Snyder hits highlights in 'state of district' talkFeb 10, 2012 By Carolyn B. Tyler Staff Writer
In assessing the status and goals of Fremont County School District 25, superintendent Terry Snyder told the school board Tuesday, "We cannot forget the middle- and upper-level kids ... I truly believe that is the key to the future of the United States -- maintaining good problem solvers, entrepreneurial thinkers and encouraging the expansion of thought."
Snyder gave the school board an abbreviated State of the District address based on what he said to the district faculty at an in-service meeting Feb. 3.
The timeframe matched the 100-day mark of the school year and the completion of Snyder's first seven months as superintendent of District 25.
He opened his slide-show-supplemented remarks by saying, "This is a wonderful place to be. If you've lived here all your life, you need to appreciate it."
Snyder told the staff and board members that the focus of his educational philosophy is "kids are the reason why," and he outlined the organizational structure whereby he administers the school district.
Among the positive things about the Riverton schools, Snyder spoke of the achievements in a variety of sports and activities, noting that "activities are what keep some kids in school."
He also praised the work of the staff and said the American Education Week fleece jackets and the district's recent decision to give all staff free membership to the Riverton Aquatic Center is one way of recognizing staff efforts.
"It's a major commitment on the district's part," Snyder said.
Among the goals Snyder detailed is the alternative to expulsion the administration is developing, at the direction of the board. New "high expectation contracts' have been drawn up as a way to avoid some student expulsions on an individual basis, according to the infraction. Snyder called it a "search and find mission" that requires the student to maintain good attendance, have no tardies, meet grade expectations and have no further violations.
He said the administrators is working with community agencies to refer students with specific needs to appropriate drug and alcohol programs.
Snyder outlined plans for improved security at the entrance to Riverton High School, expressing concern about "a lot of exposure of kids" and saying "we want to be proactive on this."
The district's technology infrastructure design is being studied for upgrades in accessibility, for more computers per student and to free up rooms in buildings where additional classroom space is needed to meet the state-mandated 16:1 student-teacher ratio.
Snyder talked of the new, more comprehensive K-3 language arts program and the effort being put forth to improve third-grade math scores.
"Yes, we do follow the common core of instruction, which I believe will meet state standards," he said.
"Classroom instruction is driven by standards and student assessment results," Snyder said. "We can't guarantee that every kid learns, but we will guarantee that every child has the opportunity to learn."