Durango Education Foundation


NEW! DEF invites “Help Wanted” postings by our 9-R educators!


Do you see a need for some occasional outside help in your classroom? Perhaps a guest lecturer? An essay reader? A tutor? Let DEF know. We’ll do our best to find a good match for your classroom need–we perform the introductions, you take it from there. Fill out our Google Help Wanted form and start the process rolling today.


This service is part of the DEF Fellows program, bringing community expertise together with our educators of excellence to enhance classrooms throughout 9-R.

Benefit education with Back to School at Durango Mall this month!


Now through August 27 at participating stores, shoppers who spend $50 or more “earn” a token to place in the Education Benefit box. Every token equals a donation made by Durango Mall management to D.E.F. Previous benefits have supported books, audio devices, and field trips. It costs the shoppers nothing to participate–and earns an A+ for education support!


Taking education beyond the basics…


DEF develops resources to promote achievement, innovation, and excellence throughout Durango School District 9-R.



Grants: So far in 2017, DEF has awarded more than $111,000 in grants to educators. Visit our Grants information page for more information.


Scholarships: Check out our scholarship opportunities. The deadline to apply for most is February 1. 


Recognition: DEF recognizes inspiring educators. Click here to learn more.


Alumni: DEF is proud to host the Durango High School Alumni Association (DHSAA).


Advocacy: DEF understands and articulates the issues facing public educators today. 


Engagement: DEF connects the community and educators to find creative solutions to today’s education challenges. 


Resource Development: DEF funds our programs through several revenue streams. The most important is individual donations–please include DEF in your charitable giving. Thank you. 



Our work is made possible by the generosity of many. Will you help us, too?


D.E.F. News Briefs

Nominees announced for 2017 Bank of Colorado Education Innovation Award
For the fifth consecutive year, the Bank of Colorado will be awarding their prestigious Education Innovation Award to recognize a fresh and effective program developed by an educator in Durango School District 9-R. The nominees for this year’s award were selected from among the applicants for the 2017-18 D.E.F. Core Grants Funding. The nominees are:


Animas and Florida Mesa Elementary Schools “Lab Class” Collaboration. Teachers Alison Layman and Kelly Duval intend to offer hands-on professional development opportunities to other teachers in the district, sharing with them skills they gained in a special professional development program they attended last year, which gave them tools for teaching thinking strategies to their students.


Durango High School STEM/STEAM Approaches. Science teacher Sabine Furtauer is breaking new ground, bringing engineering classes to high school students and teaching them how to apply abstract principles to practical challenges. Sabine plans to use robotics and other fresh approaches to engage students in a love for science that will lead to careers and lifetime exploration. Art teacher Roxie Mitchell is also bringing a fresh approach to STEM by adding the A, for art, with two programs to help students bridge the perceived gap between science and the arts.


Florida Mesa Science Library. Teacher Katie Sands is dedicated to engaging students’ interest in science at a very early age. The Colorado Common Standards call for an emphasis on non-fiction reading, writing and articulation, and Katie sees that a library filled with lively, relevant, and compelling materials suitable for all ages and reading abilities is the necessary first step in capturing the interest of the students.


Growing Great Brains Middle Schools Collaboration. Last year, two teachers at Miller and Escalante collaborated with teacher on special assignment, Hallie Whitney, on an innovative pilot program that invited students to explore the neurology of learning. The program won the 2016 Bank of Colorado Education Innovation Award. The team intends to break new ground this year by expanding the program’s reach to more teachers and different grade levels as well as delving deeper into the psychology and physiology of learning.


D.E.F. and the Bank of Colorado congratulate the nominees. The recipient will be announced at the Durango 9-R Convocation on August 18, in front of the entire faculty. D.E.F. is honored to facilitate this important award.


Matlock Furniture does it again
This spring, Blair and Walter Matlock once again staged a win-win-win fundraiser for education. Offering steep discounts on their excellent furniture in exchange for donations to education through D.E.F., the Matlocks’ customers contributed more than $5000 to the D.E.F. grants program which supports educators’ efforts to implement their fresh and compelling ideas in their classrooms. D.E.F. deeply appreciates the Matlocks’ help–it’s truly priceless.


News! Durango High School Alumni Association launching two awards this year
The DHS Alumni Association is proud to present two awards this year, one for the Distinguished Student and another for the Distinguished Alumnus. Both awards will be given annually. For each, recognition will include a place of honor on one of the DHSAA banners that will be installed on the school campus. The alumnus will receive a commemorative plaque; the student will receive a $1500 monetary award to be paid to the post-secondary school or program of choice. Both recipients will be honored at a banquet on August 5. Read more…


Durango High School now has an Alumni Association
A strong collaboration between Durango School District 9-R, DHS itself, DEF, and a group of dedicated volunteers has joined forces to launch the new Durango High School Alumni Association. Its mission is far more than a reunion connector; the organizers hope that association members will help young alumni with post-secondary school and career transitions, offer professional expertise to DHS teachers, and recognize alumni who are making a positive mark on the world and students who demonstrate integrity, passion, perseverance and charisma.


First order of business: Develop membership. We encourage all DHS alumni to register on the DHS Alumni Directory page to connect with friends and get the Association’s news. Next: The Association is raising money for a Distinguished Alumni Award and an award (to be named) for an outstanding student. You can donate to this cause on the DEF giving page–just note your intention for the gift in the Comments field box at the bottom of the page.


Connect in the classroom: Become a D.E.F. Fellow!
Today’s educators are expected to cover a daunting breadth of topics, so they welcome volunteers with focused expertise to provide classroom or program enrichment. The Durango Education Foundation Fellows program connects Durango School District 9-R educators with community members willing to share knowledge and time with students. Would you be one of them? Visit www.def-fellows.org and register to be a Fellow today.





Photos this page courtesy of Durango School District 9-R, Durango High School art students, Sunnyside Elementary yearbook staff (5th graders), and D.E.F.