March 1, 2024

Greetings Ospreys,

We appreciate the time AHS families made last night to be on campus for Student-led Conferences. Family-school collaboration is key to student success and we are grateful for the conversations students facilitated, checking in on progress towards their goals and reflecting on the semester at this halfway point.

Fifteen years ago, when our school founders were seeking inspiration that would shape our school design, they turned to High Tech High in San Diego. Over the years, we've adopted many of their practices, including SLCs, and we've made their project-based learning model our own, tailoring it to our unique community. Humanities teacher Lori Fisher and her husband John had been working at HTH when they decided to move to Durango in 2009 to help found AHS. Math teacher Kyle Edmondson also taught at HTH, and Dean of Inclusion Carlin Neilson and former Head of School Sean Woytek completed Master's degrees in Educational Leadership through the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. Over the years, we've maintained a close relationship with HTH, sending teachers to their educator institutes and inviting their trainers to work with our staff here in Durango. This week, Humanities teacher Peter Bradley, Work-based Learning Coordinator Elliot Baglini and Science teacher Madi Nuekirch visited High Tech High's Chula Vista campus with our head of school, Rebecca Ruland to deepen their practice. We're excited to hear from them at Monday's staff meeting!

Emily Vierling, AHS class of 2017, visited Mike Bienkowski's 9th grade Biology classes this week to share her experiences as a marine biologist, studying marine mammals at University of St. Andrews in the UK. Student were interested to hear about Emily's path from finding ways to explore marine science by doing her LINK Internship in Costa Rica up to her current fieldwork, which focuses on the ways orca whales communicate. We love having alumni come back to the Nest to share their journeys!

Thank you to our community partners at the Durango Independent Film Festival for bringing the Reel Learning program to our NEST Meeting on Wednesday. As usual, the collection of shorts was entertaining and thought-provoking! Check out the festival's full schedule of films here.

Next Week's Events

Monday is our Fall 2024 Enrollment Lottery, and we want to remind families that 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. Please be sure to complete that form if there's a younger sibling coming our way next fall! Returning students' families will receive re-registration steps in the coming weeks. Please complete this brief survey to share your fall 2024 enrollment plans, if you haven't already.

Seniors and their families should plan to attend the Graduation Meeting Monday evening at 5pm to hear about cap and gowns, tickets for the ceremony, graduation speakers and more.

The class of 2027 will host their Humanities 9 Exhibition of the Satire Project at the Durango Public Library next Tuesday, March 5 from 4-5:30pm. Sophomores will exhibit their learning Thursday, March 7 from 4-5:30pm at AHS through Physics Exhibition, sharing their Making Waves projects. All are welcome at both exhibitions, including families considering AHS for the 2024/25 school year!

Fourth quarter XBlocks begin next Wednesday, March 6. Students can check in Infinite Campus on Monday to see which class they've been placed in.

Save the Date

The next TWIGS Parent Coffee is scheduled for Monday, March 11 at 6pm, online, to accommodate those whose schedules make it challenging to attend our monthly coffees on Friday mornings.

Sophomores are in the final stretch of preparations for their Humanities 10 Model UN Conferences, which will happen on Tuesday, March 12 through Thursday, March 14, with each pod conferencing on a different day during their core class periods (see schedule here). Families and community members are welcome to attend to see how students work towards a resolution that addresses the conflict in the West Bank.

Spring Break is coming up quickly, beginning March 16. Please note that the Monday after Spring Break is a Professional Development Day, so students will return to the Nest on Tuesday, March 26.

Freshpeople Explore Storytelling through Unique FLC Art Exhibit

Taryn Valverde '25, Animas Quill

On Monday, the freshpeople got a chance to venture over to the Fort Lewis campus to the Center for Southwest Studies to explore the current exhibition “The Return of The Force.” This exhibit will be on display through September 2024, featuring the works of over twenty Native artists.

Ninth grade Humanities teacher Genevieve Buzan-Desereau explained, “Our current unit is on storytelling and culture, and so we were looking at how stories could be told through art. Specifically, how does the subject or background tell a story?”

“The Return of the Force” exhibit explores the intersection of Native culture with the Star Wars cinematic universe. Native artists have created interpretative pieces in a variety of mediums including sculptures, paintings, beadwork, fashion, and more. The exhibit tells the story of the different parallels between Star Wars and Native Culture while also expressing important themes within the Native community such as resistance, place, and belonging through a lens of indigenous knowledge. 

Blending references to both indigenous and mainstream popular culture, “The Return of the Force” is a follow-up exhibit to “The Force is With Our People,” which was displayed at the Museum of Northern Arizona in 2019 and was built on similar themes.

Mary Ella Benally, who has Diné heritage, shared “It was interesting because there were things that I understood about my culture that I didn’t realize that Star Wars paralleled. I liked the one with two Navajo women caring for Baby Yoda. Navajos are notorious for adopting children and loving them as their own. We will come along and take children that survived raids kind of like the Mandalorian.”

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 on March 4. Families considering AHS for next school year are strongly encouraged to visit our campus or attend an online information session. The next Campus Tour is Tuesday at 5:30pm. View all dates and RSVP here. We will send information about how to re-enroll for the 2024/25 school year in March. Email [email protected] with enrollment questions.

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

Upcoming Events

Enrollment Lottery: Mon. 3/4

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

Avalanche Awareness Elective Field Work in Silverton: Tues. 3/5, 8:30am-3:20pm

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

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

Physics Exhibition: Thurs. 3/7, 4-5:30pm at AHS

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

Mock City Council Meeting Field Trip (11th grade): Wed. 3/13, 1pm

Avalanche Awareness Elective Field Work in Silverton: Tues. 3/12 through Thurs. 3/14

Welcome to the Nest for New Families: Wed. 3/13, 5-6pm

AHS Campus Tour: Thurs. 3/14, 8:45am; RSVP here

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 3/14, 5:30pm

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

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

StuCo Presents Ospreys on Ice: Fri. 3/29

Senior Project TED Talks (12th grade): Mon. 4/1 through Wed. 4/10

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

Application Case Study Workshop: Sat. 4/13, 9am to 12:15pm

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

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

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

AHS 2023/24 School Calendar
23/24 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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