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Mid-Year Bird’s Eye View



Hello, wonderful Osprey community:

As we head into our second semester, I wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you for being a member of the Osprey family. We are truly fortunate to have you as part of our community. It’s been an honor, and my privilege, to serve this community as Head of School for the past year and a half.  In the spirit of New Year’s reflections, our staff would like to share a list of the milestones that our school community has achieved together over the past 18 months:

  • Academic Curriculum
    • Revamped our daily schedule to better support interdisciplinary, grade-level projects and student choice through electives;
    • Launched and refined a research-driven, grade-level Math curriculum;
    • Added 20+ class choices;
    • Refined one of our most beloved 9th grade projects—the Mask Project—to create a truly outstanding, interactive and innovative exhibition of learning;
    • Revamped Senior Project to include an action-oriented component;
    • Placed 70+ students in internships through the LINK Internship program;
    • Started LINK 2.0, a senior-level internship program;
    • Hosted 40+ exhibitions;
    • Conducted over 800+ POLs; and
    • 20+ students studied abroad.
  • College Counseling
    • Created a comprehensive college advising program, for grades 9 through 12, with advisors supporting our college counselor in delivering college-readiness curriculum for students;
    • Three finalists nominated for prestigious state/national scholarships;
    • Graduated 60+ students;
    • 100% college acceptance for the AHS Class of 2016; and
    • $1.3 million scholarship dollars awarded to the Class of 2016.
  • School Culture
    • Launched a new student group—the Animas Restorative Team—to address student behavior issues and conflicts through restorative justice practices led by peers;
    • Adopted a refined dress code that was democratically created by our students and staff with leadership from the AHS Student Council;
    • Held 10+ student information sessions about healthy lifestyles choices (i.e. substance awareness, physical health, mental health, etc.);
    • Launched several new traditions including Senior Sunrise, State of the School Address and Junior Retreat;
    • Designed a new senior parking lottery, spearheaded by students, to alleviate parking issues; and
    • Achieved the highest rate of student retention in the history of the school.
  • Professional Development/Support for Staff
    • Revamped and added new members to our Instructional Leadership Team, the group that designs our professional development for staff;
    • Numerous staff members presented at state and national conferences for educators; and
    • Achieved highest rate of staff retention in the history of the school.
  • Facility/Infrastructure
    • Migrated to a new student information system, Infinite Campus;
    • Completed a new intersection at our school entrance on Highway 160;
    • Re-graveled the path; and
    • Created a permanent art installation along the path from the lower parking lot to the upper lot.
  • Outside Recognition and Support
    • Visited by educators from several schools from across the state and nation, who wanted to learn more about our innovative model
    • Raised $250,000 in donations and grants
    • Passed ballot initiative 3A, in partnership with Durango School District 9R, increasing per pupil revenue through a mill levy
  • Miscellaneous
    • Fielded an AHS team in a national solar car competition, the Solar Car Challenge
    • 5 new board members joined
    • Hosted 10+ AHS Information Sessions for prospective families

At Animas High School, we are an innovative public charter school of choice.  This means that we refine our practice continuously; utilize evidence-based best practices; persevere through the challenges of pursuing education reform; listen to the advocacy of our community; and do our best to identify the competencies our students will need in the prime of their careers. At AHS, we see these habits of heart and mind as just some of the perks of working here. Through our habits of heart and mind (Perspective, Advocacy, Perseverance, Evidence and Refinement; PAPER), we are able to achieve what we have achieved over these 18 months. PAPER enables us to push our practice constantly and be leaders in educational excellence through education reform. We have the privilege of waking up every morning saying, “We get to go to work today! And, are able to provide our community with a school of choice.” This is what makes AHS so special and leaves us excited for the continued success that we hope the new year will bring.

Thank you again, for being a valued member of our community and helping us achieve being a premier choice for our community. We look forward to continuing to work together in the New Year.

With warm regards,

 

Sean Woytek

Head of School