Skip to content

Sunnyside Elementary Receives Honors

DURANGO, CO – March 21, 2011 --- Dr. Keith Owen, Superintendent of Schools for Durango School District 9-R, announced that the Colorado Department of Education (“CDE”) has named Sunnyside Elementary as a winner of the 2010 John Irwin School of Excellence Award for Outstanding Academic Performance. 

Each year, the CDE recognizes public schools that have demonstrated the highest achievement on statewide assessments.  This award program was initially established in 2000, and the Education Accountability Act of 2009 established slightly new criteria for the award, directing that the award should be given to those schools with the highest achievement levels as determined by the state’s School Performance Framework. This award is given to the top 8 percent of public schools in the state, based on student achievement.  Sunnyside was the only school in the Southwest Region (consisting of twenty-three school districts) to receive this honor. 

 In addition to receiving the 2010 John Irwin School of Excellence Award, Sunnyside has also been recognized by CDE as being one of the top ten Effective Title 1 Schools in the State of Colorado. 

Title 1 was established by the U.S. Department of Education and is the nation’s oldest and largest federally funded program.  Annually, it provides over $7 billion to school systems across the country for students at risk of failure and living at or near poverty.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose of Title 1 funding is “to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments.”  For a school to qualify for Title 1 funds, at least 40% of the students must be eligible for, and be enrolled in, the free and reduced lunch program.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by the state for our performance,” said Ms. Kloepfer.  “Our staff, students, and parents work together to reach high standards for students.   It’s wonderful to be acknowledged for our efforts.  With our Title 1 recognition, Sunnyside will now be eligible to receive a $50K grant that will allow us to share strategies with other schools in the state.”

# # #

If you’d like more information about this topic, please contact Marty Kay Hutton in the 9-R Communications Office at 970-247-5411, ext. 1400 or at

District at a Glance

  • Students: approx 4,500
  • Teachers: 294
    • 12 Years Avg Experience
    • 61% with Master's Degree
  • Support Staff: 193
  • Schools:
    • 7 Elementary Schools
    • 2 Middle Schools
    • 2 High Schools
    • Area Served: 1,039 sq miles

Our Mission

The mission of Durango School District 9-R, an innovative educational system committed to excellence, is to ensure each student develops the skills and attributes for lifelong learning and has the ability to compete and contribute in the global community, by guaranteeing equitable educational opportunities in a safe and healthy environment.

Sponsors and Partners