October 13, 2023

Greetings Ospreys,


Please remember we have a Professional Development Day scheduled for staff on Monday, with no school for students. We look forward to welcoming students back to the Nest on Tuesday. Thank you to Osprey parent Anne Bartlett for offering up her beautiful space in the Smiley Building, Studio 10, for our PD Day!


Several AHS students were lucky enough to join teachers Oliver Kennedy and Drew Semel for a sneak preview of The Tempest by William Shakespeare last weekend, where they saw Journalism teacher Jessica McCallum on stage. Thank you to our friends at Merely Players for comping us the tickets! We have several thespians on our staff, including Oliver, who will be playing Brad in Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Durango Art Center later this month, Lori Fisher, who will be in Merely Players' production of the musical Hands on a Hardbody in December and, of course, our Theater teacher Joy Kirkpatrick, who just wrapped Fort Lewis College's production of Eurydice.

We had another great turnout for the October TWIGS Coffee this morning. The TWIGS Buds will meet in the AHS Commons next Tuesday evening at 6pm to continue planning events for families. All are welcome to join. Have an idea for a shared reading or TWIGS event? Email twigs@animashighschool.com.


Our School Excellence Committee met today as well. This committee of the Board of Directors is tasked with overseeing the ongoing evaluation of the school’s academic performance and developing strategies for academic improvement. The SEC meets quarterly and all are welcome. Email rebecca.ruland@animashighschool.com if you'd like to learn more or join.


Check out the Animas Quill Instagram feed to get to know the candidates for this fall's Student Council election, which was toay. Election results will be announced next week and we look forward to seeing the full council dig into planning events and activities. There's talk of a Spirit Week and fall dance in the works--stay tuned.

Class of 2027 Explores Snowy Wetlands

Zoe Ramsey '24, Animas Quill

Freshpeople traveled to Silverton yesterday with their Biology class to to learn about wetlands and how they affect rivers. Ninth grade biology teacher Mike Bienkowski explained, “We visited Silverton to learn about the ecosystem services provided by wetlands, to examine how wetland restoration can mitigate human impacts on the water cycle.” 


A wetland is a damp area where the soil is constantly wet and acquires moisture from groundwater and the river ecosystem. There are different types of wetlands:  fens, marshes, and wet meadows, and each performs a different function. 


In collaboration with Mountain Studies Institute, the 9th graders participated in different stations where they could make a wetland, take a hike to see a wetland, and test the water health through measuring Ph levels and biodiversity.


Ninth grader Bennett Esterday shared, “The information I learned with the Mountain Studies Institute was incredibly insightful and helpful in understanding how marshes and wetlands develop, and their part in the ecosystem."

Student-led Conferences (SLCs) Next Thursday

SLCs are next Thursday afternoon from 4-6pm, and are mandatory for all 9th, 10th and 11th grade students and families. Please work with your student to be sure your family has signed up for a time slot and that they have professional dress clothing ready to wear on Thursday. Grade-level teams will work with students next week to help them prepare for SLCs. Read full details here.



We look forward to welcoming families to campus for these important mid-semester conversations.

Next Week's Events

The Advancement Committee meets Tuesday afternoon at 1pm to continue working on fundraising, enrollment and marketing goals for the year.


Julian Springer's Geology students will head out into the field on Tuesday to visit various local sites, including Coal Bank Pass, as a way to witness the complex and fascinating geology of our region.


Juniors will prepare for the PSAT/NMSQT in Humanities on Wednesday morning, making sure that they have downloaded and are familiar with the Bluebook App before testing on Wednesday, October 25.

Seniors are invited to join Erin and Elliot Thursday at lunch for College & Cupcakes, a chance to submit applications during the Colorado Free Application Days window.


The AHS Board of Directors meets on Thursday evening at 5:30pm. Families who are on campus for SLCs are welcome to attend; meetings are always open to the public.


We will administer annual vision and hearing testing Friday morning for all 9th graders and students with learning plans. We could use a parent volunteer to help Friday morning from 8:30 to 11am. Your role would be assisting our health consultant, Jana Edmondson, by going to classes and gathering a few students at a time. Contact libby.cowles@animashighschool.com if you are available.


Friday afternoon, the Student Ambassador Team will hold an information session for students who would like to learn more about what Ambassadors do and how to join the team. An email will go out to all students next week with information about how to apply.

PEBC Student Teachers

We are fortunate to have four student teachers working alongside our faculty this year. This week, we'd like to introduce you to two who are participating in the Public Education and Business Coalition Teacher Residency Program, which Humanities teacher Genevieve Buzan-Dansereau came to us through last year.


Originally from the Denver area, Grayson Acri is student teaching with Lori Fisher. He graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Journalism and Media Communications in 2023 and also attended Concordia University. in Montreal. His work with the Rocky Mountain Collegian covered politics, economics, and business. When he graduated, Grayson took a look at why he got into journalism--to do something creative that gave back to the community--and decided to go in a different direction after meeting a rep at the PEBC job fair. A few months later he packed up his things and ran deep into the mountains to become a Humanities teacher, where his love for storytelling could be combined with a sense of community engagement. He is a fan of literature and video games, with strong opinions on both. Despite his overall cheerful demeanor, he likes sci-fi books where the world ends such as Seveneves by Neal Stephenson, and games like The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom. He has a shameful love-hate relationship with corporate coffee, and he will agree that Dunkin’ is terrible while defending it with his last breath.

Salome Raiszadeh, who is student teaching with Julian Springer, was raised in Newport News, Virginia and received her B.S. in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise with a minor in Psychology from Virginia Tech. While in college, she developed an appreciation for hiking and camping in the Appalachian region. After graduating college during the start of COVID-19 pandemic, she moved to Utah to work as a wilderness therapy guide with adolescents at WinGate Wilderness Therapy and then with adult women at Juniper Canyon Recovery Center. While working in wilderness therapy, she found that she especially loved the teaching aspect of the positions she’d held. She is now studying to obtain a teaching license in secondary science through PEBC. When not studying or working, she enjoys cooking, running, painting, going on walks, reading and hiking.


We're so glad to have both Grayson and Salome here at the Nest!

AHS Enrollment

The January 2024 Intent to Enroll form is now open. We offer seats for second semester in the order families complete the form, as they become available. Fall 2024 enrollment opens January 17 and 8th grade families are encouraged to visit with us to learn more and see if AHS is the best fit. We are hosting a Campus Tour next Thursday, October 19 at 8:45am. RSVP here, where you can also view other upcoming Tour and Online Information Session dates. Contact libby.cowles@animashighschool.com with enrollment questions.



Enjoy the long weekend and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!

Upcoming Events


Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 10/16


Geology Field Trip to Coal Bank Pass: Tues. 10/17, 8:30am-2:30pm


Advancement Committee Meeting: Tues. 10/17, 1pm


TWIGS Buds Meeting: Tues. 10/17, 6pm


College & Cupcakes: Colorado Free Application Day (12th grade): Thurs. 10/19


AHS Campus Tour: Thurs. 10/19, 8:45am RSVP here


Student-Led Conferences (9th-11th grades): Thurs. 10/19, 4-6pm


AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 10/19, 5:30pm


TWIGS Teen Mental Health Event: Tues. 10/24, 6pm


PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade): Wed. 10/25


NEST Meeting: Wed. 10/25


2nd Quarter XBlocks Begin: Wed. 11/1

AHS 2023/24 School Calendar
22/23 Daily Schedule
AHS Events Calendar
Animas High School prepares all students for college and postsecondary success by creating critical thinkers and engaged citizens through an innovative, student-centered, project-based curriculum. We accomplish this through:
Rigorous academics, where all students are prepared for college success
Culture of excellence, where students are held to high expectations
Strong student-faculty relationships, where students are well known.
Engaging learning, where students see the relevance in their education

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