Animas is “A” Strong

Animas is “A” Strong

Animas is “A” Strong

                For the past six years, under the new school grading system, Animas High School has received an A for all but one year, receiving a B just once. The Straight “A” Express made its stop in the small town of Animas on Wednesday, November 29th to celebrate their continued success and to learn just what is working in Animas.  This rural, agricultural area features the school as the hub of the community surrounded by only one café, a small convenience store, a feed/hardware store and three necessary utility companies. Animas Public Schools draws students from several surrounding towns, traveling up to 75 miles one-way to school.  The total K-12 population at Animas Public Schools is 179 students.  The high school is a 7-12th grade setting and teachers teach all grade levels and cover generally 6 different preps each day. However, the teachers and staff at Animas feel blessed to work with such polite, hard-working and spirited students.

My name is Alysha Wagley. I am a 14-year teacher at Animas High School, member of the Secretary’s Advisory team, and Animas alumnus.  I would like to share the following as to what I believe is driving our continued “A” status:

  • High Expectations from teachers, staff and the community of students and staff
  • Busy Students: they must be involved in multiple extra-curricular in order for all programs to be successful. Even the average student is in sports, drama, mock trial, STUCO, and often FFA all at once. Most work to help support themselves and their families. Students have no choice but to learn to multi-task and have confidence in themselves and each other.
  • Highly discourage the “teach to the test” mentality. Instead, we do rigorous reading and writing preparation. English, Science and history all give timed 5-parapgrah essays periodically as regular classroom assessments and generally in the computer-lab.
  • Teacher voice and trying to keep all our arrows going in the same directions
    • DASH Team includes core teachers, and DASH goals are truly aligned to student and teacher needs for improvement
    • Aligning a portion of our PDP to student needs per data analysis
    • Analyzing Data as a staff through PLC’s
    • Communication among teachers about shared students
    • Setting Staff goals in a certain area and all working together, for example: 5-paragraph essay, academic testing vocabulary, information text and currently short-essay response.
    • Concentrating as a staff on collaboration, bell-to-bell instruction and DOK
  • Extensive SAT Plans and IEPs that are team driven
  • All students who score 2 or below on PARCC are looked at more closely for a possible SAT plan
  • Anyone who reads below grade-level is looked at more closely for a possible SAT plan and letters are sent to parents regarding below grade-level scores.
  • Use of Math and Language Lab classes as RTI for students below grade-level
  • Taking Advantage of REC Resources, especially for new teacher training
  • Teacher mentorship for all new teachers


    • Below 70% grade list to teachers every two weeks and regular communication with parents for those who fall below a 70%.
  • ACT a priority and encourage all students to take it from 2nd Semester Sophomores to 1st semester Seniors (generally 4 times throughout high school)
  • All sophomores take PSAT and ASVAB for career readiness


  • Respect and support for academics from coaches and sponsors
  • Unfortunately no AP courses, but we do have honors, duel-credit and online opportunities for students to excel, be challenged and have access to classes of choice that our small staff can’t accommodate.
  • Support from administration and school board with a one-team mentality
  • A school spirit that has the students, teachers, staff, administration and community truly caring about the reputation and success of Animas Schools.

Of course, the list can go on and on, but most importantly dedication and respect from students, teachers, staff and community make Animas an excellent school to attend, work at and support. Go Panthers!

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