Durango School District 9-R is located in western La Plata County in Southwest Colorado. Its seven elementary schools, two middle schools and two comprehensive high schools serve approximately 4,300 students. Like most districts in the State of Colorado, Durango continues to struggle with achievement gaps for students who are low-income, of color, and/or have special education needs.
Last year, Durango engaged teachers from all grade levels and content areas in an initiative to develop authentic, performance-based assessments that teachers can embed in their instruction to adequately track student mastery and guide instruction on a daily basis. By receiving immediate data feedback, teachers can adjust their instruction to ensure all students are learning and immediately support students who are struggling.
The district, working with programmers from Foraker Labs in Boulder, built and designed a tool called “SchoolVault“ to support teachers in this work. This cloud-based application was designed with teacher input and provides necessary tools in an easy to access system. So far, over 1,000 educators from around the state have provided input. There are over 10,000 questions for Kindergarten through 12th grade that align with the rigor and depth of knowledge needed to meet the Colorado Academic Standards. SchoolVault provides an ongoing record of student performance to help guide the needed evaluation and analysis of student outcomes.
The district has invested, along with neighboring districts and community donors, over $1 million thus far in the development of the tool. Future phases of SchoolVault will include features that allow maximum benefit to students and increase access to critical performance data for parents.