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FAQs for Educators

Where do I start?

Become a “member” of our program. As a Durango 9-R educator, you have an open invitation to connect with community members who offer volunteer enrichment for your classroom or co-curricular program. Sign in with your 9-R email address, and enjoy unlimited access to our Fellows directory, which offers a variety of search options. Find the help you need, contact the Fellow directly via email, and take it from there. provides the referral; it is up to you and the Fellow to make all arrangements.

Why must I use my Durango 9-R email address?

The Durango Education Foundation’s mission is to serve the educators and students within Durango School District 9-R. The DEF-Fellows program is meant to help educators within the 9-R district; we limit access by filtering registrants via email domain. For more about the Durango Education Foundation’s work, please visit, our home website.

What does a Fellow need to know when I first contact them?

In your initial contact by email, please identify yourself by providing your name, school and additional contact info including your phone number.  Let the Fellow know what you teach and the grade level(s) your reach.  Explain the reason you’re interested in engaging help (e.g. classroom presenter, advisor to a project, tutor, provide expertise to teacher, etc.) and give a brief description of the specific topic/skill you want the Fellow to address. Please explain to the Fellow what you want your students to learn from his or her contribution. You and the Fellow may want to schedule a meeting either in person or by phone to develop plans further together. The Fellow may want to see your classroom set-up in advance.

What questions should I be prepared to get from a Fellow?

A Fellow will want to know how much of his or her time will be involved and what you expect from him or her. The Fellow might ask what classroom tools you have available, i.e. projector, internet access, etc.

Do I need to tell a Fellow anything about my students?              

Yes. It is important to explain the comprehension level of your students and the degree to which they have already studied the topic. Give the Fellow some examples of the type of questions the students might ask.

What arrangements do I need to make with the Fellow?

Schedule the visit(s) with the Fellow and let your school office know about it. Make sure your Fellow has the appropriate security clearances (see below). Be sure the Fellow knows where your school is located and where in the school you are located. Let them know they must sign in at the school office before coming to your classroom. If the Fellow plans to bring any items with him to show or demonstrate, find out what those items are and clear that with your school ahead of the visit.

Who is responsible for ensuring that the Fellow has appropriate security clearances?

You are.  Please consult the page on school district policies. If you need to obtain a background check of a Fellow before he can participate, please consult with the school district and DEF about how to cover the cost. Be sure to allow enough time for all clearances to be completed before the Fellow’s participation in your program begins.

Do I need to do anything for the Fellow after they have finished?

Yes – thank them! They are community volunteers who are giving up their time and effort without compensation, to help you and your students. Better yet – ask your students to thank them!

Is there anything else I should do?

Let DEF know about your experience. Take our evaluation survey.

FAQs for Fellows

Where do I start?

Become a “member” of our program. Register with your name and email address. You will receive an email confirmation that invites you to fill in your profile. Once your profile is completed, it will go live and any educator in Durango 9-R will be able to find you. You can update or delete your profile any time.

The educator will email you with basic information and a request to discuss his or her ideas for your participation. You both take it from there. provides the referral; it’s up to you and the educator to make the arrangements for your participation.

What if I have more than one area of expertise to share?

Once you have completed one Fellows directory listing, you can choose “Submit a Listing” in a different field of knowledge or a different type of help category (or any combination). Submitting more than one listing will make searching easier for the educators.

How will an Educator contact me?

The first contact will be an email from the educator.  He or she should provide information about what and where they work, as well as a phone number. How you subsequently communicate is up to you and the educator to decide.

What do I need to know about what is being asked of me?

The educator should explain why he or she is contacting you and how your skill or expertise will may be useful to their students.   Be aware that teachers are bound by a curriculum that they must follow.  Thus, they may need only specific items to be addressed by you.

How much of my time will be involved?

That depends on what you are being asked to do.  It could involve a trip to the school for a half-hour presentation or advising a school project over an entire semester.  Be sure you and the educator are clear about how much time you can afford to volunteer.

Will I receive compensation?

The Fellows program is volunteer-driven. We thank our generous community volunteers who are willing to devote time, energy, and expertise to enhancing education for our district’s students.

Is there anything I need to know about the students I will be assisting? 

Yes – please discuss your students’ comprehension level with the educator and prepare to align your presentation appropriately.  The educator should guide you on this as you and he or she map out your plans ahead of time.  You can help yourself with this by asking questions of the students about what they know about your skill or area of expertise before you get started.

Is there anything I should let the educator know before my involvement?

Yes –

  • Any impediments which require accommodation.
  • Any requirements you might have for equipment, tools, or services, such as projector, internet connection, copies of documents, etc. It’s a good idea to talk with the educator ahead of time about how you envision setting up the room for your participation. Many classrooms in 9-R are not set-up in the more traditional rows of desks.
  • Any items you are bringing into the school for demonstrations and any special requirements such as 220 power, darkened room, etc.
  • Any time limitations you have.

Does the Durango School District have any requirements of which I should be aware?

Yes.  You will need to sign in with the office of any public school before you go to a classroom, lab or other place in the school.  The educator should notify the office ahead of your visits.

Familiarize yourself with 9-R school district security requirements; the educator should let you know what level of security your particular participation will require, but it’s always wise to check ahead of time. For demonstrations or talks in the classroom under direct teacher supervision, all that is needed is the building principal’s permission, which it is up to the educator to obtain. In some situations, the District will need to obtain a background and/or fingerprint check; please cooperate with the District if that is necessary.  The cost of the background check will be covered by either the District or DEF, but of course, we welcome you to donate to cover the usually modest expense.

Is there anything else I should do?

Let DEF know about your experience. Take our evaluation survey.

Tell your friends and peers about the program and encourage them to share their valuable knowledge with our eager students.

Why is this program exclusive to Durango School District 9-R?

The Durango Education Foundation’s mission is to serve the educators and students within Durango School District 9-R. For more about the Durango Education Foundation’s work, please visit