January 15, 2016
Aliza Cruz and a group of her geometry students who successfully competed puzzles and clues to escape the New Mexico Escape Room on their field trip this week
Greetings Osprey Community,

We welcomed our first group of prospective students for the 2016-17 school year to campus yesterday, as our enrollment season has officially begun.  Our first  AHS Information Session  is  next Thursday from 5:30-6:30 at AHS , and we encourage those interested in our school's unique, project-based approach to attend the event.  Please let your friends who are considering AHS know that we would love to meet them.  Our AHS Enrollment Flier has all the information they need; we would love for you to share it with them, or to hang it around town to help us get the word out.

Principal LeeAnn Garcia at Durango High School has asked that we share the news that DHS will be discontinuing their small learning communities (Atlas, Basecamp and DAVINCI) beginning next fall.  We invite you to read her letter to the community here to learn more about this decision and how it will impact DHS's programs.

9th grade SOS rider Aiydn Hankins shredding up at Purg
A handful of our students were up at Purgatory today for their first ride day of the year with
SOS Outreach , a great program that connects students with mentors and outdoor education.   Meanwhile, back on campus, Ally Johnson's sophomores exhibited their Truth of War art projects this morning, showcasing film, paintings and illustrations that portray the complex reality of war.

As a reminder, we will not have school next Monday, in observance of Martin Luther King Day, and the following Monday, January 25th is a Professional Development Day for our staff.

Tuesday evening next week, all juniors and their families are strongly encouraged to attend the Junior Night with college counselor Jess Adams, from 6:00 to 7:30 in the AHS Commons.  Jess will share important information to help set juniors up for success in their upcoming college application process, including choosing schools that are the best fit, standardized testing, transcript review, course selection, letters of recommendation and more.   Next Thursday evening from 4:30 to 7:30 at the newly opened Sweet 11 Gallery in downtown Durango, Crystal Pennington 's Spanish 3 students will exhibit their artwork, influenced by Spanish, Chicano and Latin American art and literature.  Read on to learn more, below.

sophomore Avory France's Truth of War painting, "These Sunsets Are to Die For"
Finally, the BirdFeeder is back; we now have mac and cheese and ramen bowls available in the Main Office for $1 for students who are looking for a quick, inexpensive snack or lunch option, with all proceeds supporting our free and reduced lunch program.

Enjoy your long weekend and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming AHS Events  
  • View the 2015-16 AHS School Calendar here  

Voices of the Youth: 11th Grade Humanities Exhibition
by Lyle Bronson

In an evening of rhetorical discourse and discussion, Jessica McCallum's 11th grade Humanities class held their "Voices of the Youth" exhibition on January 13 at the Animas City Theatre.

The "Voices of the Youth" exhibition allowed students to take a firm stand on an issue they felt strongly about, whether their presentation took the form of a speech, a song, a TED Talk, poetry, debates, or even a rap. Including projects ranging from heated speeches on domestic politics to presentations concerning climate change and the viability of alternative energy, this exhibition inspired both students and community members to think critically about pressing social issues.

As the tagline within the brochure for this event read, "Rhetoric is a response and invites a response." Anyone who attended this event was certainly challenged in at least one or more of their beliefs, and they were able to respond to students directly via audience comment sheets.

This project serves as a reminder to all of us that we should remain cognizant of the world around us, and never be afraid to share a little passionate rhetoric of our own.

Art Among the Ages
by Charlie Malone

junior Keiran Eagen's painting, inspired by the poem "To Live in the Borderlands" by Chicano poet Gloria Anzaldua
On Thursday, January 21 from 4:30 to 7:30 Crystal Pennington will be holding a Spanish 3 exhibition at Sweet 11 Gallery, 863 1/2 Main Avenue. The students will be exhibiting their art pieces and Spanish essays that they have been working on over the past two months. Students in this class have been analyzing and recreating adapted versions of historical art pieces from different periods. The artwork represented in the exhibition will be anything from paintings to sculptures. Spanish 3 student Lyle Bryson states that, "The art pieces that we have done in this class have helped us connect to historical Spanish artists and the influence they've had on contemporary art and literature."

Rebranding Student Government at AHS
by Lyle Bryson

Dear Students, Staff, and Parents of Animas High School,

My name is Lyle Bryson, and I am the President of Animas  High School's Student  Council. I'm writing to you today to inform you about two changes we've made to  our student government system that I'm really excited to implement in 2016.

The new year is a perfect time to embrace change, so our representatives have voted to change the name of Animas High School's "Student Advisory  Council" (StAC) to the plain ole' "AHS Student Council."  This simplification is intended to make students more aware of the presence  of our Student Council, and leave students with one less confusing acronym  to remember (Ospreys really loves their acronyms).   In an effort to close the gap between the student body and Student Council in  2016, we feel that this name change is a crucial first step in this mission.

Secondly, I am excited to announce that Student Council will be stepping into more policy-based roles than ever before this semester.  In collaboration with the Head of School and Assistant Head of School, AHS Student Council has created a  student proposal process that will make it easier for students to pursue  accessible and recognizable change within their school.  The first issue we will be collecting proposals for is an updated Dress Code to  be incorporated into Animas High School's Student Handbook.  We are interested in gathering proposals that update the Dress Code to meet  the standards and desires of students, while simultaneously taking into  consideration the professionalism and safety that sets Animas High School  apart as an institution within our community. 

I have a good feeling about this semester, and I am excited for our Student Council to  start approaching more policy-based items in addition to the traditional spirit  events and community activities.  Together, I'm certain that the Student Council, students, faculty, and community of  Animas High School can continue to build our school into a beacon of  professionalism and culture in Southwest Colorado, and I'm more excited than ever  to provide structure for this change. 

If you have any questions or comments, I can be reached at, or feel free to attend any Student Council  meetings on Mondays and Thursdays in Jenny McKenzie's room at 11:35. 

Taking Infinite Campus Under our Wing
by Kate Hallin
Recently, a school-wide switch from Powerschool to the Infinite Campus grading system has sparked discontent amongst students and teachers alike. The new program is riddled with glitches, and is initially very difficult to navigate. Despite the confusion, the real story behind the switch is that Infinite Campus offers versatility that Powerschool was unable to provide Animas with; that of the ability to upload documents, notify students of schedules, and track everything from student behavior to seating charts. According to Head of School Sean Woytek,  the new system is a "comprehensive student information system."  

The switch was mostly the work of Site Manager and Registrar, Laurel Rodd, and IT Director and Assessment Coordinator, Dusty Grannis, for the purpose of providing their roles in student's digitalized records with easier access to information. This system should, eventually, fulfill both the needs of students and staff, once the dust of the transition has settled. When asked if he had any personal opinions concerning the new system, Sean stated, "It has not been a clean switch, but the reality is this is pretty typical for this type of event. I worked with IC for many years prior to coming to AHS and it really is a good system. Ask me at the end of the year when everyone has had time to get familiar with it."
College Corner

Congratulations to our seniors who have been accepted into college!  Please keep Jess informed about your acceptances as you hear so we can celebrate your successes with you; update Naviance with your acceptance status.

Jess will hold a FAFSA night soon; stay tuned for more information.  In the meantime, completing 2015 taxes as soon as possible will be the best way you can prepare to apply for federal student aid.

Midyear transcripts will be uploaded to the Common App and SendEDU Docs today.  Those who need paper copies sent to schools must submit a transcript request through Laurel.

Jess continues to add information about scholarship opportunities to her DP weekly.  Remember to look ino foundation scholarships for each school to which you've been accepted.
Beyond the Nest: Alumnus Nano Rodd
by Hannah Langford
Nano and his dad, Steve
When 2014 graduations rolled around, Nano Rodd, son of our amazing registrar Laurel Rodd and brother of current student Teddy Rodd, chose to explore his next phase of life at the University  of Denver. Since being officially accepted into the Daniels School of Business last term, he is  now pursuing a bachelor's in business administration and marketing with a minor in writing.

Nano speaks highly of the University of Denver, saying he enjoys that there is always something new going on, exclaiming that, "Last weekend I took a spontaneous trip to Keystone where I  eventually ended up on top of a mountain, wearing snowshoes, in the middle of a dance party."  He goes on to say that, "There are so many reasons I could detail of why I love DU. For now,  let's just say it's my home."

When he isn't studying, you can find Nano busy at work around Denver training for an upcoming marathon. He is also a part of the leadership team CRU, a religious organization on campus, as well as a youth leader and Sunday school teacher at his church.

Although Nano is clearly proving that DU is a great fit for him, he still misses Animas. Nano responded in saying, "I miss Dave's insane mannerisms. You know, like supervising a Gladiator  X-block and blowing up a tree stump. I miss frightening yet stimulating conversations with Steve  (pay attention to him, many professors are a lot like him). Really, I miss all the teachers but I'll  call out one more: Jessica and Ashley for never accepting my writing as complete."  Nano has  also greatly appreciated the extent that Animas has taught writing and presentations, as those ar very valuable skills to have.

Nano has clearly made himself at home at the University of Denver, and has greatly valued his experience at Animas and all that it has taught him. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

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