“Every Student Every Day.” That’s the motto written above the entryway at Miller Middle School. And Durango School District 9-R exemplifies this mission.
On my visit to every school on Tuesday, the first day of the 2021-22 school year, I witnessed this everywhere, from the care teachers showed new sixth graders as they helped them find classes at Escalante Middle School, to the joy a kindergarten teacher brought to her students as they searched for the Gingerbread Man at Sunnyside Elementary, to the excitement about new culinary skills the FACS teacher brought to teens at Durango High School.
Our teachers and staff work tirelessly to reach every student, making every day count. We know how important this is, especially after the instability and unpredictability of the last 18 months. Being in and out of school, online and offline at the same time, not knowing where the pandemic would lead, has been hard on everyone, both academically and social-emotionally. Our board, teachers, staff members and leaders are committed to making this school year the best yet, keeping students in school where we know they learn best. While there is a nationwide focus on what students lost over the last year and a half, we know they also gained much. Our students and staff members have been resilient, flexible, adaptable, self-directed and demonstrated deep compassion and concern for their community.
As we navigate this new school year, we will continue to grow these skills and also our work to make Durango School District 9-R the best in the state. We have the teachers, staff members, leaders, community and especially students, who can accomplish this, and over the next several months, we will work together to put in place some structures and processes to help us continuously improve together. These include:
- Focus on the Colorado Academic Standards and our Elements of Effective Instruction in all classrooms.
- Intentional Intervention (in both academics and social-emotional skills) so all students can succeed.
- Creating a shared vision for our students, staff members and community so that we build a better future for all.
- Improving processes so we are more efficient and effective, providing more resources for our classrooms.
We need your help and support as we work toward these goals. Everyone in our community is a vital part of continuing to make our schools better, reaching every student, every day.
Karen Cheser is superintendent for Durango School District 9-R.