Dolores is committed to a safe learning environment

Providing Dolores students with a safe learning environment is one of our top priorities. The safety and security of our students and staff has risen to the forefront of our daily thinking in this post-Sandy Hook World we live in. I hope our parents and community can rest assured knowing that our schools are as safe as possible. Since the terrible tragedy in Connecticut, we have reevaluated all of our safety procedures and precautions. Law enforcement professionals have joined our safety discussions including touring our campus on multiple occasions to provide us with safety improvement feedback and to be a greater presence on school grounds. Thanks to our supportive community passing our school bond in November, many of our weakest safety concerns will be solved this summer and next year through the reconstruction of many classrooms and buildings.

On Feb. 12, during the day and into the evening, we will host a design charrette inviting our community and staff to comment on possible design details planned for our new construction. Later that evening, beginning at 7 p.m., our supportive school board will discuss many topics including, but not limited to: concurrent enrollment, social promotion, drop out safety nets, student-athlete scholarships and recruiters, school resource officers, Educator Effectiveness work, and more. There is a lot to discuss, so some items may be tabled until the next meeting on Feb. 26. On Feb. 19, beginning at 4 p.m., we are hosting our monthly District Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) meeting. This is a great opportunity for parents and community to join teachers and principals in discussions around safety, academics and budgets. Currently, the DAAC will be creating a parent survey to solicit feedback on district-wide issues. We hope to deploy this survey during the parent/teacher conferences in late February.

Recently, there has been a lot of commentary in board meetings, letters to the editors, Albuquerque news and on social media about our administrations' actions to uphold and improve the safe learning environments at our schools. We have posted all of the policies supporting our actions on the District's website along with a link to the SPIRIT curriculum provided by the US Justice Department and the letter from our MS/HS principal, Mr. Brandon Thurston, to parents explaining events and actions prior to the Winter Break. If you have questions, or concerns about the actions taken here in Dolores schools, I encourage you to read the information on our website. The short answer is, school administration has to provide the safest learning environment possible for students and staff. If that includes the banning of symbols that disrupt the educational process by igniting fear, hatred and violence, then we will do so. To end on a positive note, this public commentary has produced a conversation among students, staff, parents and community beyond the boundaries of the Dolores School District that will hopefully provide our wonderful community with a refreshed understanding and a greater acceptance of diversity. "Dolores is too great for hate!"