Student & Family Success Guide Your Guide to Durango School District 9-R

About Durango 9-R

The mission of Durango School District 9-R, an innovative educational system committed to excellence, is to ensure each student develops the skills and attributes for lifelong learning and has the ability to compete and contribute in the global community, by guaranteeing equitable educational opportunities in a safe and healthy environment.

We strive to create a learning environment where all students own their learning, act on their learning, and impact their community. Learners must be actively engaged, and we are dedicated to personalizing learning based on each student’s strengths and needs. Our role as a school district is to provide learning opportunities where students develop their critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. A personalized, competency-based approach to teaching and learning the standards and a community of collaborative learning will prepare students for post-secondary success. Learn more about our school district, core beliefs, beliefs about learning, and guiding principles here.

Our Schools & Departments

Durango 9-R has eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. We also have shared schooling and online options for students. See a list of our schools and links to their websites here.

Our district departments are here to serve our students, staff, and families. Learn more about how each department supports the 9-R community on our District Departments page.

9-R Communications

Our Communications Department is here to help families stay informed, celebrating school and student success stories, providing emergency notifications, and outreach. Learn more about our newsletters, alert notifications, sponsorship program, flyer distribution policies, and more on our website.

School Safety

The Durango School District 9-R Board of Education, administration, and staff are committed to creating a resilient and safe learning environment for all students on all our school campuses.

Ensuring that our schools are safe and secure places for our students and staffs is a shared expectation and responsibility. School districts need the community and most importantly the school families to advocate school safety, as well.

Learn about our emergency operations plans, the Standard Response Protocol, school safety, Safe2Tell and other resources on our School Safety page.

Empowering All Students

At Durango 9-R, all students own their learning, act on their learning, and impact their community. We believe learners must be actively engaged and that we must personalize learning based on each student’s strengths and needs. Our role as a school district is to provide learning opportunities where students develop their critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. We believe that a personalized instructional approach to the standards and a community of collaborative learning will equip each student for a successful life now and after his or her years in school. In order to accomplish this vision, we utilize teaching and learning practices where students Own Their Learning, Act on Their Learning, and Impact Their Community.

Graduation Requirements

Awarding a high school diploma based on the accumulation of credit earned for passing courses has been a long-standing practice in high schools; but this system has not ensured that students meet high academic standards and demonstrate competency. Consequently, some students graduate high school unprepared for success in postsecondary education and modern careers. Visit our graduation requirements page to learn more about credit hour requirements, Individual Career and Academic Plans, and real world experience requirements.


According to state law, it is the obligation of every parent/guardian to ensure that every child under their care and supervision receives adequate education and training, and if of compulsory attendance age, attends school.

Learn more about excused and unexcused absences, our La Plata Youth Services Diversion Program, and more on our website.

District & School Accountability

Durango School District 9-R and the Colorado Department of Education use a variety of performance frameworks and assessments to measure school and student success.

Learn more about our measures of success, school performance, teacher qualifications, Unified Improvement plans, and protected information on our District & School Accountability page.

Early Childhood Education

Durango 9-R is committed to providing the highest quality early childhood education, with the goal of ensuring that each student has the developmental and learning foundations necessary for longterm success. All elementary schools house at least one preschool classroom and one kindergarten classroom, with the exception of The Juniper School which does not have a preschool program.

Learn more about our early childhood education program and register your student for preschool on our Early Childhood page.

READ Act Plans

The Colorado Reading To Ensure Academic Development Act (Colorado READ Act) requires schools to develop a READ Plan for a student identified as having a significant reading deficiency as soon as the “body of evidence” from a variety of assessments indicates that students are not reading at grade level. The literacy plan identifies the student’s specific diagnosed reading skill deficiencies, goals and benchmarks for the student’s growth in attaining competency, the scientifically based or evidence-based reading instructional programming the teacher will use, the way in which progress will be monitored and evaluated, and the strategies the student’s parent is encouraged to use in assisting the student to achieve reading competency. An important component of the READ Plan requires parents to read or practice reading with their student at home.

Academic & Emotional Support

The mission of Durango 9-R Counseling and Advising Program is to promote academic, career, and social/emotional development for every student by collaborating with students, families, educational staff, and community in a safe and healthy environment.

The Counseling and Advising Program is aligned with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Mindsets and Behaviors and the Comprehensive Health Standards within the Colorado Academic Standards. Counselors are available at all 9-R schools.

Gifted & Talented

Gifted children are students whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. Gifted students include gifted students with disabilities (i.e. twice exceptional) and students with exceptional abilities or potential from all socio-economic and ethnic/cultural populations.

Learn more about our Gifted & Talented (GT) educational offerings, GT identification process, and Advanced Learning Plans on our GT webpages.

Services for Homeless Students

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures the educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Durango School District 9-R is committed to ensuring these rights for all children experiencing homelessness.

If you are a family experiencing homelessness, please contact the Student Support Services office at 970-247-5411, ext. 1461 for further information on your rights and how we can assist you with enrollment in school, transportation to school, free lunches and other services. You may also contact the main office of the school your child(ren) are presently attending.

Learn more about our supports and services for homeless students and their rights on our website.

Federal Programs

The Student Services Division offers additional support for students through the following federal programs under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

Title I, Part A

Title 1, Part D

Title II

Title III

Title IV

Title VI

McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act

Professional Learning Communities

Durango 9-R adopted the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) model of school improvement in 2007-08. The Board of Education approved the PLC model in December 2006 at the request of principals who said teachers and staff needed more time together to address student-learning goals. PLC’s are a model of school improvement developed by Richard DuFour, former superintendent of Adlai Stephenson High School in Illinois. DuFour introduced the concept to Durango teachers during a series of workshops in 2004.

In a PLC, teachers work as a team to analyze assessment results and data to see how well teaching strategies and curriculum are helping students learn. When teachers work together to address student learning needs, they apply more experience, knowledge, and training to address the learning challenge than one teacher alone can do. The problem-solving method models the type of 21st Century learning skills we want our students to learn, too.

Learn more about PLC here.

Exceptional Student Services

The Exceptional Student Services Department is committed to empowering every student to be successful in college, career, and the community.

Individualized Education Program

Students who are eligible for special education services will need an IEP as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) to ensure that students receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). An IEP is a written and living document that details a student’s individualized plan for learning. A student is found eligible through an evaluation process at the school level. The evaluation is conducted by a multidisciplinary team who has expertise in the student’s area(s) of need. This team can involve a special education teacher, general education teacher, school psychologist, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, parent, social worker, or other identified support person. The evaluation may include formal testing, observations, Response to intervention (RTI) data, curriculum-based measures, and other types of assessment as determined by the team. Once the evaluation is complete, the multi-disciplinary team will meet to discuss the results and determine eligibility, using Colorado Department of Education (CDE) criteria, in the suspected disability category or categories. To what extent the student’s educational performance is adversely affected by the disability is a key consideration in the eligibility determination process.

Learn more about IEPs here.

Special Education Advisory Committee

The Special Education Advisory Committee focuses on the needs of students with disabilities. The committee is composed of parents of children with special needs, professionals, and community members. It serves in an advisory capacity to Exceptional Students Services. At monthly meetings, educational topics are presented that relate to special education and the needs of the community. The members often work on a product that will benefit the special education community. In the past, members have worked on informational presentations, gathering resources for the district website, fundraiser and recognition events, survey creation, etc. Meetings are open to anyone wishing to attend. Please see the Exceptional Student Services website or contact Exceptional Student Services at 970-247-5411 Ext 1456 for event dates and topics of discussion which are typically updated in August for the upcoming school year.

Child Find

Child Find is committed to supporting families through the process of identification, evaluation and continued appropriate services for children with possible delays. The child find team evaluates children who are ages 0-5, and also coordinates the identification and evaluation of children in private schools and preschools.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is any tool that helps a student perform more effectively at home, school, work or play. For some students, AT provides them with equal access to learning and communication in the classroom, community, and beyond.

Testing Methods or Procedures

School personnel are encouraged to discuss concerns about a student’s behavior with the parent/guardian, and such discussions may include a suggestion that the parent/guardian speak with an appropriate health care professional regarding any behavior concerns that school personnel may have.

School personnel are prohibited under state law from recommending or requiring the use of psychotropic drugs for students. They are also prohibited from testing or requiring testing for a student’s behavior without giving notice to the parent/guardian describing the recommended testing and how any test results will be used. Prior to conducting any such testing, school personnel shall obtain written permission from the parent/ guardian or eligible student in accordance with applicable law.

Pathways to Independence

Pathways to Independence is a special education transition program offered by the Durango 9-R for students 18-21 years of age who need to continue to develop independent life skills. The program is located in the Commons Building in downtown Durango, which provides a community experience for our students.

Learn more about Pathways to Independence here.

Phoenix Alternative Learning Center

The Phoenix Alternative Learning Center is an alternative program serving expelled and at-risk students in the Durango 9-R since 1997. The program’s name is inspired from the mythological bird that consumed itself by fire only to rise from the ashes to live again. The Phoenix symbolizes renewal, resilience, and opportunity. Learn more here.

Extracurricular School Activities

The district’s middle schools and high schools have dozens of extracurricular activities to offer students so that they may explore their interests. Athletics and other activities teach students to work together for a common goal, give students a sense of belonging to a community, help students develop lifelong interests, and learn the knowledge and skills associated with the activity. For a full listing of co-curricular and extracurricular activities, including no-cut middle school athletics, check out your school’s website or contact the front office of your school. For high school athletics, visit demonfans.durangoschools.org.

Many of our elementary schools also offer a wide variety of extracurriculars, including Girls on the Run, tech clubs, Destination Imagination, and more. Contact your school directly to see what is offered at your school.

Healthy Schools = Successful Students

Student support programs in Durango 9-R support the well-being of the whole child. From our Farm-to-School nutrition program to our health and transportation departments, Durango 9-R is committed to helping all our students arrive at school ready to be happy, healthy learners.

Durango 9-R has been recognized by the Colorado Department of Education for its outstanding commitment toward promoting student and staff wellness programs and developing healthy schools.

Durango utilizes the Coordinated School Health model to implement health and wellness. This is an evidenced-based model developed by the Center for Disease Control to foster student academic achievement by addressing eight strategic components of health. The components engage staff and students and address basic health services as well as health education, nutrition, physical activity, family and community involvement, staff wellness, healthy school environment, and mental and emotional health.

Learn more about health education, school health services, district wellness teams, our School-Based Health Centers, and more on our Health & Wellness webpages.

Nutrition Services

Student Nutrition Services is creating local-based change that empowers members of our community to embrace a healthier lifestyle. You will see this in our district wellness policy and our very successful Farm to School program that help support our programs' healthy school meals. Durango 9-R Student Nutrition Services is committed to enhancing our students' education by providing nutritious and delicious meals with pride.

Learn more about our student nutrition program with the links below:


Free & Reduced Meal Program

Grab & Go Breakfast

Menus & Nutritional Information

Demon Deli

Meal Account Payment Options

9-R Food Pantry

Parent Resource Guide

The Durango 9-R website has helpful information for parents and answers to frequently asked questions in its Parent Resource Guide. Parents can access the guide here.


The mission of the 9-R Transportation department is to provide students with safe and secure transportation to and from school in a friendly environment that enhances the total learning process. Within this section, you will find information about bus transportation services, both for school and field trips, as well as the Bus Student Code of Conduct. Additionally, there are some helpful tips for volunteers, students and guardians.

Transportation office hours are Tuesday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and 7:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. on Monday early release days.

Click here to visit our Transportation webpages.

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.