How are we doing?
As a public school district, it is our job to serve the citizenry of Durango in ensuring that students are prepared to be contributing members of our community upon completion of their educational track. We often hear from individuals when they are unhappy with a practice or an issue, but we haven’t had an avenue to gain broader input. This is your opportunity to do so.
As many of my columns have noted, public education is under major transition as we address failures that have occurred in schools across our nation. Unlike foreign countries that outperform us, schools in the U.S. educate all students regardless of abilities and disabilities. It is clear that some students in districts across Colorado and across our nation haven’t found the same success as others.
In Durango, we are fortunate to have many educational options. Our private schools, parochial schools, charter schools and public schools all provide great options and choices for our families. While competition makes us stronger, I believe choice is the essential element. Each of our institutions face similar challenges in preparing students for success in a very different world.
In the Durango School District, we continue to wrestle with achievement gaps where all students don’t necessarily have the same success as their peers. We’ve undergone major changes – often driven by legislative mandates. While it’s easy to blame the law, I embrace these changes as they increase accountability and cause us to focus on the achievement of all students.
Our new standards require that students not only master skills in reading, writing, math, science and social studies; they must also be prepared to think critically, work collaboratively and solve problems using their knowledge and skill. Durango continues to offer a rich selection of career and technical education opportunities, visual and performing arts and foreign languages. Through a partnership with both Fort Lewis College and Southwest Colorado Community College, our students have the opportunity to take college courses before their graduation from high school.
I take great pride in the work of our Durango 9-R team, both as an educator and a parent of three students in our school system. We continue to work hard to make our system even more effective. Again, it is clear that we hear from our community when concerns exist, but it is important that we hear from all citizens – regardless of whether you have children in our district or not. Your voice is important to me and our board of education. With that in mind, we would greatly appreciate your input on how we are doing. As your superintendent, your voice matters to me. Please visit www.durangoschools.org/survey and share your thoughts.
We also will host another Superintendent’s Round Table at 6 p.m. Thursday at Escalante Middle School to gain input about critical budget decisions that need to be made for the next school year. With your help, we will continue to ensure that we meet the needs of our community and prepare students for a bright, successful future!
Daniel Snowberger is the superintendent of the Durango School District. Reach him at DSnowberger@durango.k12.co.us.