August 14, 2020
Hello Ospreys,

On Wednesday, our teachers and staff gathered together in a beautiful shady grove near the site of our future home at Fort Lewis College to kick off the school year--one unlike any other before it. We are now back on campus, deeply immersed in the work of redesigning everything from curriculum to schedules, and the collaborative decision-making and mutual inspiration are indeed impressive. There's lots to do before we finally get to welcome our students back to the nest in two weeks--and this team of educators is hard at work making it happen!

Weekly Schedule
We have carefully considered all of the implications for a variety of schedules that have all students on campus two days a week, as outlined in our 2020 Osprey Back to School Plan, and have determined we will return to school with a new Fall 2020 Master Schedule.

Our new Weekly Schedule is:

  • MONDAY--9th/10th grade on campus, 11th/12th grade at home (core classes meet)
  • TUESDAY--9th/10th grade on campus, 11th/12th grade at home (core classes meet)
  • WEDNESDAY--all grades at home (electives meet)
  • THURSDAY--11th/12th grade on campus, 9th/10th at home (core classes meet)
  • FRIDAY--11th/12th grade on campus, 9th/10th at home (core classes meet)

On campus days:

  • we will have a staggered start with 9th and 11th grades attending 8:25-3:25 and 10th and 12th grades attending 8:55-3:55. We are continuing to work with Durango 9-R School District Transportation to provide the Hub Bus between DHS and AHS, and are confirming that they will be able to work with our staggered start/end times.

  • students will stay with their "cohort" or "pod" (about 12-15 students) all day; teachers rotate to teach core classes (Humanities, Math, Science, Digital Art) and Spanish/French electives

  • we are working to finalize daily schedules at each grade level; we expect to have these ready to share by the end of next week

At home days:

  • students will be expected to attend "synchronous" online learning activities that include meeting with teachers at specific, scheduled times online during each home-based day

  • we are working to finalize daily schedules at each grade level; we expect to have these ready to share by the end of next week

We recognize that these days on and off campus may not fully align with other schools' schedules for all our families and we wish it was possible to fully respond to everyone's needs. That said, grouping grade levels in the way we have has multiple advantages for student learning--which is ultimately what we must prioritize.

Schedule for First Week of School/Student Orientation
In most years, we use the first three days of the school year for student orientation activities that focus on community and relationship building before jumping into the regular academic schedule. While it's disappointing to let go of some of our beginning-of-year activities such as grade-level excursions to beautiful wild places, we must prioritize everyone's safety this year. Therefore, we will dive directly into meeting with cohorts in our schedule as outlined above the first week of school. Grade-level core teachers will find plenty of ways to help students transition to the school year, build positive relationships and connect to our school community.

In practical terms, this means the first week of school for each grade will look like this:

  • 9th Grade--first day of school is on campus, Monday, August 31, 8:25-3:25
  • 10th Grade--first day of school is on campus, Monday, August 31, 8:55-3:55
  • 11th Grade--first day of school is online, Wednesday, September 2, schedule TBA
  • 12th Grade--first day of school is online, Wednesday, September 2, schedule TBA

We are working to redesign our traditional Senior Sunrise ceremony to welcome the AHS class of 2021 to their senior year. More details coming soon!
Public Health Guidance Updates
We continue to receive updated guidance from public health officials that will help us to get more specific in our processes. Two resources from the CDPHE are linked below, to share the latest:

As a reminder, we will host two community conversations next week to do our best to address any questions our students and families have.

Please feel free to join us at either session via Google Meet at

Of course, you are also welcome to reach out to us directly at any time via email.

Finally, please be sure to complete the 2020 AHS Technology Access Survey by Monday, August 24 so that we are able to offer adequate support for online learning to all our families.

Thank you for all you do to help the Ospreys soar!
Upcoming AHS Events

Osprey Family Coffee: Tues. 8/18, 9am via

Osprey Family Happy Hour: Tues. 8/18, 9am via

AHS Board Meeting: Thurs. 8/20, 5:30pm

First Day of 2020-21 School Year: Mon. 8/31

First Day of Classes for 9th and 10th Grade: Mon. 8/31

First Day of Classes for 11th and 12th Grade: Wed. 9/2

Labor Day (no classes): Mon. 9/7

SAT (12th graders): Wed. 9/23
Libby's Welcome to Staff

"Welcome to the most unusual start of a school year that any of us in this outstanding group of educators has ever faced. I am grateful to be here, in this exact place, at this exact moment, with this exact group of human beings.

Last year at this time, we embarked together on the 2020 Vision Project, working toward building our collective practice as innovative educators inspired to keep pushing the envelope. Little did we know then that our year would be derailed in March. Our school community hasn’t come together since we sent everyone off for Osprey Week adventures, and we, as a staff, have only been together once, at graduation.

It’s been a big summer for us, with much to celebrate in the midst of a global pandemic and a racial justice awakening that are shaking the core and foundations of our country. Jenny moved back from Barcelona to rejoin our community, Tina--who we nearly lost to the lure of the Front Range last spring--tied the knot with her sweetheart and bought a home here in Durango, Julian welcomed another beautiful being into his growing family and Roxy helped her father make his way from Ohio to Durango to walk her sister down the aisle. We have much to be thankful for.

When we think about the phrase “2020 Vision,” we think of the ability to see clearly what is far away alongside what is near. 2020, the year, is calling upon us to do both.

As you walked around this site this morning, imagining our funky little school making a permanent home on this land, I hope that you were able to focus on the latter--being able to see what is further away. I think the temptation right now, in this moment in time, is to get caught up in looking at what is near, and in some ways, there’s beauty in that--being quarantined for many of us has meant slowing down, staying close to home and reconnecting with those we love most. At the same time, a razor-sharp focus on what is near can mean that we pay such close attention to what is right in front of us that we lose sight of what is further down the road.

Two or three years from now, we'll be gathering at this place to return to the school year in our new building--and while that may seem like a long way away, I want to share that as the parent of a senior, two to three years can go by in the blink of an eye. For Animas, what’s further down the road is this--our future permanent home--and every one of us standing here today has played an integral role in getting us here. While our school is only 11 years old, collectively, this group standing here has dedicated 159 years of our lives to making Animas High School what it is today. We are a seasoned, talented, invested team and we have collectively created a school that changes people’s lives.

So now, to that second piece of 2020 vision--the way it gives us clarity in viewing what’s right in front of us. We have an opportunity this fall to put our 159 years of collective Animas experience together to create a uniquely Animas experience for our students at a truly unique moment in history. There will be challenges, but more importantly, there will be transcendent moments of beauty, connection and understanding. As we get ready to spend the next two and half weeks together preparing for a year that won’t let us simply plan as we have in the past, I feel confident that this group, standing here together, will see clearly what is most important.

Again, I am grateful to be here, in this exact place, at this exact moment, with this exact group of human beings."
Do you have sturdy outdoor furniture you would be willing to donate to AHS so that we can increase our capacity for using outside spaces this fall?
If so, please email a photo and description to
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