Welcome to Telluride School District R-1
"Through quality education, our students will achieve personal success." 

If you would like to volunteer for the Telluride School District we would love to have you.

Click on the link below for our current volunteer needs:


We request 4 small commitments to be considered for our Volunteer Vaccine List. The CPHD has approved our volunteers as eligible for a Covid vaccination. In addition to the sign up spreadsheet, please email ML Chambers:  mlchambers@telluride.k12.co.us to be sure we have all your contact information.

Thank you for your support of our schools!

Si desea ser voluntario del Distrito Escolar de Telluride, nos encantaría contar con usted.

Haga clic en el enlace a continuación para conocer nuestras necesidades de voluntariado actuales:


Solicitamos 4 pequeños compromisos para ser considerados para nuestra Lista de Vacunas para Voluntarios. El CPHD ha aprobado a nuestros voluntarios como elegibles para una vacuna Covid. Además de la hoja de cálculo de registro, envíe un correo electrónico a ML Chambers:mlchambers@telluride.k12.co.us para asegurarse de que tengamos toda su información de contacto.

¡Gracias por su apoyo a nuestras escuelas!


haga clic aquí para la carta en español

February 28, 2021

Dear TSD Families,

It is hard to believe that we are already through February.  It was exactly on year ago that I left Telluride to return to Vermont after spending a week here interviewing, and accepted the offer for the Superintendent’s position.  While it has been a different year than I expected in so many ways, I have zero regrets. I am thrilled to be here, I am proud of what we have accomplished under trying circumstances, and I am excited for what the future offers for opportunities. 

This will be a long message, as I want to touch on many things related to our continued transition to lower metrics, and look ahead to the spring and beyond.  Additionally, I will not include all of the data charts I have shared for the past several weeks, but anticipate after this week they will be available on our website and linked in my communications.

Our plan for this week:

  • Grades K-6 will remain in-person.
  • Grades 7-8 will continue in hybrid, with more students having the opportunity to be in four days every week.
  • Grades 9-12 will have Gold (and High Priority) students in M, T, Th, F, with more students qualifying to attend both weeks.
  • We will again start this week with no classes in quarantine (unless something changes tonight).
  • For this week’s student COVID test schedule go to: http://tellurideschool.org/covid-19.
  • We appreciate your continued flexibility should any unforeseen circumstances occur.

Each Principal will continue to provide operation details for their building.  Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

We continue to demonstrate that we can operate safely, and as the numbers in the county continue to decrease we will look at how we can get more students into TMS and THS.  Last week was our biggest week to date for testing.  We tested over 400 students and staff with ZERO positives, although we did learn of two students who tested positive with the county outside of our testing.  There is currently a lot of discussion across the county regarding the 6-foot recommendation from the CDC, how that differs from the World Health Organization recommendation of 1 meter, and how a lot of schools have operated successfully with less than 6-foot distancing at all times.  This is something we will explore in the upcoming weeks as our staff move toward “fully protected” status two weeks after their second vaccine shot.  With all of that said, I want to acknowledge that we will still have students at all grade levels who will learn 100% remotely for various reasons.

The Telluride Education Foundation continues to support our staff, students, and families in this most unique year.  This Thursday at 5:30pm. TEF is offering “Pandemic Parenting: Helping our Kids Thrive in Their Digital World”, with author Devorah Heitner.  For more information and to register, go to: https://tellurideeducation.org/event/pandemic-parenting/.

As you may have heard, the discussion regarding standardized testing is still ongoing at the federal and state level.  The Biden Administration announced last week they will not accept blanket waivers from states to “pause” testing, but will allow some limited flexibility to states in test administration.  The Colorado legislature is currently considering a bill related to CMAS testing, and that bill now needs to be modified at some level in response to the recent announcement from the feds.  CMAS (Colorado Measure of Academic Success) is our state accountability assessment administered to students in grades 3 through high school.  While several things are still unclear, here is at least some of what is clear (or somewhat clear) at this point:

  • The test window is coming up fast!  We would normally start testing in mid-March and are still preparing to begin on March 22 if necessary, although the test window end date has been extended, allowing us to delay if we decide to.
  • The feds and the state may not come to any final decision until the very last minute.
  • Standardized test data is in general valuable for many reasons, and this is a year we certainly want to know how our students are doing, but the issues associated with testing this year leave many questions about how valid the data would be from testing.
  • The state is currently saying it will NOT be set up to test students remotely.  While the state is saying remote students can be given the option to come test in-person, there are many questions about safety and capacity issues related to this across the state.
  • CMAS administration is a huge effort, and in a normal year it disrupts the flow of student learning in the spring.  In a year where student learning has already been challenged by remote learning, hybrid learning, quarantines, and other safety protocols, many are arguing the time would better be spend on instruction rather than standardized testing.
  • While some other districts have struggled with participation in CMAS, we have worked really hard in this district to foster positive test participation, as the results impact our accountability ratings.  We do not want to lose this momentum.
  • Districts have been explicitly directed by the state to not encourage families to op-out of CMAS participation.

I hope you can see how complicated this issue is.  We will keep you updated as we get more information.

We are beginning to plan for summer programming.  This may look similar or different to the programs we have provided in the past for students.  We have all been hearing a lot about the “COVID slide”, but do not want to operate from a deficit mindset.  We want to think about what we can do that best meets the needs of our students academically and socially after this most unusual year.  This could look like a three to five-week program soon after this school year ends or soon before next year begins.  There are again many unknowns here that we are working to figure out, and we know summer planning is underway for everyone, so we will continue to keep you posted as things develop.

The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and Colorado Association of Ski Towns has commissioned a study covering six Colorado mountain counties, including San Miguel County. The purpose of the study is to help answer the question "Is the COVID-migration here to stay and, if so, how will housing and services be impacted?” As part of the study, an online survey of long-time, new, and part-time residents will be conducted to understand their plans and priorities. This research will help communities understand and plan for service and infrastructure needs.  Look for a separate email with a link to the 10-minute survey in the coming days.

We have heard questions and concerns regarding the TMHS volunteers and vaccination.  We have put out requests throughout the year for volunteers as we have needed them.  As we have ramped up the number of students in the building, and ramped up extra-curriculars, we have needed more volunteers recently.  A few weeks ago, San Miguel County Public Health informed us that school volunteers qualified for vaccination under the current phase, so we let our volunteers know and provided contact info to SMCPH.  In no way was there any intention on our part to use vaccination as a “carrot” for volunteers.  We needed volunteers, and volunteers qualify for vaccination; those are simply two connected facts.  We put a minimum on the number of “shifts” required to volunteer, because it takes work on our part to get volunteers up to speed.  If you are interested in signing up to volunteer, please use the link below: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1IadfXW9YUIfJ2nXb1RCL0XvpluEb4Uk4g1suSfKY1kw/edit?usp=sharing

A huge THANK YOU to all of those who have volunteered since the beginning of the year.  This has helped us operate as safely as we have!

As we bring more students into school, our bus ridership is also increasing.  I want to make sure everyone understands the details around this.  We started the year with a limit of one student per seat (with the exception that siblings could sit together in a seat) in alternating rows with an empty row between each occupied seat.  This meant our buses with a normal capacity for 84 students was limited to 14-18 students per bus.  This was a more conservative approach than state and federal requirements dictated, but not knowing what we know now we erred on the side of caution.  As our bus ridership has increased, we have been filling in the empty “in-between” rows with additional students and will continue to do this.  We will stay within all state and federal requirements in doing this.  To date our most “crowded” routes have increased to approximately 30 students on the busiest days, which is still less than 40% of normal capacity.  Please reach out with any questions or concerns you night have about this.

Based on feedback I have heard, I wanted to clarify the difference between requirements for EXPOSURE versus SYMPTOMS. 

  • If anyone in a household is SYMPTOMATIC, all household members should stay home until either:
    • (1) the symptoms clear within 24 hours (fever, new or worsening cough, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) or 48 hours (sore throat, runny nose or congestion, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea); or
    • (2) the symptomatic household member gets a negative COVID test if symptoms did not clear within the times above.
    • If the symptom is new loss of taste or smell, then the symptomatic individual is presumed positive and all household members should quarantine.
  • If someone in the household is EXPOSED and therefore defined as a close contact but NOT symptomatic, household members are no longer required to stay home (although they certainly can as a measure of extra caution).

Metrics and Operation Status:

Our latest district testing data is shown below:




Total District Positivity Rate


Staff Positive

Staff Total

Staff %

Student Positive

Student Total

Student %

Jan 4








Jan 11








Jan 18








Jan 25








Feb 1








Feb 8








Feb 15








Feb 22








Since we have had no new quarantines in two weeks I am leaving that table out of this week’s communication.

Below is a revised list of staff and students who we know have been positive, updated with new cases from this week as well as with more information we found out about past cases:


Total Known Positives













  I attended a training this weekend with several of our staff members, offered by Tri-County Health Network and titled “Youth Mental Health First Aid”.  Many of our staff have taken this training previously, and the training will be offered again in a few weeks for more staff members.  While the course touched on some extremely sensitive topics such as suicide, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse, I was inspired both by what our staff bring to the table in terms of their commitment and collective wisdom, and by the expert facilitation provided by TCHN.  This is not easy stuff, but it is so important to the work that we do.  I learned, among other things, that the average age for onset of anxiety disorders is 7 years old.  Inside or outside a pandemic, attending to our children’s mental is critical to the education we provide.  I say not from a place of negativity but from a place of recognition, hope, and commitment.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools and our efforts this year.  Please continue to help our community move in the right direction by staying safe and healthy and following The 5 Commitments.

Please go to 
About TSD --> Superintendent  for previous communication from Superintendent John Pandolfo.


John Pandolfo

100 Day Entry Plan - February 2020

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