December 8, 2023

Greetings Ospreys,

What a sweet evening last night, as our community gathered to hear from students about what they've learned this semester. At our TWIGS Parent Coffee this morning, we heard feedback that families were impressed by the poise students exhibited at Winter Exhibition, and the depth of knowledge they were able to present.

A couple of highlights from our Head of School Rebecca Ruland, as she moved through Exhibition asking students what they had learned:

"I learned that even the smallest, imperceptible, thing can have an enormous impact." This was referencing the death of cricket in an ecosystem which then changed the ammonia levels and seriously damaged the ecosystem.

"Many people sacrificed for the privileges we now have as women, and I now feel responsible for keeping this going."

Thank you to all who turned out--and to our students and teachers for the hard work that went into creating the event!

The Exhibitions continue today, with Joy Kilpatrick and Oliver Kennedy's theater students presenting a funny and creative version of the play "Pandora's Box" this afternoon to a packed house. Beautiful work from the Osprey Theatre Company!

And tonight, students in period 6 and 7 Music Performance classes will be on stage at iAM Music's Winter Showcase at the Indigo Room at 115 North Main Avenue. RSVP here, as space is limited. AHS bands go on at 6:45pm. Swing by if you weren't able to catch the bands performances at last night's Winter Exhibition--or if you want to see them again!

Next Week: Presentations of Learning

We will wrap up the first semester next week with Presentations of Learning (POLs), providing all students will the opportunity to reflect on their learning, receive valuable feedback and practice public speaking skills. As a reminder, it is not unusual to be asked to redo or refine a POL if expectations are not meant the first time around, and POLs require professional dress.

All 9th, 10th and 11th graders are expected to be on campus 8:30-3:20 Monday and Tuesday for POL preparation with grade-level teams. Wednesday through Friday schedules will vary by individual, depending upon when they are presenting and paneling. Students are welcome to be on campus when not paneling or presenting if they want a quiet spot to work, but are not required to attend at those times. Please refer to grade-level schedules, below, and to the POL Letter for specifics about POL format for each grade.

The Hub Bus will run next week as usual, and we will offer catered lunch on Monday and Tuesday, but not on Wednesday through Friday.

We encourage families to talk about POLs together at home to help students authentically reflect on the topics they are tasked with addressing. POLs ask big questions, and are most impactful when students engage fully in the process. We love hearing them, as staff, as it helps us know students for the individuals they are, which in turn helps us support and challenge them in ways that matter.

Looking Ahead to Next Semester

After a well-deserved Winter Break, our staff will return to school on Tuesday, January 2 for a Professional Development Day. Students return to school on Wednesday, January 3. We will follow our regular Wednesday schedule that day, which means 3rd quarter XBlock classes will meet on the first day back. It's important for students to check their schedules in Infinite Campus so they know what 3rd quarter XBlock class they're in and to come prepared with any special clothing or equipment they might need for XBlock.

Alec Johnson Joins AHS Faculty

You may have noticed a particularly engaged audience member at last night's Exhibition, asking juniors excellent, probing questions about their Humanities projects. We're thrilled to share that Alec Johnson will be joining us at the start of next semester to teach two sections of Humanities 11.

Alec was born in Germany and grew up in central Pennsylvania with a general love of all things poetry (especially Alfred Tennyson). He spent most of his free time exploring the Susquehanna River in his Skanu--or as Alec spells it "Skanoo." Upon turning 19, Alec moved out West to the "Grand" old state of Arizona to attend college. He holds a BA in Adventure Education from Prescott College, studied Teacher Education at Fort Lewis College and has an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College. Prior to working at Animas, Alec taught 7th-grade humanities at Mountain Middle School for seven years. Alec has been doing academic advising and serving as adjunct faculty at Fort Lewis College since December 2022.

He is passionate about the outdoors--you can find him running the dirt of this high desert and/or rollin' his mountain bike wheels on the gravel. Alec’s other loves are guitar picking, rock climbing, reading, skiing, writing and spending time with his good friends. 

"I'm thrilled to join the Animas community this spring! I'm excited to work with a school that truly embraces student agency and innovation. I look forward to seeing familiar faces from classes of the past and getting inspired by the creativity of new students I have yet to meet."

Student Council Coffee Drive

AHS Student Council's annual coffee drive is here! This year, the team has partnered up with Kind Grindz Coffee Company to bring you fresh and delicious coffee for the holiday seaon. Kind Grindz was founded in 2020 by local 14 year old Sylas LaFrance as a way to spend time with his dad. Animas believes in innovation and helps aspiring young adults, thus partnering up with this small local business felt like a good fit.

If you are interested in buying coffee to support Student Council's ability to host cost-free events for students please fill out the coffee order form. Each bag is $10 and coffee will be delivered to your doorstep during winter break by Student Council co-president Zoell Lhomi Nuppa.

Support for an Osprey

Many of you will remember Etoile Hening, who served as our health consultant for several years, including supporting us through the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have seen a recent Durango Herald article sharing the news that Etoile is facing a battle with Vestibular Schwannoma, a benign, usually slow-growing tumor that develops from the balance and hearing nerves supplying the inner ear. Etoile has been a compassionate, knowledgable, reassuring presence for so many families facing health concerns in our community. In addition to serving as AHS' nurse, she's worked alongside AHS co-founder Jess Hutt providing care to pediatric cancer patients for the last six years.

Etoile will undergo surgery on December 12 and her family has created a GoFundMe page to allow folks to contribute words of encouragement and financial support. We'd love to see our Animas community pitch in to reflect our love and gratitude for her.

Class of 2013 Reunion

Our first graduating class is gathering over the break on Friday, December 22 for the Class of 2013 10th Reunion, organized by alumnus Cooper Stowers, Bridget's oldest son. They'll gather on campus at 4pm and then make their way downtown to continue catching up. Email [email protected] for the details.

AHS Enrollment

A new crew of Student Ambassadors completed their training this week and has jumped into helping returning Ambassadors give Campus Tours to our frequent visitors. We're so grateful for their service to our school.

The January 2024 Intent to Enroll form for students who would like to transfer to AHS for 2nd semester will close next week. We are looking forward to welcoming a small handful of new Ospreys in January.

Fall 2024 enrollment opens January 17 and families considering AHS for next school year are strongly encouraged to visit. The next Campus Tour is Thursday, January 25 at 8:45am. View all Tour dates and RSVP here. Email [email protected] with enrollment questions.

You may want to pick up a copy of the TWIGS shared reading, Lost Connections by Johann Hari over break to start digging into it. Last year, we read Hari's more recent book Stolen Focus, which generated good conversation around the impacts of technology on the lives of teens and adults. Lost Connections digs into the causes of and solutions to high levels of anxiety and depression in our society, and TWIGS will host an evening dialogue about the book on Tuesday, February 20 at 6pm. If you purchase your copy at Maria's Bookshop downtown, mention you're reading it along with the AHS reading group and you'll receive a 15% discount.

Have a great weekend and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!

Upcoming Events

Presentations of Learning Week: Mon. 12/11 through Fri. 12/15 (please note: grade-level and individual student schedules will vary; see POL Letter for details)

Advancement Committee Meeting: Tues. 12/12, 1pm

Fort Lewis College Student Teacher Exhibition: Thurs. 12/14, 5-7pm

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 12/14, 5:30pm

Staff Appreciation Lunch: Fri. 12/15, 12:30pm

AHS Class of 2013 Reunion: Fri. 12/22, 4pm; email [email protected] for more details

Winter Break: Mon. 12/18 through Mon. 1/1

Professional Development Day (no classes): Tues. 1/2

First Day of 2nd Semester: Wed. 1/3

Fall 2024 Enrollment Opens: Wed. 1/17

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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