November 6, 2015
Dusty and Brian sing about their Osprey Week adventure, Rampaging the Land of Zion, which will include biking, camping and exploring in southwestern Utah
Greetings Osprey Community,

The first snow has fallen and Thanksgiving is just around the corner; this stretch between Halloween and winter break goes quickly and it's hard to believe that we have just a few weeks left in our first semester.  Many thanks to all who turned out for exhibitions this week, as well as the screening of   Most Likely to Succeed.  Our school founders were so inspired by the film and the conversation following it that they penned a letter advocating for the importance of parental involvement in the success of our school.  Please have a read here.

welcome to AHS parent Bridget Stowers, who is our new Main Office Assistant
This week at PEAK Meeting, our students were treated to some pretty entertaining pitches from faculty about  Osprey Week  trips and activities they will lead in May, which include opportunities for rafting, biking, skiing, camping, crafting, building, cooking and much, much more.  Families can review the Osprey Week options  here ; students will be asked to identify their top three choices on November 18.

The AHS  Parent Advisory Committee will meet next Tuesday from 8:30 to 10:00am at Carver's.  We invite you to read minutes from the last meeting , thanks to new PAC Secretary Margery Poitras, to learn more about PAC's current work.  If you would like to contribute feedback, ideas or questions for PAC, but are unable to attend the meeting, you can always email [email protected]

Advanced Physics students, ready to chuck those pumpkins
Dave Heerschap's Advanced Physics students postponed their exhibition due to this week's wintery weather; join them next Wednesday, by the barns and garden at Twin Buttes, beginning at 3:45 to witness the 2nd Annual AHS Punkin Chuckin competition, where teams will go head to head, testing the impressive trebuchets they've designed and constructed.

After the engineering excitement, join us for the AHS Board Meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 on campus.  Candidates for the Parent-Elected Director position will attend as part of the election process.  Applications for the open seat are due by next Wednesday.  On Thursday evening at 5:30 in the AHS Commons, AHS college counselor Jess Adams presents College Prep the Osprey Way.  Join Jess to learn more about our approach to preparing Ospreys for success in college.

Conversational Spanish students Brittney Ketchum and Bryce Ward visiting with Park Elementary bilingual students this week
Sophomore Humanities teachers Ally Johnson and Stephen Sellers have begun their Truth of War project and are seeking help in connecting their students with local veterans of foreign war who would be willing to share their experiences.  Students will interview veterans for the StoryCorps Military Voices Initiative.  If you are interested in participating or know someone who might be, please contact them directly at [email protected] and [email protected].

Finally, as you know, teens can get pretty hungry and our stash of healthy snacks for those who forget lunch is running low.  Donations gratefully accepted at the front desk.  Be sure to introduce yourself to our new Main Office Assistant Bridget Stowers while you're at it.  We're grateful to have her aboard.

Thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming AHS Events  
View the 2015-16 AHS School Calendar here  

Most Likely to Succeed
by Hannah Langford
AHS Founders and early supporters gather to view the film; Barb Heinrich, Jim Judge, Bliss Bruen, Jesse Hutt, Holly Jobson, Holly Shure, Phil Bryson, Gisele Pansze and Amy Hewitt

If you didn't attend the Most Likely to Succeed documentary on Wednesday, November 4, you really missed out. The Concert Hall of Fort Lewis College was filled with minds searching for answers and panelists who might just have them. Ranging from middle school students to college alum to parents, this documentary was met with the warm welcome of a variety of people trying to solve the debate between what type of schooling produces students more likely to succeed. This documentary takes us through the minds behind our standard education system and compares it to more alternative education routes, such as High Tech High (HTH), to see who will truly be more prepared for improving our world.

The standard school system was designed in 1893 with the sole purpose of educating children to be more capable of industrial, blue-collar jobs, and create a more powerful military. That's it. Their purpose was not to develop children prepared to invent the newest form of renewable energy, or work with others to cure cancer; so why are we sticking to this same educational design when so much has changed? Success in the world is vastly different now then it was 122 years ago, but our education system isn't. 

High Tech High, which Animas High School is modeled after, offers a completely new way of education. A way that doesn't teach students to just memorize equations but become invested in their education. A way that shows students to learn by doing rather than listening and regurgitating. One persuading factor in the film was the eye-opening evidence. For example, one of the most prestigious, private high schools in the nation asked students, just three months after taking their finals, to re-take them. While the original average was a B+, the average the second time was an F. Not one student was able to recall the information they had "mastered" just a few months before. On the other side, High Tech High doesn't spend one minute on test preparation, yet students consistently test 10% above the national average. Not only that, but since they are in a setting where they are completely immersed in their education, High Tech High students remember what they've learned because they see how it matters. Oh, did I forget to mention HTH also has a college acceptance rate of 98%?

After the film, questions from the audience were answered by a panel, which consisted of Dr. Richard Fulton of Fort Lewis College, Shane Voss of Mountain Middle School, Dan Snowberger of Durango 9-R school district, and our very own Lori Fisher and Sean Woytek, who both previously worked at High Tech High. Sean commented that project-based learning allows students to "fail, grow, do it better next time, and learn from failures," which cannot always be said about standardized schooling. Lori added by saying this type of schooling "reaffirms students to do something real and to do something we're unsure they can do." Dan Snowberger followed saying that "every student has a unique skill set" and that we have "the experts in our community" need to make our teachers great and make our students successful. Although there were a variety of opinions, everyone seemed to leave with the understanding that education shouldn't be broadly standardized and that all schools have room for improvement to make sure students are prepared to be successful in the world.

Political Awareness Club
by Lyle Bryson

The Animas Political Awareness Club (APAC for short) held its first meeting on November 3. The goal of APAC is to "generate more educated student participation in not only this upcoming election, but in elections to come."  The founders of the club, seniors Oli Sakadinsky and Bekah Kuster, aim to bring students into the realm of modern politics through personal analysis of political media and a greater understanding of the candidates running in the national presidential race.

When asked about what she feels the purpose of APAC is, Oli claimed, "Emphasizing the importance of voting and helping students find the issues that are important to them and the candidates that share their view about those issues."

If you'd like to get involved in local and national politics and increase the voice that you have in our government, you can join the club every Tuesday at lunch in Lori's room. If you can't make it to these meetings, feel free to visit APAC's website  for a wealth of political information.

Please plan to join us for Animas High School's newest fundraiser, the  Osprey Games , on 
Wednesday, November 18 from 6:00 to 9:00 at the Henry Strater Theatre !  You won't want to miss this fun, interactive, game-show-themed evening featuring our fabulous students and teachers.  Money raised through this fundraiser will directly support our students and programs, thanks to generous sponsorship from several local businesses.  Hearty appetizers and a cash bar.  Mark your calendars!
Contact Us
Phone: (970) 247-2474
Fax: (970) 247-2483
College Corner

Jess would like to gently remind seniors that it's customary and kind to write thank you notes to teachers who have written letters of recommendation.  Please remember to show your teachers some love!

On Thursday, November 12, a representative from Grand Canyon University will visit AHS during lunch.  That evening, Jess presents College Prep the Osprey Way at 5:30 in the AHS Commons.
Several scholarship deadlines are coming up for seniors, including Daniel's Fund, Youth Volunteer Scholarship and Navy ROTC. More details here on Jess' DP.
Beyond the Nest: Alumna Natalie Youssef
by Domi Frideger

Natalie Youssef graduated from Animas High School in the class of 2015. She was a vibrant member of the Animas High School community who brought her passion for art as well as her  endless work ethic to every problem she faced at Animas. Her hobbies include skiing,  photography and surfing (both on the ocean and at Navajo lake). This year she is attending  Bowdoin College in the coastal tow n of Brunswick, Maine. Bowdoin is a highly selective liberal arts school that is very different from Animas High School. Natalie says that although Bowdoin  is hard, she would recommend it to anyone. "I love the community and am inspired to apply  myself every day . The professors bring their personalities to the classroom and reach out to you,  creating a strong professor to student bond. They remind me of Animas teachers in some ways.  For example my professor referenced Wu Tang in class today discussing the eco nomics behind  fisheries in Main e. It's a lot like Animas High School due to the fact that it's a small community." 

Coming from Animas High School, Natalie is by no means a fish out of water at Bowdoin. She fits right in, has a solid group of friends and even manages not to miss the mountains too much. 

When asked if Animas High School prepared her well for such a rigorous college she said, "Animas high school prepared me to be confident and adjust well to a community where I  needed to advocate for myself and really be involved in my own
education. However, I wasn't  prepared for the large exams, such as midterms, worth a large percentage of my grade, because at  Animas High School I've never had to study for so many tests at one time. The stakes are higher  in college and opportunities to redo work or edit tests, such as test corrections provided at  Animas High School, are very slim. In the end, no high school can really prepare you  for college,  because in college you need to adjust to living on your own." 

It seems that Natalie has managed  the transition from high school to college smoothly and we at Animas are excited to see where  such a bright young woman will go in life.

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