February 5, 2016
sophomores Alex and Victoria check their fingerprints as they learn forensic science in Biology
Greetings Osprey Community,

Things were certainly bustling on campus today, as alumni from the High Tech High (HTH) Graduate School of Education visited our classes this morning to see how AHS is making the HTH model of project-based learning our own. The cohort of educational leaders, all who completed the program together last year, include AHS Head of School Sean Woytek and Mountain Middle School's 8th Grade Teacher Leader, Chris Hughes.  It was an honor to have this group on campus today and their expertise is invaluable to us as a school dedicated to reflective practice and refinement.  

juniors Tristan, Austin and Kieran chow down on the tasty product of their Hollandaise Lab, led by student teacher Kurt Pattison in Chemistry
Our faculty received great feedback from the HTH cohort during lunch, when our visitors commended us for strong student-teacher relationships, the use of feedback circles in classes to give students voice, the way our students demonstrated respect for one another and great use of clarifying questions, evidence of student-directed learning and college-level work, and students initiating their own connections with our broader community.  

High Tech High co-founder Rob Riordan and graduate program director Kelly Wilson, debriefing with our faculty after classroom observations
HTH co-founder Rob Riordan, who was with the group, mentioned that he plans to refer to Becca Schaldach's Senior Project as an example of beautiful work in a chapter he's writing for a book about education for sustainability.  We loved hearing Riordan say "I spent most of my time in one class because I was so excited to be there!"   The group spent the afternoon observing classes at Mountain Middle School, and will stay in Durango through the weekend, sharing stories and brainstorming together about challenges and successes they are facing in their respective schools.  AHS  founders looked to HTH as a model for our school and it's really exciting to see our connections to HTH strengthen and grow.  In addition to Sean's ties, Lori Fisher, Kyle Edmundson and Aliza Cruz all taught at HTH before moving to Durango specifically to teach at AHS.  Having the HTH cohort visit helps us in our work of more fully realizing our mission and vision of preparing students for college and post-secondary success through an innovative, student-centered, project-based curriculum and we deeply appreciate their feedback.

junior Humanities class this morning--discussing novels at the Steaming Bean
Parent feedback is critical in this work, too.  If you haven't completed the Annual Parent Survey, please take a few minutes to do so this weekend, so we have solid, accurate input to help us prioritize where we need to focus moving forward.  You can access the survey here.

We're excited to announce that we are planning to host another screening of the film Most Likely to Succeed, which showcases how High Tech High uses project-based learning to set students up for success in the 21st century.  Save the date--Monday, March 7. More details coming soon.  Many thanks to our AHS Founders for sponsoring this additional screening!

the Thompson brothers showing their entrepreneurial side, selling breakfast burritos to hungry Ospreys in the chilly morning
Next Thursday, sophomores in Stephen Sellers' Humanities classes will host a book launch party for their Poet Laureate Project from 5:00-7:00pm at the Open Shutter Gallery.  The students will perform original poetry, inspired by their study of a various nations involved in World War I.  Student-produced books will be available for purchase.  Please join us for this exhibition of student work, which will also include a silent auction and refreshments.

Finally, we want to invite and encourage our Osprey community to attend the memorial service for Charlie Sullivan, brother to AHS junior Ethan Sullivan, this Saturday evening at 5:30 at the Powerhouse Science Center.  Charlie passed away suddenly in December and this service is an opportunity for us to support Ethan and his mom, Danielle, who served on the AHS Board of Directors until recently.  All are welcome.

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

Senior Project Spotlight: Team Energy Audacity Strives to Build and Race Solar Car

Senior Project is an in-depth study of a focused research topic chosen from among the academic disciplines students have studied throughout their career at Animas High School. Senior Project consists of a research paper, exhibition, action project, and thesis defense. The research paper promotes high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research within a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a Senior Project Advisor. After the research and writing is complete, students complete a self-designed action project that puts their research into action for a larger community. The project is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, and creativity.
A team of four seniors calling themselves Team Energy Audacity--Dylan Kroes, Domi Frideger, Noah Hotchkiss and Trevor Jordan--have taken on the ambitious goal of creating a solar car large enough to be driven by a human. They have signed up for the Solar Car Challenge, a race from Fort Worth, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota--starting on July 14.

These students are very excited to be working on the car of the future, and are seeking funding. If you want to see a team of AHS students succeed in one of the country's most highly esteemed renewable energy competitions, please donate to their GoFundMe account at .

Board of Directors Update
The AHS Board of Directors meets monthly to carry out their work of ensuring that the school is fulfilling its mission and vision, supporting and evaluating the Head of School, monitoring and strengthening the school's programs and services, providing financial oversight, ensuring legal and ethical integrity of the organization and enhancing the school's public standing.  All meetings are open to the public and meeting times, agendas and minutes are posted on the AHS website here.

At this week's Board Meeting we welcomed a new board member, Jeff King, who is father to sophomore Dylan King.  The Board discussed partnering with 9R in a possible mill-levy once 9R has a clearer vision of their approach to the issue.  Head of School Sean Woytek shared work he has been doing to determine the ideal school size for Animas, balancing the need for per-pupil revenue (PPR) with the desire for small class sizes.  Development Director Ashley Hein discussed future plans for a spring event to combine showcasing the work of Animas students, celebrating the conclusion of the school year and fundraising.  The matter of replacing retiring board members was also discussed.

It is an exciting time to be a part of AHS as our educational model is the future of education.  We excel in the execution of project-based learning through excellent teachers, small class sizes and engaging, relevant work.  We have successfully transitioned from start-up to sustainability mode. You have the ability to make a difference in our community and our students need your support.  Please consider joining our hard-working, highly functioning board.  At this time, we are particularly seeking community members who have experience in finance and project management as we get ready for the next phase of our development--designing, funding and moving into a permanent 21st century facility.

Community members are welcome to contact the Board at any time by emailing

College Corner

Join college counselor Jess Adams for the Animas High School FAFSA Night, Thursday, February 11 from 5-8pm in the Commons.

Western State University will send an admissions representative to AHS on Wednesday, February 10. All are welcome to attend at lunch in Stephen Sellers' classroom.

LPEA Scholarships are due February 11 and Colorado Mesa University-Foundation Scholarships are due February 14. The University of Colorado at Boulder Presidential Leadership Scholarship is due February 15.

Congratulations to seniors Lacey Andersen, who is a Daniels Fund finalist, and Rebecca Schaldach, who is a finalist for the Boettcher Scholarship. Both students have worked hard to move through multiple rounds of this competitive scholarship process. Please wish them luck as they go into a final round of interviews to become scholars. Our Animas community is proud of both of your hard work and dedication to this lengthy process. Good luck on the final round!
2016 Health Updates

AHS families--please read  this letter outlining health updates from our nurse, Etoile Hening, in which she provides important information about School-Based Health Centers and more.

For More Photos and Updates...
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Fax: (970) 247-2483