School Districts

School Districts

The Durango 9-R School District is the primary education system for La Plata County. Bayfield and Ignacio also have their own school districts. 


Durango 9-R

Durango 9-R is a public school system covering western La Plata County all the way to just in between Durango and Bayfield. Their mission is “an innovative education system committed to excellence”. Durango 9-R offers eight elementary schools - including one charter, two middle schools, and one high school. Elementary enrollment is determined by home address location.  Middle school is divided by elementary feeder school, and all schools lead to Durango High School or Animas High School.


Elementary Schools

Elementary Schools accommodate kindergarten through 5th grade and some offer a pre-kindergarten program. Park, Needham, and Riverview Elementary Schools are all located inside Durango city limits and include all intown neighborhoods such as Rockridge, Crestview, Needham, West Avenues, Ella Vita, Animas City, Riverview, Hillcrest, Skyridge, the Grid, and So. Co. Animas Valley serves neighborhoods north of 37th Street and all the way north to the county line. Florida Mesa is located on the east side of Durango, primarily serving the Three Springs neighborhood and county roads off of Highway 160 east and Highway 172. Sunnyside is in the southern part of the county, covering Highway 550 south to the stateline. Fort Lewis Mesa serves the west side of the county including Hesperus and homes along Highway 140. The Juniper School is a public charter school and part of Durango 9-R. This school is designed to offer smaller class sizes and a creative learning environment. They serve students from kindergarten through 8th grade.


Middle Schools

In Durango, there are two public middle schools, Miller and Escalante, both serving grades 6-8. Park, Fort Lewis Mesa, Sunnyside, and Florida Mesa elementary schools are all feeder schools for Escalante Middle School. Animas Valley, Needham, and Riverview all feed into Miller Middle School. Both schools have sizable facilities to cater to the union of kids from the different elementary schools. Competitive team sports including basketball, football, volleyball, track & field, and wrestling are available.


High School

Students from both Escalante and Miller Middle Schools feed into Durango High School. From grades 9-12, students have room to grow and engage in many subjects as well as extracurricular activities. Sports teams include all those offered in middle school with the additions of soccer, lacrosse, hockey, alpine & cross country skiing, swim & diving, cheer, dance, softball, baseball, golf, mountain biking, and tennis. Theater, decathlons, student council, yearbook, and many more clubs are also available.


Durango Big Picture High School is an alternative option featuring a different learning environment, similar to charter schools. Big Picture is part of 110+ nationwide Big Picture schools which aim towards more personalized learning with advisor-based relationships and curriculum designed around student interest and real world applications.


Homeschool and shared schooling options are available through Durango 9-R, Shared Schooling and Colorado Connections Academy @ Durango. Collaboration between schools and parents aim to round out the learning experience of all grade levels.


Public Charters

Mountain Middle School (grades 6-8) and Animas High School (grades 9-12) are both public charter schools, but they are not a part of Durango 9-R. All students can enter their random lottery, which limits the class sizes to better personalize each student's learning course. The foundation for both schools is a project-based learning style. They aim towards real-world readiness for their students and encourage out-of-the-box and creative thinking. Their calendar closely follows Durango 9-R’s.



Private schools in Durango offer specialized learning experiences. The Liberty School serves grades 1-8 with very small classes allowing each student the opportunity to grow. They focus specifically on dyslexic and gifted students to better attend to their learning needs. Durango Montessori is designed to teach kids from preschool through fifth grade in emotional, social, and intellectual ways. Specially designed learning material helps fuel students' learning and growth in this unique environment. A Catholic based school, St. Columba offers classes for grades pre-k through 8th. They are taught leadership and confidence with many extracurriculars to explore. 


Bayfield & Ignacio School Districts 

The town of Bayfield, CO has its own Bayfield School District which includes the elementary (grades K-2), middle (grades 3-5), intermediate (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12). The Ignacio School District located in Ignacio, CO also offers elementary, middle, and high school learning. 



Durango is home to Fort Lewis College, a four-year, public, liberal arts college. The beautiful campus overlooks Durango and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. While they offer many degrees, programs, and extracurricular clubs and activities, their engineering, chemistry, business administration, and music programs are well known. 


Pueblo Community College is based in Pueblo, CO, with locations in Canon City, Mancos, Bayfield, and Durango. Their affordable tuition helps many students earn transferable credits towards a Bachelor’s degree, and also provides many vocational classes. Both Fort Lewis College and Pueblo Community College offer concurrent enrollment for high school students in Durango.


We know that choosing a new home location incorporates many factors which may include school districts; we hope this information is helpful in guiding you towards the district/schools that best fit your students’ needs. Please do not hesitate to contact Max or Deven for more La Plata County school information.

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