Amy Biehl High School was founded in 1999 by two teachers dedicated to helping students achieve academic success in high school and beyond. The school was named for Amy Biehl, a young woman dedicated to scholarship and service who was tragically killed while working to involve women in the new Democratic South Africa. Amy’s story not only exemplifies a dedication to helping others, but after her death, Amy’s parents participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a restorative justice body assembled in South Africa after the end of apartheid. Amy’s parents, Linda and Peter, forgave the men that killed her and even went on to work with two of them at the Amy Biehl Foundation. Amy’s story encompassed everything that Amy Biehl High School would come to embody – courage, scholarship, and community.
For the first few years Amy Biehl High School was housed in a church auxiliary room in the Northeast Heights. In 2006, after raising over $4 million through federal, state, and private contributions, the school moved into its current home, a 1908 federal post office building located at 123 4th St. This move was only possible with the support of the many generous donors who gave to the capital campaign known as “The House That Truth Built.” To our donors, we are forever grateful. In 2015, legislation was passed that made it possible for the Amy Biehl High School Foundation to purchase the building from the federal government, securing the school’s home permanently.
Amy Biehl High School’s unique curriculum focuses on service, college and career preparation, and restorative justice. By studying turning points in history from multiple perspectives and emphasizing depth over breadth students learn to be upstanders in their community. An upstander is someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right. Students build upon this idea of being an upstander by volunteering in their community. We have partnered with over 140 local organizations and given over 125,000 hours of service to non-profits through our community engagement program. From working in community gardens like Cornelio Organic Farms to monitoring the ecology along the Bosque with BEMP to bagging enough food at Roadrunner Food Bank to feed thousands of New Mexicans, our students continue to make an impact that can be seen throughout the community.
Amy Biehl High School sets high academic standards preparing students to pursue college and career after graduation by requiring students to pass two dual enrollment college courses and earn a 75% or better in all classes. Our student body is diverse and, though many face barriers to college, they are succeeding; 95% of graduates enroll directly into college and 86% are still enrolled after two years. This data led a 2016 Facing History Innovative School Network study which compared data from schools across the nation to conclude that Amy Biehl High School is closing the achievement gap.