August 18, 2017
AHS staff at the base of Corona Arch last week
Greetings Osprey Community,

Our amazing staff spent the last two weeks working and playing together to get inspired and ready for the 2017-18 school year and we cannot wait to welcome our students back on Monday morning!

Our time together as a staff has included making major improvements in our physical spaces so that classrooms, offices and common areas are beautiful, organized, inspiring and functional. Wait until you see it! We also dove into the importance of modeling professionalism, excellence, engagement and stewardship, so that we can confidently ask the same of our students. Spending the first chunk of staff orientation on trails and rivers near Moab was a truly fabulous way to reconnect and get psyched for the year ahead.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back Monday morning at 8:25. Monday and Tuesday's orientation activities will help students learn about opportunities to get involved in our community, get the information they need to start the year strong and build positive relationships and school culture. Core classes begin Wednesday morning and Thursday is the first day for electives. XBlock, our physical education program, will not meet this week; we'll present students with their XBlock choices and have then sign up next week so they'll be ready for XBlock to begin on Wednesday August 30.
Science teacher Kurt Pattison paddling the Moab Daily on staff orientation
We will take advantage of a cool celestial event coinciding with first day of school on Monday--the solar eclipse, which will be 80% visible here in Durango if skies are clear. Science teacher Kurt Pattison will facilitate an educational presentation about the eclipse to the entire school Monday morning and we will build pinhole viewers in advisory groups prior to the big event, which happens during our lunch break. We will not be providing viewing glasses, but students are welcome to bring them if they have them. We will be sure to share information about safe viewing so everyone can enjoy the event without injury to the eye.
entrance to Susy Raleigh's classroom--just one of the many that have been transformed and are looking great!
We know that the start of the school year can feel a bit overwhelming in terms of details that need tracking, especially for students and families who are new to a school community. Please know that we are always happy to help answer your questions. The letter we sent to families two weeks ago has information about schedules, transportation, ordering lunch and more; you can review that here. The Student and Family Handbook is another great resource; it is on the AHS website under the tab called "Our Students," or view it here. That's where you'll find the dress code; please review it so students are dressed appropriately for first day of school.

We have a couple of Osprey families who are currently struggling to find affordable housing.  We have connected them with local nonprofits and other resources, but we would also like to reach out to our generous and well-connected AHS community to invite you to communicate with assistant head of school Libby Cowles if you know about any inexpensive rental housing that might work for these families.  You can reach her at [email protected].

Math teacher Dan Thurber getting those thistles under control
Finally, please be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming events, including the  Feathering the Nest Community Work Day on Saturday August 26 from 1:00 to 4:00. While our campus is looking fantastic already, there are still several projects we'd love to tackle on this day and we would like to see a strong turnout of families volunteering their time to help. Parent Orientation is on Wednesday, September 6 and all new families are strongly encouraged to attend. Our returning families are certainly welcome, too, as this is a great opportunity to meet our faculty and staff and get questions answered. Please note that we have changed the time for the Back to School Social, which is on Saturday, September 16; the new time is 4:00 to 6:00. More details on upcoming events, as well as information about some excellent professional development work our math teachers did over the summer, are below.

We look forward to seeing you all very soon! 

Thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming AHS Events
See the 2017-18 School Calendar here

Math Department Professional Development Work
by Lauren Lucky

This August, the teachers of 9th through 11th grade core mathematics attended a three day professional training with Dr. Brian Lawler, professor of Mathematics Education at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Lawler had previously worked with the Math department at High Tech High, our model school, and so was familiar with our project-based learning model and the possible tensions between math projects and content delivery; in other words, Dr. Lawler understands the challenges inherent in 'fitting' high level complex math content into projects.




Our time together was highly productive, Dr. Lawler had all resources ready and so we were able to immediately dive into a unit to explore what problem-based mathematics looks like from both teacher and student perspective. We then laid out all the mathematical units of study for the first three years of core math at Animas High School making sure students would be prepared for SAT's, ACT's, Calculus and any college math program. The program is integrated so students will be exposed to topics in Algebra, Geometry and Statistics each year.

The last day of training we had time to look at current research in the area of classroom instruction methods in math. Our takeaways included some very specific strategies to meet the needs of all students regardless of their various mathematical backgrounds. We focused on supporting each student's opportunities for growth and specific ways to challenge all students on a daily basis.

The outcomes of these three days were a renewed excitement for our role as a department within a project-based model (we see how we can do it!), curriculum alignment for 9th through 11th grade, a commitment to implementing the instructional classroom strategies we learned and ongoing support from Dr. Lawler to monitor our progress and answer any questions that arise throughout the year. We are excited to share all of our renewed passion for mathematics with our students!

For more news and photos visit the AHS Facebook Page
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