We are considering a move to Durango, CO, probably some time in the next 6 months, once we get our house on the market and sell it. Home sales are doing very well here, so we believe we can sell quickl. We have a business that allows us to live almost anywhere, so work is not an issue. My biggest concern with the move is schools. Our kids are going into 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades this year. We live in the mountains of North Central AZ, and they attend a charter school with a Multiple Intelligences approach. They love their school, and so do we. It's small, around 200 students total, with excellent, caring teachers and a great curriculum, with lots of art and music, lots of project-based learning and family involvement. The school goes through 8th grade.
I read a few reviews of Durango schools on GreatSchools.org, and reading about the middle school in particular kind of freaked me out. Reviews mention violence and other issue. I know this is only a few reviews, but still...The elementary schools seem to be pretty highly rated, but again, the reviews are limited. We want to move to a town with a more liberal attitude, and we love Colorado for many reasons, but I don't want my kids to be unhappy in school. I did notice online that there is a new charter middle school in Durango, opening this year, which is encouraging, and a newer high school, Big Picture, which seems interesting and promising. We've also considered homeschooling for high school and would probably homeschool for middle school if our son is unhappy. He's a new and promising mandolin player, and if he gets really into playing we'd homeschool to allow him more practice hours each day.
We love a lot of things about where we live. Our family is about 1.5 hours away, great school, good friends. We want to move because we want to be part of a community that cares on a larger scale (here it's a very small minority) about sustainability and related concerns. The city council here is a group of very conservative old farts, who care little about the arts, water concerns (a very serious issue in our area), and sustainability. When I read about Durango's mayor and city council, its plans to improve as a bike friendly city, public transportation, and citizen involvement in these areas, it seems like such an improvement over our own area. We have no public transportation, for instance, and we are not bike friendly. My fears/concerns all come down to schools
I would love to hear about any experiences, positive or negative, that any Durango families have had with area schools. A large part of me feels like this move is meant to be. We've been wanting to leave our area for years and haven't ever quite found the right place to move to, but Durango feels right. If anyone has made it this far in my long post, please share! Also, anything else you have to say about Durango, fire away!
i didn't have a child while living in durango. but i know a bunch of people who homeschool and the community is generally very family-friendly. hope someone else here has more info and details about the school.
i loved living in durango. enjoy your move!
There are hsers in Durango but not as many as you think there would be and the only active hsing group is a christian one. You do have to sign a mission statement to be involved with them. I have no idea how many pre-teens/teens they have. The public schools aren't bad, I personally don't use them right now but my oldest has some needs that are better taken care in a private school. There are the two public middle schools in town, all children in the county (except Bayfield) are bused into those. Both my DH and I personally went to public middle and high school here and I know numerous families whose children currently attend the middle schools. Would I be afraid of violence? No. Does it happen? I'm sure it does, we are talking about pre-teens to teenagers. Durango isn't an intercity school though!
The new charter middle school is Mountain Middle, just opening up this fall. It already went to a lottery for it's first year so it certainly has interest. It is based off the High Tech High model as well as Animas High School which is the only other independent charter school in the area. I think this will be Animas's 3rd year. Middle Middle and Animas while they are based off the same model have different directors/boards. Once upon a time, the rumor was if you got into Mountain then you could go onto Animas without having to go through lottery again but I actually just did some research on that and I while I didn't get an official response, I don't think that is the case. Or maybe since Mountain is so new, no one knows yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because from what I have heard from families that attend Animas, I am quite excited about Mountain Middle, and will be watching is very closely for my own children. The Big Picture High School is run by the school district, 9-R. I'll be honest, all of the other charter schools 9-R has tried to do over the years have failed. That space has been a revolving door of 9-R charter schools ever since the mid 90's. And this one was put together last minute when they saw what an interest Animas had in the community. I don't know a single family that goes there so I can't comment any more then that.
ETA: Katzin Music would be your best bet to start looking for lessons, they have the largest amount of offerings and teachers.
Apologies for my late reply to your kind replies. Life has been crazy around here, to say the least.
After much deliberation and soul-searching, we have decided to stay where we are for the time being. We thought about how much school is a part of our kids' lives and our lives, as well as family (most of our family is within 1.5 hours of us), and we realized that these things matter a whole lot, enough to stay despite what we don't like about the are in which we live. We're working on selling our house and finding something larger and closer to friends in school, a change that will lead to a definite lifestyle improvement.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond. Your replies did help in our decision making!