English Language Development

Durango School District 9-R ELD Program Overview

Our ELD instructional program builds on students’ diverse cultural strengths and background knowledge and leverages students’ home language(s) as an asset for learning throughout the day.
While we build on students’ multilingual assets, our instructional program is considered an “All-English” program.  Direct English language and literacy instruction is provided by certified ELD staff.  All eligible students receive daily literacy-based ELD instruction grounded in rich and meaningful language and text from across the content areas.  Our ELD programs are interactive and develop students’ proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing simultaneously.  ELD teachers use data to tailor instruction and set/monitor goals.  
As a school district, we value the role multilingual and multicultural families play in their child’s education.  We recognize how important it is for parents to continue using their primary language(s) at home to help students continue to develop language and literacy skills and background knowledge.  We strive to partner with families as we collaboratively support their child’s academic growth and success.

Identification Process:

If a student uses language(s) other than English in their home and community, we administer an English language proficiency screener when they enroll in Durango 9-R.  We use the WIDA Screener for K-12th grade students.  These assessments are used to determine a student’s English proficiency level in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  Based on the screening assessment, a student may qualify for and receive daily English language development (ELD) instruction from a teacher certified to teach English to multilingual learners.
For questions about eligibility for the district ELD program, please contact the District ELD Specialist at 970-247-5411.


During the months of January and February, all English language learners take a state assessment called ACCESS for ELLs®.  ACCESS is an English language proficiency test which allows us to monitor students’ English language acquisition progress on an annual basis. 
Each spring, parents receive a Parent/Guardian Report which shows their child’s results on ACCESS including their English language proficiency level and areas of strength.  At the school and district level we use ACCESS information for staffing and program decisions and to help provide the best ELD services for each student. 
For questions about eligibility for the district ELD program or about ACCESS testing, please the District ELD Specialist at (970) 247-5411.

ELD Staff:


Lauren Pietrack

    Animas Valley Elementary School

Katie Sands and Maria Miller

    Florida Mesa Elementary School

Maria Miller

    Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary

Jenny Christensen

    Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary

Mandy McKown and Jenny Christensen

    Needham Elementary School

Sue Krichman and Tillie Reed

    Park Elementary School

Darren Cioppa

    Riverview Elementary School


    Sunnyside Elementary School

Sarah Fischer

    Escalante Middle School

Deidre Hiles

     Miller Middle School

Dylan Netter

    Big Picture High School

Liz Dillman and Duncan Hubbs

    Durango High School

Maria Miller

     The Hub


    District English Language Development Specialist