After a year of discussing and drafting a strategic plan, Durango School District 9-R is now working to implement
District administrators hosted a forum Thursday night at Miller Middle School to update the community about the
strategic plan's progress. While some of the seven strategies to emerge from the plan are somewhat abstract, others,like technological upgrades, show concrete progress.
Internet bandwidth at 9-R's secondary schools has leapt from 8 to 25 megabits per second, said James Torres, executive
director of educational technology.
Torres and his staff recently installed five new computers in every fifth-grade classroom. They are working to reduce
the district's ratio of 3.63 students per computer.
Upgrades to the district's Web site are in progress, Torres said. Community members, he said, told us the Web site was
not user-friendly and was ugly."
Schools are beginning to use Moodle, an open-source software program that helps teachers, students and parents keep
track of coursework, Torres said.
The district's strategic plan was drafted with the involvement of dozens of community members during the 2008-09 school
year. It was a major initiative of Superintendent Keith Owen's first year leading 9-R.
Work on a strategy connected to curriculum and student assessments is moving toward adopting an International
Baccalaureate program at Florida Mesa and Needham elementary schools, said Sandra Berman-LaFrance, executive director
of student achievement. The program is based in Geneva and is an internationally recognized advanced study program.
The district will send a team of teachers and administrators to Albuquerque in March for training in the International
Baccalaureate curriculum, Berman-LaFrance said. The schools will apply for authorization as International Baccalaureate
programs in October 2011, she said.
Among other strategies, 9-R is also working to improve communication. Principals are being trained when to use, and not
use, the district's Alert Now emergency phone system. The system last was used Dec. 16 to alert parents of a bomb
threat that turned out to be a hoax.
A mix of about 60 community members and 9-R employees attended the forum.
Richard Fulton, a Fort Lewis College professor who served on the strategic plan's core planning team, said it was
encouraging to see.
I'm impressed that they're following up on it," he said.