The Durango Herald talked with the superintendents from Durango School District 9-R, Bayfield School District and Ignacio School District to find out what is new at each district for this 2017-18 school year.
Durango’s Dan Snowberger, Bayfield’s Amy Lyons and Ignacio’s Rocco Fuschetto discussed new classes, construction projects and what they are most looking forward to this year.
Durango School District 9-RSuperintendent Dan Snowberger has been with the district for six years. Before joining Durango 9-R’s team in 2012, Snowberger worked as the assistant superintendent for Harrison School District near Colorado Springs.
Snowberger said the district’s main goal this year is to work on closing the achievement gap for students.
“We have a number of students who have not achieved the same level of success as others,” he said. “We want students to grow academically, socially and emotionally.”
He said that he is looking forward to the district being able to continue its work on competency-based learning.
Competency-based education measures learning rather than time. Students progress by demonstrating their competence in a course, which allows them to learn at their own pace.
“We’ve been trying to operate as a single entity to make sure students are successful when they leave,” Snowberger said. “This is the key to us closing the achievement gap, and that is exciting for me.”
New at the districtDurango High School has a new program called Link Crew, which connects freshman with upperclassmen to help make their transition into high school easier. Sixty upperclassmen are paired with 375 incoming freshman for a ratio of two leaders to about 14 students. Link leaders help freshmen feel included and provide support when needed.New career and technical programs will be offered at DHS, including culinary arts, agriculture, construction trades and early childhood education.Additionally, Durango High School will be expanding its engineering and computer science classes.Bayfield School DistrictAmy Lyons assumed the role of interim superintendent when Troy Zabel took medical leave after his cancer diagnosis in 2016.
Lyons previously served as the district’s finance director since 2005.
She said her main goal for the new school year is to ensure a smooth transition of power and to minimize the impact of construction projects on students and faculty.
“Currently, work is being done at the elementary school to build a new library and administrative office,” she said. “That project will go throughout the upcoming school year.”
Lyons wants to practice what she has been working toward the last 12 years of her career.
“I am looking forward to helping keep our district really moving forward,” she said.
New at the districtThe district is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school that will house third through fifth grades. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2018.The current elementary school is undergoing renovations to become a kindergarten through second-grade school. Next summer, a crew will completely remodel the interior of the building for a fall 2018 completion date.Ignacio School DistrictRocco Fuschetto has been the Ignacio School District superintendent for eight years. Fuschetto has more than 45 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, high school principal and superintendent.
He said the district’s main goal for the new school year is to improve student attendance and behavior.
Fuschetto said he is excited about the 10 new teachers the district hired, some of which came from Massachusetts and Illinois.
“These teachers are very enthusiastic coming in,” he said. “They are young and energetic, and we are looking forward to supporting them.”
New at the districtThe district will be implementing a new attendance policy. Students can miss eight unexcused days before they are required to attend a hearing. If their attendance does not improve, it can lead to expulsion and referral to the courts.Elementary school teachers are receiving restorative justice training that they will use to address student behavior issues in the classroom.The district will offer new Advanced Placement courses after students tested well in AP classes last year. Students will have the new option of taking AP computer science and AP physics.More PSAT prep classes will be added to the middle school curriculum to better prepare students for the SAT.firstname.lastname@example.org