The Durango Education Foundation develops resources to promote life-changing learning opportunities for students in Durango School District 9-R regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic situation.
Founded by a family as a single memorial scholarship in 1984, the Durango Education Foundation has evolved into an organization that engages all aspects of academic education in Durango School District 9-R. Wholly independent of the school district, DEF is nonetheless a pro-active partner, seeking out needs and creative possibilities, and finding resources to further encourage excellent opportunities for the district's students.
In 2013, the DEF Board of Trustees revisited the foundation's goals and strategies, and opted to move to full-time salaried management, with an ambitious plan to increase public awareness of the foundation's work and the needs of 9-R's schools. The board recognized the potential value of investing reserves to accomplish this. We continue to follow that strategy today, and since 2013, the foundation has more than doubled its financial support for Durango 9-R classrooms and students.
"We saw substantial academic and personal growth in our students from this program funded by D.E.F. Many students began the unit with racially-charged biases about the current Central American immigration crisis in the United States. Through the objective presentation of information that placed a human face and story on an "issue," student conversations evolved from judgment into wanting to know more, and then discussion of action…This understanding is a life lesson that will serve them in every interaction or endeavor in which they partake." - Destiny Schipman Eldridge, teacher, Miller Middle School
"Having age-appropriate, safe, curriculum-related digital content for elementary students to access on digital devices is a critical component of Sunnyside's vision for 1:1 computer access. The 5th graders as a whole grew 1 ½ years in reading during 2013-14. We suspect that… being able to access eBooks and other digital resources regularly on laptops for reading, research, and writing contributed to student engagement and may have contributed to the academic growth… Sunnyside would not be the 'almost' digital school that it is today without the generous support of DEF." - LaRae Dotson, teacher, Sunnyside Elementary School
'This Core Grant purchased Michael Clay Thompson's Search Trilogy for 6th grade Language Arts students… The approach of using classic literature in meeting the Common Core Standards and Colorado State Standards has proven to provide rich vocabulary, universal themes, in-depth literary analysis, and rich expository and narrative topics in student writing, as well as a large amount of rigor for every student… I would not have been able to purchase these novels without the help of DEF in today's atmosphere of budgetary cuts and restraints.' - Duane Tucker, teacher, Escalante Middle School
'My favorite way of using [the iPad that DEF provided] was videoing students in their different environments. After videoing, the students could watch themselves and they would be motivated to act in the appropriate way [and] they would have more success with their behavior. The school's Resource room wouldn't have been the same this year without the iPad. Thank you so much for your dedication in leading the community to prepare our students to be 21st century learners.' - Jill Darland, interventionist, Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School