New school staff members, including seven teachers, greeted students Tuesday, the first day of classes in Mancos.
Superintendent Brian Hanson was happy to report less turnover than last year, when the district hired 13 teachers. He attributed the change to proactive mentoring by lead teachers in all the schools.
"It helped dramatically," he said.
The middle and high school had almost full retention with the exception of Amy Morrison, the high school Spanish and drama teacher.
One of the lead teachers for the high school, Cathrine Prenot, said she worked to create an environment where the teachers were supported.
"They knew their work was valued," she said.
The lead teacher roles will be maintained, but they will be scaled back now that Adam Priestley has started as the middle and high school principal. She said the lead teachers would be focusing on professional development and would not have as many administrative duties.
The one role that the district did struggle to fill was the school nurse position, Hanson said.
A licensed practical nurse was hired to fill the role at the last minute. The district did not get any applicants when it advertised for an registered nurse. The lack of an attractive salary was identified at the July board meeting as the main problem.
At Monday night's school board meeting, Hanson said that an LPN would be able to complete all the duties of a registered nurse except signing off on the health care plans that go with an Individualized Education Program for special-education students.
Hanson said the LPN may be able to write the plans and have them approved by registered nurses in the Durango school district.