January 21, 2022
Greetings Ospreys,

Due to continued high levels of COVID-19 transmission driven by community spread of the Omicron variant, we have decided to postpone the sophomores' Little House of Optics Physics Exhibition, originally scheduled for next week and now on the calendar for February 24. Please join Madi Neukirch and her students then as they demonstrate and explain optical phenomenon such as Pepper's Ghost, pictured here with Pierce Beyer, Madi, Eli Foutz and Shea Davis as they test it out.

In partnership with La Plata Youth Services, we are offering a 6-week Stress Relief Group for students with a focus on learning how to understand and relieve anxiety and stress in a confidential setting. Interested students can sign up with Erin directly, email her at [email protected] or attend an information session at lunch next Tuesday.
As we get closer to our move to our new building Fort Lewis College, we are devoting more time this semester to envisioning the ways our new location can further enhance an Animas education. Humanities teacher Ashley Carruth is working with senior Molly Bachman to gather input from our community to inform our developing partnerships with various FLC departments and programs. They are seeking students who are interested in joining a focus group that will spend a Wednesday afternoon at the Fort, touring campus and brainstorming ideas, followed up by a few lunchtime conversations. Interested 9th through 11th grade students can fill out the FLC Partnership Focus Group Application or connect with Ashley and Molly to learn more.

AHS enrollment is now open for new students interested in attending fall 2022. To be entered in the Enrollment Lottery on March 1, families must complete the Intent to Enroll Form for New Students by February 28. Siblings of current AHS students are guaranteed a spot for fall 2022 only if they complete Intent to Enroll before the lottery date. Current students do not need to complete Intent to Enroll at this time and are guaranteed a spot for next school year. We will send registration materials to all returning students in early March.
Student Council representative Cooper Machicek uses his library time to work on his senior project (Photo by Bryan Gnehm)   
senior Tiernan Stein peruses through the library in search of research material. (Photo by Bryan Gnehm) 
Senior Project Research Commences!
Bryan Gnehm and Mya Oyler, Animas Quill

Senior Project season is heating up as AHS 12th graders dive into their research! Moving forward, seniors will spend Wednesdays at the Durango Public Library digging into their thesis topic research.

This new phase of project work began this past Wednesday, when senior teachers Sara Price and Kyle Edmondson gathered their students at the library for class. The goal of this off-campus excursion was, according to Sara, “to allow seniors to explore what local and future college libraries offer” as well as to facilitate the type of thinking and focus that the Senior Project research requires. She elaborated, “I do think sometimes we need a change of space, and I know libraries are very much designed to help foster [this type of concentration].” 

Throughout the day, seniors worked their way throughout the library finding nooks in which to conduct their own research. Senior Cooper Machicek shared that “the environment was serene and productive,” which allowed students to focus on their research without the usual distractions of school. Kyle offered, “It gives [seniors] a lot of time to dig into really complicated ideas,” which is at the heart of the Senior Project goals.

To begin understanding the complexities of each topic, students have been assigned to find five sources, which can be books or academic articles. Seniors learned how to do “deep reading” which assisted students to be able to pull key ideas out of the text to begin forming their arguments. 

Developing the senior thesis topics pushed the students to be creative and find something that they are passionate about. Thesis topics are all over the map, ranging from artistic analysis to scientific papers.

Christine Howe described her research topic as, “an exploration of our current food production industry and the importance of incorporating regenerative agriculture to promote sustainability for future generations.” Many seniors are following a similar theme of environmentalism. Jazzy Lindsay explained her project as, “studying the relationship of fungi to our ecosystem and how we can study them to better understand how plants communicate with one another.” 

These themes and ideas don’t come without their challenges. Jazzy continued, “Finding enough existing research has been the most challenging part so far.” Christine reiterated these challenges, saying, “Understanding the complexity and navigating the polarizing opinions around my topic has been the hardest part.” These challenges will be worth the struggle in the long run as the seniors are learning valuable skills for college and life as well as creating a beautiful final product. 

Stay tuned for more coverage on the evolving beautiful work of the class of 2022!
The new Gaga Ball pit, located just north of the Micheal Ackerman building, is a huge hit! Juniors James Lopez and Grayson Milam dabble in the sport, allowing Quillsprey Scarlett Moore to capture this epic Gaga footage.
COVID Updates
Thanks to the layered mitigation strategies we have in place, the ongoing communication and support of students and families, and the extraordinary dedication of our faculty and staff, we have been able to continue to provide in-person learning despite continued high case rates of COVID-19 locally. This week, we identified 13 new COVID cases (8 9th graders, 1 10th grader, 1 11th grader, 1 senior and 2 staff members). We continue to CDC and CDPHE guidelines for schools.

It is important to note that we are no longer contact tracing, which means we are not calling families when their student may have been exposed at school due to close contact. With this in mind, and given the high case rates in our broader community, the current safest practices for all include:

  • assume recent exposure and monitor for symptoms
  • stay home and test if symptomatic
  • register and engage in serial testing

To register your student for our weekly Tuesday afternoon on-campus COVID testing sign up here. Our school code is C0075 and once registered, students can test weekly without re-registering. Learn more about the program here.

While we are seeing more transmission in vaccinated individuals with the Omicron variant, vaccines and boosters have a protective effect against severe illness and death from Omicron. Thank you for your continued vigilance in helping us maintain in-person learning.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming Events

Sexual/Relationship Education (10th grade): Wed. 1/26

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 1/27, 5:30-7:30pm

Fort Lewis College Free Application Day and Financial Aid Support (12th grade): Tues. 2/1, 8:30-10:30am at AHS

Shadow Day for Prospective Students: Wed.. 2/2, 8:15am-12pm

Open House for Prospective Families: Thurs. 2/3, 8:45-9:30am

Sexual/Relationship Education (9th grade): Thurs. 2/3

Online Information Session for Prospective Families: Tues. 2/8, 5:30-6:30pm via meet.google.com/gdy-jdsp-hvg

Professional Development Day (no classes): Fri. 2/18

Presidents' Day (no classes): Mon. 2/21

Little House of Optics Physics Exhibition (10th grade): Thurs. 2/24, 5-7pm at AHS (new date)

Fall 2022 Enrollment Lottery: Tues. 3/1

Sophomore Inspire Week (10th grade): Mon. 2/28 through Fri. 3/4

Spring Break: Mon. 3/21 through Fri. 3/25

Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 3/28
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