Student success requires full community effort

As the African Proverb goes, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”

This has been used in political campaigns of late, but certainly can be applied to the education of our children. The Durango community has continually shown its commitment to education through supporting various programs, attending school events and the passage of our 3A mill levy override providing needed funding to the district in difficult budget times.

Whether your child is in our public schools or attending a private school, we must ask for some additional help with a critical focus on three very important things: getting children to school regularly and on-time, setting clear expectations for student behavior that is respectful of the learning environment and ensuring that students follow up on homework and study outside of the school day.

Today, we have many children who come to school sporadically and many more that come late or leave early. Poor attendance leads to great learning gaps. A student arriving late or leaving early creates huge disruptions for all learners and sets an unrealistic view of life for students.

Those habits will clearly cause challenges for students after their K-12 education is completed. Parents, please help us address attendance concerns at school by:

Scheduling appointments outside of school hours whenever possible.

Taking vacations during the many blocks of time when students are already out of school.

Making school a priority. It is important to note that no packet of work can truly make up for the missed instruction during a child’s absence.

Our schools must have positive, safe learning environments where students come to learn and gain critical skills. Students who create disruptions take away the right of all students to learn.

The most challenging decision we make is when we take away a student’s right to attend school because of poor behavior. Despite the challenge, it is our duty to protect other students’ right to learn. As parents, we often jump to our children’s defense. When a school official notifies you of behavior concerns, join us as partners in emphasizing appropriate behaviors.

Finally, learning is a 24/7 experience. No great quarterback or novelist acquired their skill without lots of practice. School is a time when instruction and learning occurs. Practice often must take place outside of school. As a district, we continue to look at homework loads to ensure that we not overwhelm students, however, homework isn’t something we can avoid if your children are to be successful. Set clear expectations for your children and provide them quiet time and space to complete this important practice.

Sharing the load and contributing to our “village experience” will clearly contribute to the success of your child, as well as all children in Durango.

I always welcome your input and feedback at

I’d also like to invite all parents and members of our community to our next community forum at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Escalante Middle School.

Daniel Snowberger is the superintendent of the Durango School District.

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