July 20, 2020
Durango Local News' recent story about our BEST grant award and plans to build our new campus at Fort Lewis College
Greetings Ospreys,

With just 5 weeks until we welcome our students back to school (!), the time has come to fully dive into the work of determining our plans for reopening the AHS campus for the 2020-21 school year. Clearly, there's a robust national dialogue currently about the pros and cons surrounding various plans to reopen schools, and we know that there are big feelings attached to this process for all of us. We look forward to having a plan in place in coming weeks that will determine how much students will engage in in-person on-campus versus home-based online learning and we want to share our timeline and process with you for getting to that point.

Our commitment to you, our Osprey community, is that we will approach this decision-making with student, staff and families' health and safety at the forefront, paying close attention to the priorities our community identifies alongside careful analysis of data-driven advice from public health officials. We will gather input from students, staff and families in the next 2 weeks through a variety of methods, including meetings, surveys and conversations to check in with our community and see what folks are thinking. Read on to learn more about how you can chime in.

Of course, we will use our school's mission, vision and values to guide us, so that whatever we decide upon aligns with our most deeply held values and so we proceed in a way that is true to who we are as a unique, strong community of learners. As always, our primary mission as a school is to provide each and every one of our students innovative, engaging, rigorous and supportive project-based learning that helps hone critical thinking and prepares them well for career, college and life. Rest assured that whatever our fall schedule looks like, this is what our teachers and staff are committed to providing at AHS.

We know that some students likely will need to complete school from home for periods of time this fall, and we'll be ready to support them. We also understand that shifts in work and school schedules impact families, particularly those with younger kids, including some of our staff. We are committed to coming up with solutions that take all these factors into consideration.

Our staff and board are hard at work preparing for our safe return to the Nest as evidenced by the following updates:

  • Despite funding cuts to schools across the nation, we are thrilled to have our full outstanding team of educators returning this fall, with the exception of Kat Jackson who is moving back to Australia with her family as planned. Jenny McKenzie will return to AHS to replace Kat, and we are very excited to welcome her back from Barcelona, where she's spent the past 3 years.

  • We are in close communication with local public health officials, regional school/government leaders and other professional organizations so we can develop plans collaboratively.

  • Funding from the CARES Act will allow us to make important improvements to ventilation, cleaning and hygiene practices in order to minimize the risks of COVID-19 for our students and staff.

  • We have been meeting regularly to brainstorm, develop and assess various scenarios for reopening.

Here is the timeline and process for finalizing our school reopening plan :

  • Our Board Meeting this Thursday July 23 from 5:30-7:30 will include an hour of public participation where we will invite students, staff and families to share input regarding top priorities and thoughts around how we reopen school. Attendees in the virtual meeting, which will be held via Google Meet, will have an opportunity to speak for up to 3 minutes apiece. Join us at meet.google.com/vyn-anwv-kgq or via phone by calling (928) 793-9209‬. The Board Meeting will also include a brief BEST Grant update.

  • We will send out a Student and Family Survey the week of July 27; please look for it and share your input.

  • Our staff will finalize a proposal for reopening and submit it to the AHS Board of Directors for approval at their Board Meeting on Monday, August 10. We will share final plans shortly after this meeting.

While we recognize that it may feel frustrating to not have definitive plans for our return to school at this time, our belief is that finalizing our decision closer to our August 24 start date will result in a plan that is less likely to require changes as local coronavirus cases and guidelines continue to shift. With the recent announcement from San Juan Basin Public Health that La Plata County "now qualifies as an area of significant community transmission of COVID-19," we want to be sure that any plans to return to in-person teaching and learning are safe for all.

Here is how students and families can engage in our decision-making process:

Please join us at Thursday's Board Meeting, complete the Student and Family Survey coming your way soon and don't hesitate to reach out to us directly at the following email addresses to share your questions, concerns, hopes and ideas:

We are grateful for our thriving school community and we look forward to hearing from you as we work towards reuniting with our Osprey students back at the Nest!
Upcoming AHS Events

Marketing Committee Meeting: M on. 7/20, 2:00pm via Google Meet at meet.google.com/nwe-uuzh-bsd

School Excellence Committee Meeting : Tues. 7/21 5:30pm via Google Meet at meet.google.com/ryz-yoym-gtd

AHS Board Meeting : Thurs. 7/23, 5:30pm via Google Meet at meet.google.com/vyn-anwv-kgq

AHS Board Meeting : Mon. 8/10

First Day of School : Mon. 8/24
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 libby.cowles@animashighschool.com .
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