New chief of schools ready for year to start |

New chief of schools ready for year to start

Sandra Smyser
Vail CO, Colorado
Sandra Smyser

Summer is nearly over and a new school year has just begun. Wherev-er your adventures took you, I hope that you all enjoyed quali-ty time with family and friends.

As many of you in the valley have children enrolled in Eagle County Schools, I thought this would be an appropriate time to introduce myself .

My name is Dr. Sandra Smyser, and I am the new superintendent of Eagle County Schools.

Prior to my role as interim superintendent in Steamboat Springs, I served as a superintend-ent in different school districts throughout Cali-fornia for the past 11 years. I have also worn the various hats of princi-pal, assistant superin-tendent and bilingual special education teacher.

With an extensive background in special education and in dealing with the achievement gap between English-speaking students and their Spanish-speaking peers, I believe Eagle County Schools is the perfect fit for me, and I very much look for-ward to sharing this journey with each and every one of you.

As we look toward the future, we know our purpose is. We under-stand that our goal is to prepare every single student for success in life. This is an enormous task that will never get any easier. It is an extremely worthwhile endeavor, though, and I am proud to be part of such a meaningful organization that is committed to doing so.

This year, we will be working dili-gently to continually improve our efforts in order to achieve this goal, and we invite parents and community mem-bers to help us be suc-cessful.

Here are a few ways in which you can help our children every single day: Ask your child about his or her day at school.

Boost your child’s con-fidence with a comple-ment on his or her school work each day.

Communicate with your child’s teacher(s), principal(s) and coach(es) frequently.

Demonstrate useful study techniques to your child.

Encourage your child to take part in academics and activities.

Fill your child’s lunch bag with healthy snacks and water to have during the school day.

Give your child’s school up-to-date contact information.

Hang up any work that your child brings home from school.

Incorporate what your child learned in school into daily activities.

Join your school’s PTA to stay in the loop with what is going on in your child’s school.

Keep track of your child’s progress in classes and offer help when needed.

Listen intently when your child is telling you about his or her day at school.

Make sure your child knows where you will be during and after school

and how to get in touch with you.

Nurture your child back to health when he or she has to take a sick day from school.

Offer to help out with your child’s homework.

Plan quality time with your child as often as possible.

Quiz your child before school tests.

Read aloud with your child before bed.

Start your child’s morning off with a balanced and nutritious breakfast before school.

Take the time to make a connec-tion with at least one adult at your child’s school.

Understand everything your child is learning in class.

Volunteer in Eagle County Schools.

Write letters to put in your child’s lunch box.

X number of times you should vis-it your child’s school during the year (“x” referring to an unlimited amount).

Your actions influence a child’s behavior ” be positive, truthful and encouraging.

Zip up your child’s coat when it is cold out.

This year, we will be focusing our efforts on achieving excellence and measuring our progress in innovative ways.

I am confident that we have highly qualified educators who are interact-ing with our children every day and the resources and individuals in place to maintain momentum and continue to move forward.

Sandra Smyser, Ph.D., is the superin-tendent of the Eagle County School District. E-mail comments about this column to

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