To the Osprey Students, Parents, and Community:
What a privilege it was to be introduced to such a thriving community of educators, parents, and students at the All-School Exhibition recently. When I think about project-based learning, exhibitions are the true litmus test. You can get a sense of the culture of the school through the excitement of the students as well as the impressions of the community. You can also see where the school as a whole is with regards to expectations; did it live up to the original vision, what were the takeaways, what is the balance between exhaustion and exhilaration, and what would they have done better? This last piece is what excites me about PBL. When I think about what makes Animas and other PBL schools so great, it is their ability to prepare students for the unknown. Time and time again I have heard business professionals from Bill Gates to Gary Jacobs impressed with the many attributes that students from PBL schools possess. Articulation and ability to work in groups are 21st century skills that most college graduates do not possess, yet our 10th graders have mastered. Unfortunately in our current landscape, undergraduate degrees are not necessarily preparing students for the workplace. This is where Animas is thriving. While we are preparing our students for college the reality is our ultimate test is whether or not they are graduating and finding success in the workplace and in life. Our utmost goal is to have graduates that are so career ready, and a relationship with businesses that know the quality of our graduates, that an Animas degree moves the application to the top of the pile.
In order to foster this ethic of excellence it begins with student and adult culture. Our academics, driven through and by projects, need to be challenging and engaging. It should be our goal to instill such joy in our work that our students are brimming with excitement and pride. What we’re really after for our students is the development of internal standards, not simply compliance with external standards. That requires listening to students and engaging in dialogue about what constitutes high quality work. It also entails, as faculty, looking at student work together for evidence of engagement, purpose, inquiry, and a disposition to go deeper.
As I think about the 2015-2016 school year I am extremely excited. My goal is to ensure that every student has an amazing story. A story that enables them to open any door needed in their pursuit of a college and career of their choice, with the realization that it is more about the fit, joy, and philanthropy of life than the status. I can promise you that I will be the beacon of these high expectations and vision. Through concentrating on high quality projects that are truly transformational, developing great relationships between and amongst students, staff, parents, and community, and fostering an atmosphere of trust and accountability, Animas will continue to be one of the best educational environments in the great state of Colorado.
Hoping you all have a strong finish to the 2014-15 school year, and looking forward to joining you soon.