year by having its new students participate in a wilderness orientation
, and we have done so for over 40 years.
Topics: wilderness, outdoor