October 7, 2022

Greetings Ospreys,

This beautiful fall weather is creating great opportunities for learning outdoors, including Ande Lloyd and Julian Springer bringing sophomores to Twin Buttes for the first demo launch attempt of the math/physics Rocketry ProjectTory Dille's Literature and Landscape of the West class going for a quick hike and reading Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire en plein air and Mike Bienkowski and Madi Neukirch heading up to the Hermosa Creek Watershed with Biology and Ecology students for field work. Hands-on, place-based learning is key to what we do at Animas!

We are approaching the midsemester point, with 2nd quarter XBlock classes beginning on October 19 and Student-Led Conferences (SLCs) on the 20th. Look for more details about both coming next week, when students will choose their top 3 XBlock classes and families will sign up for SLC time slots. SLCs are important check-ins, led by students and supported by teachers, and are required for all 9th, 10th and 11th grade families. They'll happen from 4-6pm here on campus. 

Learning on Fire!

Mia Macon'24, Animas Quill

Animas High School Ospreys love sitting around a campfire, surrounded by shadowed trees, listening to stories and songs. However, Animas High School doesn’t love it when fires take over forests! 

On Thursday, Mike Bienkowski’s 9th grade biology class went with students from Madi Neukirch’s Ecology elective on a field trip led by Mountain Studies Institute. Together, they explored wildfire ecology and the way fires have impacted our mountains. 

When asked about the most impactful and important part of the trip, Mike responded,

 “I for one always love having students outside, I think it's really important for mental health and just to learn about things in real life.” 

The class spent the day in stations going over wildfire resilience and its impacts on aquatic ecosystems, looking at the 416 burn scars, fire-specific adaptations, analysis of tree-ring data and historical patterns of the Ponderosa Pine ecosystem in our own area. These activities allowed the students to gain a better understanding of a constant part of our climate and home.

Freshpeople Tucker Owens and Oliver Compton talked a bit about their experience:“We learned how the ecosystem responded to the wildfire, and how it reacted after the fire. Most of the trees aren't actually dead, which is pretty cool,” shared Oliver. Tucker added,“It was just interesting that we could kind of learn about our ecosystem and how the plants and things responded to the fire.” 

Put together by Mike and Madi, this field trip was meant to relate to the 9th grade fall biology project question of “Who Belongs on the Land?” where students will be digging into a variety of ecological topics including climate, species, habitats and more. Digging into diverse species, plants, and the impact of fires, the field trip was a chance to understand the effects firsthand.

Upcoming Events  

Best of luck to the AHS mountain biking team in Nathrop this weekend, where they'll race in their final regular season competition! 

As part of our ongoing support for career exposure and exploration with students, we're launching a Career Lunch & Learn series next Tuesday called Chew on This! Thank you to Carolyn Archer from Ohana Physical Therapy, who will share her journey in the world of physical therapy. 

All juniors will take the PSAT/NMSQT at school Wednesday morning. This is a great opportunity to practice before taking the SAT in April and full details about the exam are here. Juniors will be released from school early on Wednesday, after completing the exam, and will not be expected to attend Advisory or XBlock. The exam takes about 2.75 hours, so students will wrap up with testing around lunchtime. Please remember we need written communication from parents/guardians ahead of time for students who opt out of testing. Those who are absent due to illness next Wednesday will take the PSAT/NMSQT on Tuesday, October 25.

Ninth graders begin sex ed on Wednesday morning. View full details about the medically accurate, comprehensive, trauma-informed human sexuality curriculum here.

Seniors and their families are strongly encouraged to head to Fort Lewis College Wednesday at 5:30pm to attend the FAFSA Completion Night, supported by Erin Cummins-Roper. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can seem confusing, but Erin will make it easy! Many states and colleges set priority deadlines by which you must submit the FAFSA form to be considered for the aid programs they administer. Don't delay--all seniors should complete the FAFSA!

Next week is a four-day week followed by a four-day weekend, with our Fall Break on Friday October 14 and a professional development day on Monday October 17. 

Looking ahead a bit further, please note that Durango 9R schools have a holiday on Monday October 24, and there will therefore be no Hub Bus service between DHS and AHS on that date

TWIGS Family Engagement Updates

Our next TWIGS Coffee is Monday morning at 8:30. Parents and families are invited to gather right after student drop off for a cup of joe, connective conversation and a chance to hear school community updates from Rebecca and staff. TWIGS Coffees and other events are a great way to meet other parents, get questions answered and learn how you can get more involved in our school community.

The first TWIGS Talk is this coming Tuesday, October 11 at 6pm in Cameron Elder's classroom. This lecture series is an opportunity for Animas family members to share a passion or field of knowledge with the Animas community. Students and all family members are welcome! The first lecture will include Osprey parent and inventor William Holden on "The Pains of New Product Development" and Osprey parent Todd Macon on "How to Value an Image: From the Birth of Photography to Instagram."

William Holden, father of Eli '24, designs, patents, and markets consumer products.

Todd Macon, dad to Mia '24, is a passionate photographer who leans into antique and vintage cameras and processes.

Seeking Substitute Teachers

We could us a couple more folks on our roster of substitute teachers for the 2022/23 school year. Please help spread the word, and encourage candidates to submit a cover letter and resumé to [email protected]

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

Check out Heleny Zacamolpa Vazquez '20 in "This is my Why," a short video from Fort Lewis College! We're so proud of her and love seeing how she's pursuing pediatric physical therapy through her college education. 

Upcoming Events

AHS Mountain Bike Race: Sun. 10/9 in Nathrop

TWIGS Parent/Guardian Coffee: Mon. 10/10, 8:30am at AHS

TWIGS Talk: Tues. 10/11 6pm at AHS

PSAT/NMSQT (11th grade): Wed. 10/12, 8:30am-12:00pm at AHS

Sex Ed (9th grade): Wed. 10/12

FAFSA Night (12th grade): Thurs. 10/12, 5:30pm at FLC

Development Committee Meeting: Thurs. 10/13, 1pm

Fall Break (no classes): Fri. 10/14

Professional Development Day (no classes): Mon. 10/17

2nd Quarter XBlock Classes Begin: Wed. 10/19

Junior Postsecondary Night (11th grade): Wed. 10/19

Student-Led Conferences (9th through 11th grade): Thurs. 10/20, 4-6pm

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 10/20, 5:30pm

Southern Ute Career Fair (11th grade): Thurs. 10/27, 12-2pm at Southern Ute Casino Events Center

Rocketry Exhibition (10th grade): Tues. 11/1, 4pm at Smith Sports Complex

AHS Events Calendar
AHS 2022/23 School Calendar
TWIGS Website
Donate Now to the Elevating Animas Campaign
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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