February 16, 2024

Greetings Ospreys,

Valentine's Day this week has us thinking about how much we love our school community. Bridget's blinking heart necklace, Student Council's wall of valentine cards, TWIGS' special coffee and donuts for staff, the generosity of all the Ospreys who donated blood, the dance party greeting at the start of Friday morning--Animas is a place where doing for others is clearly a key part of our culture of excellence, and we're grateful for all these acts of kindness around the Nest!

As a reminder, Monday is the Presidents' Day holiday and school will not be in session. We'll look forward to welcoming everyone back on Tuesday.

Students in Mike Bienkowski's Ecology elective worked alongside our friends at San Juan Mountain Association this week to do some hands-on exploration of the current snowpack in order to better understand spring runoff in the Animas River Basin. It was a beautiful day to be up on Molas Pass and we appreciate SJMA for making this opportunity available for our students.

While we love getting Ospreys out in the field to learn, when studying global issues, sometimes we need to find ways to bring the world to our classrooms. Community members Tom and Claire Huffaker visited with sophomores this week to share their experiences in the US Foreign Service as part of the Model UN Project. During their careers, Tom and Claire served as diplomats in South Africa, Yugoslavia, India, Russia, Canada and the US, and their stories helped bring to life what it means to work towards multinational solutions. Multiple students reflected on the day's conversations with newfound realizations about foreign service as an exciting career path along with a deepened understanding of what the work of diplomacy truly entails. Thank you to Tom and Claire for inspiring our students!

Senior Thesis rough drafts were due today for the class of 2024, and they will have two weeks for revisions before submitting final versions of these college-level 10-20 page papers. Our entire staff steps in as Senior Thesis Advisors, providing personalized feedback on drafts and meeting individually with students to push their thinking. Next, they move on to the TED Talk and Action Project portions of Senior Project.

These are big milestones for our Ospreys, and their research questions connect to their individualized interests and goals. Take for instance, Toby Philips' question, "How did the reunification of Germany influence the rise of techno music in Berlin?" or Maddie Tharp's, which is "What tools and strategies could be effective to increase youth voting rates and other forms of political participation?" We love seeing seniors grapple with nuanced interdisciplinary questions like these and finding their own answers to them through deep inquiry and rigorous academic research.

In the video below, Animas Quill student-journalist Nora Olivier '24 reports on three of our student-athletes--Nellie Miller '24, Finn Scarpella '25 and Sienna Cullum '23--and their season on the Durango High School Alpine Ski Team. We're proud of all three and appreciative that Animas students can participate in DHS sports. Big congrats to Finn for his impressive results, taking 17th at the State Championships yesterday!

Be sure to hop on over to the Animas Quill Media website and Animas Quill Instagram feed regularly to stay abreast of student reporting.

Next Week's Events

On Tuesday evening at 6pm, we will welcome Animas families for the TWIGS Book Discussion of Johann Hari's Lost Connections. Osprey Parent Rachel Turiel (mom to Col '24 and Rose '25) will facilitate the conversation, providing a chance to explore the root causes of depression and anxiety alongside strategies for managing both in ourselves and those we love. Our Dean of Student Wellness, Erin Skyles, will join the conversation, which is designed by and for parents and caregivers.

Please feel welcome to attend the event even if you haven't finished the book. Hari's TED Talk, below, provides some helpful context about his research and ideas.

Save the Date

Student-Led Conferences are just under two weeks away, on February 29 after school from 4-6pm. Families received the SLC letter yesterday with full details about these important, mandatory mid-semester check-ins. All 9th and 10th grade families are required to complete SLCs, and most 11th graders will need to do them as well. Juniors who have their LINK Internship plans confirmed are exempt from SLCs, unless they currently have a C- or lower in any class.

If your family is unable to meet on February 29 or you cannot sign up online, please reach out to the appropriate teacher:

Seniors and families are invited to the Class of 2024 Graduation Meeting on Monday, March 4 at 5pm. Dean of Enrollment and Community Outreach Libby Cowles will share information about cap and gown orders, the Senior Celebration Booklet, Senior Supper and the Graduation ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday, May 24, 4pm at the Community Concert Hall.

The class of 2027 will host their Humanities 9 Exhibition of the Satire Project at the Durango Public Library on Tuesday, March 5 from 4-5:30pm. All are welcome, including families considering AHS for the 2024/25 school year!

Fall 2024 Osprey Blocks

Our inaugural round of Osprey Blocks this fall proved that these three-week experiential and intensive courses are definitely worth continuing. We're currently designing the next round of Osprey Blocks for fall 2024, brainstorming topics, curriculum and community partnerships to create a wide range of options for our students to choose from when they select classes for the 2024-25 school year. If you have an idea for an Osprey Block or would like to partner with us by offering an opportunity for Animas students to work alongside you in the field, please reach out to [email protected] as soon as possible.

We hope to have the 24/25 Course Catalog ready for publication in early March, and Elliot Baglinin and Erin Cummins-Roper from our College and Career Counseling department will work with all grade levels to provide academic advising and course selection support.

We're Hiring

We have posted the Special Education Teacher job listing for the 2024/25 school year on our website and invite you to share it with anyone you think might be a good fit. The ideal candidate will continue the amazing work Carlin Nielsen and Heather Prekup have done in our Inclusion Department, supporting students and working with teachers. View the the Employment Opportunities page of our website for full details.

Fall 2024 Enrollment

Fall 2024 Enrollment is now open for incoming 9th through 12th graders, with limited seats in each grade. Complete the online Fall 2024 Intent to Enroll Form by March 3 to be entered in our Enrollment Lottery. Families considering AHS for next school year are strongly encouraged to visit our campus or attend an online information session. View dates and RSVP here.

Current 9th through 11th students are guaranteed a spot for next year. Please complete this brief survey to share your fall 2024 enrollment plans, if you haven't already. We will send information about how to re-enroll for the 2024/25 school year in March. Siblings of returning students and AHS alumni are given priority in our Enrollment Lottery, but only if they complete the online Fall 2024 Intent to Enroll Form by March 3. Email [email protected] with enrollment questions.

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

Upcoming Events

Presidents' Day Holiday (no classes): Mon. 2/19

TWIGS Book Discussion: Lost Connections by Johan Hari: Tues. 2/20, 6pm

AHS Campus Tour: Thurs. 2/22, 8:45am; RSVP here

Advancement Committee Meeting: Tues. 2/27, 1:15pm

AHS Campus Tour: Tues. 2/27, 5:30pm; RSVP here

NEST Meeting: Durango Film Festival's REEL Learning Program: Wed. 2/28

Student-Led Conferences: Thurs. 2/29, 4-6pm

Enrollment Lottery: Mon. 3/4

Graduation Meeting: Mon. 3/4, 5:00pm

Humanites 9 Satire Exhibition: Tues. 3/5, 4-5:30pm at Durango Public Library

4th Quarter XBlock Classes Begin: Wed. 3/6

TWIGS Evening Online Parent Coffee: Mon. 3/11, 6pm

Spring Break: Mon. 3/18 through Fri. 3/22

Professional Development Day (no school): Mon. 3/25

CMAS Science Test (11th grade): Wed. 4/10

Application Case Study Workshop: Sat. 4/13

PSAT10 (10th grade): Wed. 4/17

SAT (11th grade): Thurs. 4/18

PSAT8/9 (9th grade): Fri. 4/19

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

Facebook  Instagram