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Early Access


House Bill 08-1021 created the opportunity for Colorado administrative units to accelerate highly advanced gifted children under age 5 for kindergarten and/or under age 6 for first grade. The Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) is Colorado’s primary law with requirements for the implementation of specific elements and procedures for gifted education programs. ECEA Rules provide AUs guidance for the implementation of Early Access.

Durango School District 9-R provides Early Access to those eligible students if their birthdays fall after October 1st.  Early Access is intended to support students who are evaluated to be exceptional in aptitude/cognitive reasoning, academics, school readiness and motivation. Early Access is not an acceleration pattern recommended for the majority of age 4 or age 5 gifted children who will benefit from preschool or kindergarten programming that responds to the strength area. The purpose of Early Access is to identify and serve the few highly advanced gifted children who require comprehensive academic acceleration. The decision to accelerate a child can have a profound effect on the child’s academic and social performance for the remainder of his/her school career. Therefore, Durango School District 9-R takes this step very seriously and uses a thorough set of research based procedures to determine if a child is eligible for Early Access.

Early Access Timeline

  • Application packets are made available for parents for either pick up at the Durango School District Administration Building, 201 East 12th Street, by mailing to your home address, or sending by email to you—February 1
  • Complete applications and screening portfolios are due—April 1. (Applications after April 1st will only be accepted under unusual circumstances, i.e., a family moving to our area after the deadline but before school starting)
  • Portfolios will be evaluated by the Early Access Team to see if further testing is warranted
  • Administration of assessments
  • Determination letters are sent within 60 calendar days of application and no later than June 1
  • Parents may appeal the decision by asking for reconsideration of the results of any part of the identification process by submitting a letter to the Executive Director of Students Support Services outlining the nature of the concern and with supporting documentation attached. The parent must provide evidence that the child's knowledge, skills, and abilities are superior to those demonstrated and measured by school personnel. Testing from an outside source will be considered, but Durango School District 9-R is not responsible for any costs incurred if a parent chooses to obtain information this way. The Executive Director will issue a written final decision within 30 days of the appeal.
  • An Advanced Learning Plan is created by September 30 and progress is monitored every 5 weeks throughout the first year of Early Access


For further information or application assistance, please call Jennifer Baufield, the Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs at 247-5411, ext. 1468 or Erin Henthorn, Administrative Assistant at ext.1461.