Schnee to serve as transition administrator for new Bozeman high school

Posted at 5:29 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 19:29:14-04

BOZEMAN – With Bozeman’s brand new second high school set to open in the fall of 2020, the Bozeman School District has a long to-do list of things to accomplish. That’s why the School Board on Friday appointed Bozeman High Assistant Principal Erica Schnee as their transition administrator.

“When I saw the list of things there was to do, it was a little daunting and overwhelming, but so exciting,” said Schnee, who will begin the position next year.

Here’s a look at what’s on that to-do list, which needs to be completed in the next two years:

  • Communication Plan
  • High School Programming
  • High School Transition
  • Activities Model
  • Staffing Model
  • Scheduling Model 
  • Design and Equipment
  • School Culture
  • Budgeting Model
  • Transportation Model

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has a deadline of 2020 on it,” said Bozeman Schools Superintendent Rob Watson. “So, once we started looking at that list, we realized we’re going to need a lot more help than we currently have.”

Schnee hopes that during her time as transition administrator she can keep an open dialogue and keep students and staff informed of the direction of the second high school.

"My ultimate goal is to help ensure that it’s a positive, smooth and collaborative transition for students, staff and the community as a whole,” said Schnee.  “I think a split like this can have the potential to be divisive in a community, but there is a lot of potential to make it a positive, collaborative process for the community so that both schools are well supported in Bozeman," she said.

Bozeman High School currently has around 2,200 students, and the district projects those enrollment numbers to rise to around 2,400 by 2020. Schnee knows that deciding which students will go where is one of the tougher challenges she will face.

"I’m sure there will always be issues that are dear to people’s hearts, like boundaries, activities, sports, and courses,” said Schnee. “So, just kind of making sure people know what’s happening and why, I think will be really important to be proactive."

Schnee won’t be alone in her decision making. The district will also use a high school transition committee made up of parents, students and administrators, who will advise on things like the new high school name, colors and mascot. But Superintendent Watson said the committee’s primary focus is boundaries, which will be determined by where each student lives.

The district hopes that when the second high school opens, they can split enrollment numbers evenly at each school, but Watson said they may allow seniors to stay in the current high school.

Watson added that funding for Schnee’s one-year position as transition administrator will come from last year’s voter-approved $125 million school bond.