As a new school year begins, I want to hear from you

Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 4:12 PM

Another school year is upon us, and families are preparing to send their children back to school.

Our traditional public schools, our charter schools and our private schools are excited to see our children back in classrooms next week. While our teachers, support staff and administrators are ready, I hope parents recognize the important role they play in the educational process.

We have a little over seven hours with our students at school each day. While I’d love to think that our schools can do it all, it is clear we as schools in today’s society continue to take on more responsibility.

It is also clear that children whose parents are engaged have a greater opportunity for success. I’m not talking about volunteering at school or serving on a committee, although those are important things too. Simply checking in with your children about what they are learning, how they are feeling and keeping in touch with our teachers and administrators by phone, email or text will have a profound impact on your child.

Like every aspect of our society today, we continue to see divisiveness and disagreement often stymie rich dialogue and conversation.

I believe strongly that our schools are meant to support parents in raising their children based on their own culture and beliefs. Durango is a diverse community with many ideas and opposing beliefs.

Let me assure parents that our job is not to inflict beliefs on your children but to protect your rights as parents to raise your children in the way that supports your faith, your values and your beliefs.

One of my themes for the coming year is communication! Sadly, if one relies only on the media or word of mouth, the likelihood is that a member of our community may come away believing a variety of things about the focus and direction of our district. Unfortunately, the reality is the media sometimes prints stories that are hyper-focused and often lack the full story or appropriate context. For those of you old enough to remember, I truly miss Paul Harvey. For you young whippersnappers, please Google him!

It is clear that we may not always agree in a community that has as much diversity as we have here in Durango, but let’s make sure we don’t erode the very foundation of our humanity – the ability for us to communicate and discuss issues and ideas. Starting my sixth year in this community, I continue to seek the right strategy to get those who disagree to the table to dialogue. Based on strong support for our mill levy last year, I assume we must be doing something right; however, I want to hear the voice of the 37 percent of our community that couldn’t support the initiative.

This year, I will be hosting a variety of events, such as coffees, lunch and learns, evening chats, etc. I hope that if you have questions, ideas or frustrations with our schools, you will take advantage of engaging in that wonderful gift called dialogue!

I look forward to hearing from you and partnering in support of our youths this upcoming school year.

Email Durango School District 9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger at