School News

ISD 709 News

posted Jun 30, 2015, 3:58 PM by Communications ISD 709

ISD 709 DSACF 2015 Scholarship Recipients

   The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation Board of Trustees recently announced the 2015 Scholarship recipients which include a large number of ISD 709 students.

   “These young adults are the future leaders of our community and we’re proud to be a partner in their success, ”  said Holly C. Sampson, President of the Community Foundation.

    Scholarship winners include, but are not limited to:

·         Paul Antonich Scholarship:  Caleb Achartz (Duluth East HS)

·         Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Scholarship:  Jasmine Fuller (Denfeld HS)

·         Duluth Central High School Alumni Scholarship:  Kyle Ozan (Denfeld HS)

·         Duluth Central Sports Association Legacy Scholarship: Jake DeCaro, Lucille Billings (Denfeld HS)  

·         Gernander Scholarship:  Jacob DeCaro (Denfeld HS)

·         Jeanne H. Hemmingway Scholarships:  Skylar Sarvela (Denfeld HS),  Steven Zakrajsek and Brittney Kaarbo (Duluth East HS)

·         Gus & Henrietta Hill Scholarship:  Nicholas Cortes (Duluth East HS)

·         Greg Irons Award Scholarships:  Meaghan O’Connor (Denfeld HS),  Danielle Sauve (Duluth East HS)

·         Cory Jam Memorial Award:  Kristine Bock (Duluth East HS)   

·         Minnesota Power Community Involvement Scholarship:  Meaghan O'Connor (Denfeld HS), Catherine Posch (Duluth East HS). Sydney Stock (Duluth East HS)

·         Emile H. Mathis II Scholarship:  Emily Todd (Duluth East HS)

·         Daniel H & Catherine L Mundt Scholarship:  Janelle Bushey (Denfeld HS)

·         Amelia and Emanuel Nessell Family Scholarship:  Ella Brown (Duluth East HS)

·         Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award:  Nalani Harris (Denfeld HS)

·         Jack and Mary Rowe Memorial Scholarship:  Elizabeth Bergh (Denfeld HS)

·         Kenneth and Concetta Schoen Scholarship:  Devin Wagner (Duluth East HS)

·         Walter & Anna Soneson Scholarship:  Samuel Johnson, Bethani Gregg (Duluth East HS)

·         Robert B. & Sophia Whiteside Scholarships:  (Denfeld HS) Lucille Billings, Rebekah Lepak, Maria Puglisi, Kathryn Rudd; (Duluth East HS) Anna Ambrosi , Karl Badger, Sydney Stock, Yuqi Chen, Ji-Won Choi, Alyssa Everson,  Henry French, Lisa Hilliard, Devin Johnson, Sarah Baker, Derick Rossell, Sydney Nelson, Dylan Paulson,  Timothy Renier, Matthew Sandbulte, Justin Taylor, Kier Zimmerman  

   The Community Foundation is a permanent community endowment, built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations. Guided by a 16-member Board of volunteer civic leaders, the Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations and to individuals for scholarships and provides leadership on important community initiatives in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1983, they have distributed over $47 million and currently hold over 360 different funds, each with its own charitable purpose.  

   Learn more at


Developers Withdraw From Central Property Purchase Agreement       

   ISD 709 officials announced today that they have received notification from Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors that terminates the purchase agreement for the Central High School property.

   According to ISD 709 officials, budget planning for the next school year did not include the sale of the Central property so the withdrawal will not require any budget adjustments. 

   “The property will go back on the market, “said Bill Hanson, Business Services Director for ISD 709.  “The real estate market is stronger now which may provide more opportunities for development.”

   In a letter to officials, (click here to access), Harbor Bay representatives stated that “the site provides a unique opportunity in Duluth to develop a truly “mixed-use” project that could include: for-sale housing, apartments, retail, office space, senior housing and hotel” and “we have received significant interest from each of these uses.”   

   The developer also stated that “the pre-development timeline is fairly extensive and costly” and “we estimate 18-24 months to complete necessary design, civil engineering, cost estimating and entitlements.” 

   Based on those and other findings, which are included in the letter, the developer indicated a need to re-evaluate the feasibility of the site and withdraw from the purchase agreement.


Lincoln Park Middle School administrators and students hosted a visit from Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy for Policy Jodi Greene and Senator Roger Reinert.  Ms. Greene is a native of Northfield, MN.  The visit included a tour of the school, discussion of the educational work being done at Lincoln Park, and an opportunity to meet representatives from Guys with Ties, a Lincoln Park student group emphasizing academics.  School Board Member Judy Seliga Punyko, Assistant Superintendent Ed Crawford, and Principal Brenda Vatthauer were among those accompanying Ms. Greene and Senator Reinert on the tour.


Volunteers Needed to Help Read Aloud To Kill a Mockingbird

   Barnes and Noble is looking for volunteers to help read aloud the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird at their Miller Hill Mall store on Monday July 13. Volunteers may sign up for shifts for the community read-a-thon, which begins at 9:00AM and ends at 9:00PM. Shifts are a half-hour each. The event is in preparation for July 14 release of Lee's novel Go Set a Watchman.

If you're interested in signing up for a shift to read aloud at the Barnes & Noble store, please email Shari at or call 218-786-0714.


Superintendent Joins “OVER THE EDGE” Event to Help Support Local YMCA Youth Programs

   People like Duluth Superintendent Bill Gronseth are going ‘over the edge’ for a great cause!  On July 8 & 9, OVER THE EDGE participants are rappelling 9 stories down the side of the Sellwood Building in downtown Duluth to help raise funds for local YMCA youth programs. 

   Through a donation to the OVER THE EDGE event, you can help area children receive memberships and go to camps; support quality after school programs; provide academic support and enrichment activities for youth and much more.  

   The donation process is fast, easy and secure.  Click here to help support YMCA Youth Programs.


Champions Building Champions Program

   Champions Building Champions is a program sponsored by Men as Peacemakers and the City of Duluth, Parks and Recreation. 

   Youth will participate in sports activities on the turf with collegiate athletes who will focus on building constructive relationships with the youth involved, while teaching the basics of sports and athletic games. This is a FREE opportunity for youth ages 7-17.

Wednesdays, 1pm - 3pm

June 24 - August 19, 2015

Duluth Heritage Sports Center, 120 S 30th Ave W

For details call Nathan at (218) 727-1939.


ISD 709 News

posted Jun 17, 2015, 11:44 AM by Communications ISD 709

Lincoln Park Middle School Receives State Recognition for Excellence in Behavioral Prevention Programs

   The Minnesota Department of Education recognized Lincoln Park Middle School for their successful work using Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS), a data-driven program that provides districts and individual schools throughout Minnesota with training and technical support to promote improvement in student behavior, especially for students with challenging social behaviors. 

   Lincoln Park is among 36 schools being recognized as "Sustaining Exemplar Schools," leaders in supporting positive behavior, improving school climate and increasing student achievement. 

Click here to see the Minnesota Department of Education announcement.

ISD 709 News

posted Jun 17, 2015, 9:05 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Jun 17, 2015, 9:16 AM ]

ISD 709 FY 2016 Budget Includes More Investment in the Classroom

Budget maintains investment to support class size reduction, curriculum updates and student achievement strategies

   The Duluth School Board approved the Fiscal Year 2016 budget during their regular meeting  June 16.  Investments include more teacher collaboration time in the elementary schools; development of another elementary language immersion program; adding a first grade to the current Ojibwe immersion program; support for ISD 709’s new online high school, and maintaining lifeguards at the middle school swimming pools.

   As a result of favorable adjustments made for K-12 education during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, along with passage of the local 2013 Education Levy, the district is in a position to continue investments made to support class size reduction, curriculum updates and student achievement.

   Based on the recently approved State budget, state per pupil funding is expected to increase about 2% per year over the next  two years.  District officials are waiting for further interpretation of actions taken during the legislative session to understand what impact those may have on the budget.  The district is also projecting health care premium savings of about $580,000.  

   Over the past several months, Board members reviewed and discussed ideas both for using budget funds efficiently and for increasing investment in strategies related to student achievement. 


Duluth School Board Honors Assistant Superintendent Ed Crawford

   During their regular June meeting, Duluth School Board members recognized Ed Crawford, who is retiring after over 35 years of service to ISD 709.  Ed began his career as a school social worker and later worked as Assistant Principal, Principal, and finally Assistant Superintendent.

   Crawford’s service includes many District-wide committees, including the Teacher Evaluation Committee, System Accountability Committee, Education Equity Advisory Committee, and the District Quality Leadership Team, among others.  He’s dedicated time and expertise to the community through his participation on St. Mary’s Medical Center Board of Directors, Duluth Teachers’ Credit Union Board of Directors, Woodland Hills Board of Directors, Northland Foundation Board of Trustees, YMCA Board of Trustees, College of St. Scholastica Board of Trustees and other leadership positions.

   He is the recipient of several awards, including 2001 Northeast Division Assistant Principal of the Year, the 2005 Sister Ann Edward Scanlon Award from the College of St. Scholastica, and 2009 Northeast Division Principal of the Year, among others.


Teachers-Technology-21st Century Classrooms – Tech Camp!

   Nearly 100 teachers and administrators attended Tech Camp 2015 at Duluth East High School in June.  Participants learned how to use technology as a teaching tool and how it can be used to connect with parents to support student learning. 

Workshops included Connected Classrooms, Skype for Guest Speakers, Connecting with Parents Through Technology, Math Connections, Teachscape, Formative Assessments, and much more. 

   Keynote speaker Dr. Brad Gustafson provided a presentation on Unleashing Creativity and Innovation through technology.  Gustafon is the co-creator of World Book Talk which promotes literacy through augmented reality and student creation. His blog, Adjusting Course, was a finalist for Best Administrator Blog Awards in 2013 and 2014.


Denfeld Student Receives Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award

   Nalani Harris, Denfeld High School, was recently honored with the Steve Rolland Youth Peacemaker Award by Duluth’s Men As Peacemakers at its annual awards dinner.  Awards and scholarships go to three individuals or groups each year who are nominated as “peacemakers” who “exemplified the work of building peace and promoting nonviolence” in the community.  Harris plans to use her scholarship money for continuing her education at St. Cloud State University.


Duluth School Board Approves Bullying Prohibition Policy Updates

   The Duluth School Board approved updates to the Bullying Prohibition Policy which prohibits bullying behavior and assists in preventing and responding to acts of bullying and other similarly disruptive behaviors.

    The approval follows months of work by members of the ISD 709 Bullying Prevention Committee, several community meetings hosted by ISD 709 and the City of Duluth last fall, and review of community, student and staff surveys to gather thoughts and advice.   The revisions are intended to further assist schools in preventing, identifying and responding to bullying. 

    The entire updated policy, which is several pages long, will be available in the 2015-16 Family & Student Handbook and online at  Briefly:

    The act of bullying, by either an individual student or group of students, is expressly prohibited.  This applies not only to students who directly engage in bullying but also to students who, by their indirect behavior, condone or support another student’s act of bullying.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to report bullying behavior, not just the person targeted. 

    Each school will continue to utilize research-based, developmentally appropriate, best practice prevention strategies which may include but are not limited to:

>Teaching respect and acceptance of differences between people;

>Positive behavior interventions and supports;

>Social emotional learning;

>Intentionally creating positive student and staff relationships;

>Preparing students for when bullying behaviors may occur.

    Schools will respond to bullying in a manner appropriate to the individual incident, considering the nature of the behavior, the developmental age of the student and the student’s history of problem behaviors and performance.  When bullying occurs, steps will be taken with the student harmed and with the student who engaged in the prohibited behavior. 

    For the student harmed:  Protect, support and intervene on their behalf.  Support may include safety planning, one-to-one support, check-in and/or check-out with a trusted adult in the school and choice to participate in a restorative process facilitated by a trained facilitator, among others.

   For the student who engaged in the prohibited behavior:  Schools may use multi-tiered levels of response that are individualized, consistent, age-appropriate and match the severity of the behavior and student’s developmental age.  Consequences must be paired with meaningful instruction and guidance and carefully planned with defined outcomes.   Responses may include but are not limited to working with parents, disciplinary action (detention, suspension, etc.), teaching/re-teaching desired skills or behavior, and connecting with community resources.

   Staff training will be required on a three year cycle for all school personnel to prevent, identify and respond to bullying behavior and be offered annually to build the skills of all ISD 709 employees to implement the policy.  Schools will incorporate into the curriculum developmentally appropriate instruction to help students identify, prevent and reduce bullying and create a safe learning environment. 

   “Bullying” means intimidating, threatening, abusive or harming conduct that is objectively offensive and:

>There is an actual or perceived imbalance of power between the student engaging in prohibited conduct and the target of the behavior and;

>The conduct is repeated or forms a pattern or;

>Materially and substantially  1) interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or performance or ability to participate in school functions or activities or to receive school benefits, services or privileges.   2) Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property   3) Causes a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health.

  For more information on bullying prevention and response:

ISD 709 News

posted Jun 5, 2015, 12:36 PM by Communications ISD 709

Congratulations to the Class of 2015 and to all who helped support their success!


Many thanks for all you do to support students, families and public education in Duluth – best wishes for safe, happy, satisfying summer!


Congratulations to the first Misaabekong Kindergarten Class students at Lowell Elementary! 

   In addition to a Kindergarten classroom, Lowell will offer a Grade 1 Ojibwe Immersion Language classroom beginning in September 2015.  Both classrooms are designed to enrich the education of students by teaching core academic subjects in Ojibwemowin and developing appreciation of their own and other cultures.  Bus transportation is provided for students in the Lowell or Myers-Wilkins attendance areas; otherwise transportation is the responsibility of families. To apply or for more information contact Edye Howes, Coordinator of American Indian Education for ISD 709, at 218- 336-8700 ext. 1152.


The Duluth Public Schools Endowment Fund Committee is seeking volunteers to help maintain and update the DPS Fund website.  The DPS Fund, managed by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, provides grants for innovative classroom projects.  This year the DPS Fund provided over $16,000 to support projects in ISD 709.  

If you can help with web support for this worthwhile program, please contact Ken Schoen at 218-724-9618or


ISD 709 Seeks AmeriCorps Applicants

   ISD 709 is currently seeking applicants to serve as AmeriCorps members during the 2015-2016 school year.  AmeriCorps members support district goals to reduce the achievement gap through academic and behavior interventions with students. Programs exist to place AmeriCorps members within elementary, middle, and high school settings. 

   In addition to the opportunity to connect with youth and develop experience working in a school setting, individuals who serve as AmeriCorps members receive a modest financial stipend, healthcare benefits, and a financial award to pay down student loans. If you are interested in applying or would like to learn more, please contact Tom Albright at 218-336-8700 ext 1172 or


Accomplishments, Activities, Appreciation

--Jasmine Fuller, Denfeld High School, is the recipient of the 2015 Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc. Scholarship of $2,500.  Jasmine received the scholarship based on the content and quality of her essay addressing racism and on the level and commitment of her community service and involvement, which includes Upward Bound, Washington Center Neighborhood Youth Services and Girls Group with Men as Peacemakers, among others.

--Tim Renier, Duluth East High School, is the recipient of a 2015 Scholars of Distinction Award from the Minnesota Department of Education.  To earn recognition, a student must complete required work in Minnesota’s academic standards, demonstrate mastery of complex subject matter, and apply their knowledge and skills on challenging projects.  Tim received the Award for his project “The Development of an Inexpensive Hand Hygiene Monitoring System with a Raspberry Pi Computer:

Applications for Healthcare and Beyond.”

--Betsy Bartel, Lakewood Elementary, received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for her work with the Lakewood Nature Trail.  Betsy enrolled the Lakewood Trail as a School Forest over 20 years ago and has worked to involve families, students and staff in its use and maintenance.  The school uses the Lakewood Nature Trail for nature walks, tree identification, language, studying birds, animals and insects, photography, map reading and other activities.  Families have helped out by building a chickadee feeding station, trail clearing and other support.

--Lowell Elementary Kindergarten and Grade 3 classes participated in the 4th Annual Reading Buddies Bark and Bake for Shelter Dogs.  Dog biscuits were counted and bagged for donation to Animal Allies, they’ll be provided to walkers at the organization’s annual Walk for Pets.  The children delivered the biscuits and fed dogs during a field trip to the shelter in May.  Grade 3 students have been reading buddies with their Kindergarten friends; service dogs Lucy, Skipper and Dylan have been reading buddies with the Grade 3 students.  

ISD 709 News

posted May 28, 2015, 8:29 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated May 28, 2015, 8:37 AM ]

Duluth School Board Honors Doreen Ruhanen

   During their regular May meeting, Duluth School Board members took time to recognize and honor Doreen Ruhanen, Homecroft Elementary, recipient of the 2015 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award.  The Award, established by Manley and Lillian Goldfine in 2007, honors inspirational teachers for their dedication, skills and hard work.  Criteria for the award include impact in the classroom, school and community and efforts to pursue professional development.


Olson Receives 2015 Matt Berry Award of Excellence

   Carol Olson, ISD 709 Community Education, is the recipient of the 2015 Matt Berry Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to traffic safety education.  The Award recognizes Carol’s leadership in the field and her ongoing dedication to helping Duluth teens become safe drivers.  She received the Award at the annual conference of the Minnesota Driver and Traffic Safety Education Association.  Carol has taught driver education in the classroom and behind the wheel in ISD 709's Community Education program for over 20 years.  This is the second year in a row that an ISD 709 instructor has won the award and the third time since the awards inception in 1988. 


2015 Greg Irons Award Recipients Announced

   The Greg Irons Award Fund (managed by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation)

honors the tenets and beliefs of Greg Irons by recognizing and rewarding the efforts of students in Duluth Public Schools and teachers who help students succeed.  Click here for more.

   2015 Staff Award - John Rudolph, Duluth East:  John is a science teacher and a champion for all students, especially those requiring extra help, tutoring, and support. He is coach of the baseball team, advisor for the East Green Club, a volunteer on design committees for Duluth East, and site manager for soccer, football, basketball and outside groups as well as president of the Duluth East Athletic Association.  

   2015 Student Award - Meaghan O’Connor, Denfeld High School:  Meaghan’s life revolves around volunteerism.  She is the recipient of the Minnesota Power Community Involvement Scholarship, recognizing students who help out in their community. To quote her essay, “All of the volunteering opportunities have stuck with me and will stay with me forever. I will always have a passion for volunteering and helping others. Volunteering is what defines me.”

   2015 Student Award - Danielle Sauve, Duluth East High School:  Whether it’s Link Crew (Seniors helping 9th graders get orientated to the school), Key Club, Teen Council, NHS or her church’s Youth Group, it’s clear that Danielle is always there to lend a hand. Danielle plans to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth in the fall and study Law Enforcement.


ISD 709 Elementary Schools to Increase Phy. Ed. Time Next Year

   Elementary schools will provide an additional 45 minutes of physical education time next year through funding designated for student achievement.  Research indicates physical activity can help boost student academic performance and help manage behavior. The extra time is associated with an eight-day rotation of music, art, media center and physical education students receive throughout the year.


Working on Duluth East Traffic Solutions

   School and district administrators are working on short and long term solutions to traffic congestion that occurs when school lets out around Duluth East High School.  Short term solutions include working with the Duluth Police Department to train staff to help direct traffic during busy times.  Long term solutions include working with the Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council to study traffic and pedestrian patterns and identify root causes so they may be effectively addressed.  More information is expected in the fall.


Congratulations to Retiring Teachers, Staff and Administrators

Many thanks for your dedicated service to ISD 709 students and schools!

   Administration:  Eddie Crawford;  Clerical: Rosemary Donald;  DDWIAA:  Janis Kramer;  Ed. Directors:  Laura Fredrickson;  EEA: Nancy Dormedy, Jody LeBlanc, Ken Willms;  Food Service: Mary Anne Dolan;  Maintenance: Gregory Byrne, Mary Forseth, Gregory Fuller, Gregory Jackson, Daniel John, Ronald Nelson, Roselyn Oja, Mark Wells;  Non-Certified Business: John Hoban; Principals: Jim Arndt;  Paraprofessionals: Judy Annala, Georgia Baumgarth, Audrey Blankenship, Linda Booker, Jeannette Hedlund, Cathy Hill, Margaret Oman, Colleen Parlin, Linda Waters;  Teachers: Ila Anderson, Kim Anderson, Sandra Anderson, Cheryl Beaver, Robert Berg, Debra Berntson-Gutz, Janine Bjerklie, Lila Boehland, Barbara Boline, Linda Braaten, Cory Clay, Karin Dahlberg, Janine Dahlquist, Penelope Dearth, Peggy Ehlert, Lee Ellen Emanoff, Margaret Ferguson, Carol Kempf, Rita Krisak, Richard Lindberg, Jennifer Madole, Phyllis Makila, John McEwen, Katherine Moore, Sally Ockwig-Larson, Dorothy Opack, Sarah Pierre, Ann Price, Michael Randolph, Deborah Sauer, Barbara Schweda, David Taylor, William Verhel, Deborah Wendling, Gladys Williams, Karen Wirth.


Summer Breakfast & Lunch Program June 9 – August 21

   Funded by the USDA, meals are provided to children 18 years of age and under without charge, adults who accompany their children can purchase a meal for $3.75.  Meals are served from June 9 - August 21 (no service July 3). 

--Breakfast:  8:00AM to 10:30AM

--Lunch:  11:30AM – 1:00PM 

   Menus include a variety of food items: hot entrees, salads, sandwiches, vegetables, fruits, bread, milk, and dessert items.  Join us for good food and friendly service!

ISD 709 Summer Meal Locations

>Lester Park Elementary, 5300 Glenwood Street 

>Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road 

>Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N 8th Avenue East

>Piedmont Elementary, 2827 Chambersburg Avenue

>Laura MacArthur Elementary, 720 North Central Avenue

>Stowe Elementary, 715 – 101st Avenue West

>Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 West Third Street 

>Denfeld High School, 401 North 44th Avenue West 

Also Available: Brown Bag Lunches at Lincoln Park Boys & Girls Club! 2407 West 4th Street


Accomplishments, Activities, Appreciation

--Charlie Danielson of Up North Farm and Restoration visited Ms. Oliver's Lincoln Park Middle School classes to talk about the importance of animals within sustainable farming and restoring soil composition.The students had previously investigated where their food comes from for a research project. The visit was made possible through a USDA Farm to School Grant, Healthy Northland Farm to School.  Click here for more.

--Alec Boyhtari, Denfeld High School, will be bowling in a National Junior Gold Tournament in Chicago this July. He was named Most Outstanding Player this year for High School Bowling and represented this area in an All-Conference Tournament. In February 2015 he bowled a perfect 300 game at 16 years old.

--Duluth East Chemistry students provided science demonstrations at

Congdon Park and Myers-Wilkins Elementary Schools.  They conducted experiments in which they ignited hydrogen bubbles and nitrocellose (flash cotton) and showed the elementary students a crystal that disappears in water.

--Students at Lowell Elementary collected $602 to provide a waterproof roof on the Hope of Joy School in Africa so children can stay dry during the rainy season.  The funds were presented to Lisa Berg, a Uganda soccer coach.  Berg will deliver the funds to the school and bring back pictures of the children, the school, and the new roof.Lowell has had a four year partnership with the Hope of Joy School in Mbale, Uganda, Africa.  Thanks to all the families at Lowell for supporting this great cause!


From the City of Duluth:

Family, Group Opportunities at the Bayfront Family Center

Open Monday – Thursday, 11:00AM – 7:00PM

May 26 – September 17, 2015

(Closed some days due to Festival Park Events)

   Recreational Equipment is available for people to use FREE OF CHARGE and includes Frisbee Golf, Kites, Volleyball, Kickballs, Croquet and more.  Sheltered seating, extra bathrooms and concession options are also available.  Call 730-4300 for more information.

   Take a walk around the festival grounds, stage and past the harbor.  Play on the biggest, most innovative playground in Duluth.  Bayfront Festival Park is a great place for people to go with friends and family almost any time.  

ISD 709 News

posted May 18, 2015, 10:02 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated May 18, 2015, 10:07 AM ]

2015-16 Elementary Report Card Information for Parents

  Beginning in September 2015, ISD 709 elementary schools will grade and report student progress using a standards-based system that helps provide:

  • A clear measure for parents of their child’s individual progress
  • A description of learning goals as parents help support their child’s achievement
  • Consistency between elementary classrooms and elementary schools across the district.

Click here for more information regarding Elementary Report Cards. 


Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team Alliance Takes 1st Place at State!

   After an amazing competition, the Daredevils walked away with their first ever MSHSL/FIRST State Robotics Championship win, allied with Team 3130/Errors from Woodbury, MN and Team 4215/Trinity Tritons from Eagan, MN.

   The Daredevils ended qualifiers in first place and after selecting their alliance the Daredevils continued on to the final rounds which are win/loss best two out of three.  In the first round everything clicked for the Duluth East alliance scoring a 206-125 victory.  During the second round the lift on the Daredevil’s robot stopped functioning - the alliance lost 108-157 and the finals stood at one win each.  A quick repair and the Daredevils alliance stood ready for the final round.  This time the robot functioned as designed scoring 20 points during the 15 second autonomous period and the alliance won 198-157.

Link to Daredevil Championship highlights:


Denfeld DNA Robotics Team Receives Engineering & Design Award at State Competition!

   Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) Team 4009 competed at the 2015 MSHSL/FIRST State Robotics competition at Williams Arena on the University of MN Twin Cities Campus.  Out of 193 Minnesota teams, 30 were invited to compete.

   DNA finished 9th and earned the Outstanding Engineering and Design Award sponsored by the robotics manufacturing department of the Dunwoody College of Technology. The award recognizes those teams that exhibit unique engineering and design solutions to the robot challenge. The award comes with a trophy and $500 check to be used toward next year’s team expenses.

Moreinfo about DNA Robotics at


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

--Mark your calendars for the Congdon Plant Sale Friday, May 29 from 2:15PM to 6:00PM! Organic edible & perennial plants at Congdon Park Elementary, 3116 East Superior Street, for sale to support the Congdon Park School & Community Garden Program.  Master Gardeners will provide growing demos for the Vegetable of the Year (the POTATO) and

distribute a free seed potato. 

--Chang'aa Mweti, a Kenyan story teller and professor at UMD, visited Ms. Poppenberg's Lincoln Park classes to tell stories of working together and kindness.  In addition to meeting Mr. Mweti and hearing him speak, students also had an opportunity to learn about and dress in traditional Kenyan attire.  

--Congratulations to recipients of 2015 Duluth Public School Grants for innovative classroom projects!  Guided by an independent volunteer advisory board, comprised of civic and business leaders, the Duluth Public Schools Fund annually reviews proposals and recommends grant awards (ranging from $500 to $2,000) within ISD 709 for projects by teachers that encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom.  The fund is managed by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, click here for more information.

>Integration:  Social Studies and the Visual Arts, Laura MacArthur – Christine Valento

>Rocket Day, Laura MacArthur – Linda Pelto, Kristen Resch, Tamara Meyer

>Life Cycle: Hands on Experience with Vertebrates, Lester Park Elementary – Pat Isbell

>Closing the Achievement Gap in Mathematics through Parent Involvement & Technology Year 2, Ordean East Middle School – Nathan Norman, Michael Valesano

>What Goes Around, Comes Around, Duluth East High School – Peter Froehlingsdorf, Greg Jones

>Once Upon a Time, Lester Park Elementary – Susan Mikel

>Summer Science Academy, Piedmont Elementary – Stephanie Larson

>Sensory Learning Centers, Homecroft Elementary – Cher Obst

>Explorations in Green Energy, Denfeld High School – Eric Holmstrom, Denfeld Science Teachers

>Teaching History/Social Studies with Informational Text Sets, Congdon Park – Gwyn Curran

>Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Barnes Head Start – Sarah Walker

>Multiple Perspectives Unit Revolution and Freedom Summer, Ordean East Middle School, Holly Bowen-Bailey

>Denfeld’s Night at the Prove, Denfeld High School – Alexandra Breilein

>Three Owls Outdoor Classroom, Lester Park Elementary – Samantha Webster

>Kool Chromatography, Denfeld & Duluth East High Schools – Cynthia Grindy, Bob Fox

>Allowing Students with Cognitive Disabilities Opportunities to Implement Grad Standards into Their Functional Curriculum, Ordean East Middle School – Stephanie Aagenes, Cindy Rourke

>Here We Grow, Homecroft Elementary School – Elizabeth Kersting-Peterson

--Thursday, May 21 is Bike & Walk To School Day at Congdon Park Elementary.  Students will arrive to school energized and ready to learn!  A Safe Routes to School Mini-Grant provided t-shirts for participants and helmets for those in need.

ISD 709 News

posted May 15, 2015, 8:21 AM by Communications ISD 709

Homecroft Elementary Teacher Receives $5,000 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award

   Doreen Ruhanen, Homecroft Elementary School, is the recipient of the 2105 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award.  Andy Goldfine, son of Manley and Lillian Goldfine, made the announcement at a reception Thursday evening during which he presented Ruhanen with a trophy and a $5,000 check.

   Ruhanen has taught in Duluth for 25 years and currently teaches first grade at Homecroft Elementary.  She holds a Master of Science and Education in Teacher and Reading from UW-Superior, and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Duluth, licensed in K-6 education with a collateral field in Special Education. 

   See the story from the front page of the Duluth News Tribune!


Duluth School Board Members Show Support for Women’s Health

   Duluth School Board members Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, Judy Seliga Punyko and Annie Harala joined community members in showing support for the American Lung Association’s Lung Force week by wearing turquoise at the Tuesday Education Committee meeting. Lung Force supports innovations in research, earlier detection of lung cancer and better treatments.


Summer School 2015-2016


Denfeld High School (Seat-based program):  401 North 44th Ave. West, Duluth, MN  

June 15 through July 23, 2015

8:00AM to 10:00AM Monday through Thursday

10:15AM to 12:15PM Monday through Thursday

Phone:  218-336-8756  Fax:  218-336-8770

This program is open to students age 14 and older who need to complete a half or full credit course.


Area Learning Center (Independent Study program): Historic Old Central High School

215 North 1st Avenue East Room 101, Duluth, MN

June 16 through August 27, 2015 

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm. Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Phone:  218-336-8756     Fax:  218-336-8770

This program is open to students ages 16 to 20 who meet one or more of the state eligibility guidelines (as indicated on the registration form.)


Please see counselors for registration forms/referrals.


Superintendent, School Board Members Help Out at Annual Pancake Breakfast

   Superintendent Bill Gronseth and School Board Clerk Rosie Loeffler-Kemp donned aprons and paper hats and joined dozens of community leaders flipping pancakes at the Duluth Lions Club Annual Pancake Day in Duluth.  Board Chair Judy Seliga Punyko was also on hand to join volunteers serving coffee.  Proceeds from this annual event fund programs for the sight impaired, hearing impaired, youth, diabetes and many others.


Isyss Limoseth and Phoenix Ocean, Lincoln Park Middle School, received the 2015 Apollo Gilruth Continuum Award for

Academic Excellence from the Duluth Aviation Institute.  The Institute, along with Lincoln Park science teachers, presented eleven lessons in aviation science this semester.  Isyss and Phoenix excelled in all classroom activities, plane quizzes, and extra credit projects and were among the top 15% students who excelled throughout the program and received a Young Eagles Flight from Sky Harbor Airport.

   Students in this program learn about aviation, from the parts of an airplane to the science of what makes those parts fly.  They watch eleven presentations on various aviation topics and for each topic they participate in a project and take a quiz.  It’s a vigorous, popular, hands-on program – students say they enjoy flying Alka Seltzer rockets, practicing radio calls with walkie-talkies, and pretending to land a plane.  


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

--Mari Doffin, a Denfeld High School student, is helping make a difference for people recovering from the earthquake in Nepal.  Click here to see the story from the Northlandsnewscenter

--Duluth East High School students participated in the Area III Envirothon held at the University of Minnesota-Cloquet Forestry Experiment Station, earning the “Team Spirit Award” for their outstanding team participation and passion!  Jacob Kohlbry, Hillarie Madden, David Rowe, Maddie Snyder, Nic Roningen took part in the event, which tested their knowledge of natural resources and solved an urban forestry problem.  Their team placed 5th overall.

-- Lincoln Park Middle School is piloting “Walk to School Wednesday” during the month of May! Walkers and bussers (who have their parents drop them off) meet each Wednesday morning at the Harrison Community Center. Students, staff members, and special guest walkers, including UMD’s Champ the Bulldog, are walking to school as a group, and students who participate can put their name into a drawing to win prizes. Lincoln Park hopes to continue the program in the fall.
Link to Animoto video:

--Help the Ordean East Destination Imagination Team make it to Nationals!  Show your team spirit by participating in a Duluth Chipotle fundraiser to support the Team.  Just come into the Duluth Chipotle on Saturday, May 16th, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm and when you check out, tell the cashier you're supporting this cause to make sure that 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Ordean East Destination Imagination Team.

--The following student's artwork was chosen for Artist of the Month for May at Laura MacArthur 

Elementary School:  Kristina Birdseye, Charity Leskey, Scott Leslie, Dilin Bakken, Ryley McKeon, Lukas Young, Maddie Juetenen, MacKenzie Kuenow, MacKenzie Carlson. Congratulations, students!


Lakewood Elementary students took part in a Buckthorn Removal Day for the Lakewood School Forest. Students, teachers, and community volunteers tagged, cut, bagged, and removed the invasive Buckthorn from the school forest property. 

   Lakewood School Forest has undergone a forestry assessment, and created a new forest stewardship plan to help guide the school to better maintain this natural outdoor classroom environment for the school and the community.   Goals created out of this forestry plan included reducing the amount of the invasive Buckthorn plant and do more native tree planting.  The Buckthorn Removal Day is a time for the school community to come together and take action on the forest plan and to prepare for the planting of 300 native trees the school purchased for their Global Youth Service Day Project.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!  Free, Fun Reading Events for Children!  The Duluth Public Library Foundation Presents Free Children’s Literacy Programs at the Miller Hill Mall.  Events will be held in Center Court with a grand finale held on June 27 in the Barnes & Noble Court.

Saturday May 16, 11AM – 1PM:  READ TO THERAPY DOG “SPIRIT”  Donna Kirk welcomes children to read animal books to her therapy dog, Spirit.  

Saturday, May 23, 11AM – 1PM:  POET-TREE  Children are invited to write poetry and color leaves to decorate a bare tree and to carry a seedling home.  

Saturday, May 30, 11AM – 1PM:  UMD BULLDOGS PLAY BY THE BOOK:  UMD Bulldogs hockey athletes read sports books with children.  

Saturday, June 6, 11AM – 1PM:  READ & SING WITH A PRINCESS  Princesses sing Disney songs and read fairy tales with children. 

Saturday, June 13, 11AM-11:55AM; 12PM-12:55PM: DRAW WITH AN ARTIST  Chris Monroe runs workshops for kids, with tablets and pencils included, on how to draw.  (each hour-long workshop is limited to 25 children)

Thursday, June 18, 4PM-6PM: CARS, TRUCKS & TRAINS Children are invited to read books about cars, trucks, and other vehicles.  

Saturday, June 27, 11AM – 12:30PM: GRAND FINALE!  ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET FOR READING  Kids are invited to walk the red carpet, meet book characters, participate in activities, have appetizers, and read in the Barnes & Noble court.  

Contact:  Patra Sevastiades, Duluth Library Foundation, or  Machelle Kendrick, Simon Properties,

ISD 709 News

posted May 5, 2015, 1:43 PM by Communications ISD 709

Many thanks to the students, families, staff and community groups that helped make the first ever April 28 ACT Plus Writing Test Day and ACTion Day run smoothly and successfully!


Congratulations to our 2015 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award Nominees!

  • Roberg Berg, Stowe Elementary
  • Carol Gallinger, Congdon Park Elementary
  • Debra Gilbertson, Piedmont Elementary
  • Melissa Kelley, Myers-Wilkins Elementary
  • Anne Krafthefer, Lester Park Elementary
  • Phyllis Makila, Lakewood Elementary
  • Doreen Ruhanen, Homecroft Elementary
  • Melissa Scanlon-Olson, Laura MacArthur Elementary
  • Cyndi Venberg, Lowell Elementary

The Manley and Lillian Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award Fund is a fund of the

Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation – Click here for more.


Student’s Annual Bedding Plant Sale May 13!

  The Plant Science students at Duluth East have been busy in the greenhouse, getting ready for their annual bedding plant sale!  To better serve customers, students are expanding the hours of the sale, here are the details:

  • Wednesday May 13th
  • 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
  • Duluth East High School – Greenhouse, 301 North 40th Avenue East

Crops include:  4.5" pots of Geraniums, Pollinator garden plants, assorted 4" pots of annuals, packs of annual flowers, vegetables and herbs.


Summer Duluth Community Education Class Schedule Available Online  

   The Duluth Community Education Summer 2015 schedule of classes and activities is available online for viewing and secure registration at,

   Community Education offers opportunities to learners of all ages through:

·         Adult enrichment and youth activities - take a class in computers, music, yoga, cooking, painting, fitness, digital photography, languages, much more - something for everyone

·         Aquatics classes

·         KEY Zone school-age care and academic enrichment

·         Adult basic education -GED and Adult High School Diploma - It's never too late to learn

·         Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)

·         School Readiness/Pre-K programs

·         Driver education

   These programs are open to any area resident, are affordable and close to home.

   For more information email: or call 218-336-8760 or visit  Celebrate Summer with us, see you at class!


2015 Go Guide – Summer Guide for Youth Activities is available through the United Way of Greater Duluth.  Click here to view the online copy:


Lincoln Park Middle School’s Eighth Grade Book Club joined forces with the UMD Rotaract Club to collect over 1000 books for donation to Hillcrest Primary School in South Africa as part of the African Library Project.  Through the month of April, Lincoln Park students collected new or gently used books which will be shipped to Hillcrest School in May.  To promote the drive, the Eighth Grade Book Club designed posters, created announcements, wrote school newspaper articles and devised a "Book-O-Meter" which tracked their progress. Their slogan: "Be the change you want to see in the world and give a kid a book!" These students truly made a difference!


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

--Lincoln Park Middle School held its annual "Poetry Slam" in April.  More than 80 students stayed for this creative after-school event.  Students and staff recited both published and original poetry to help celebrate National Poetry Month.

--Autumn Pohl, Denfeld High School, is competing in the Photographic Society of America's Youth Showcase.  Her two submissions are Pinhole photographs, her pinhole camera is made out of a cookie tin.

--Dr. Richard Updegrove, Duluth East High School, has been accepted as one of 11 teachers for the American Revolution Master Teachers' Seminar in Washington, D.C.  Sponsored by The American Revolution Institute of the Society of Cincinnati, the goals of the seminar are to enrich understanding of the American Revolution in ways that translate to the classroom, to introduce outstanding teachers to the resources of the Institute, and to develop lesson plans that can be posted in a special section of the Society’s website as a resource to teachers nationwide. 

--Congratulations to ISD 709 students competing at the Minnesota State History Day event at the UM Minneapolis in these categories: Group Exhibit :  Sydney Olson, Katrina Lindgren, Emma Johnson; Marie Curie, Angie Davis, Saijal Vacek; Julius Caesar, Kanna Okoro, Isaac Bailey, Nick Peters; Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, Individual Website:  Sarah MasonFly Girl, Group Website: Shay Callaway & Raena YoungquistNeil Armstrong, Individual Media Documentary: Vera PattonElizabeth Cady Stanton and the Women’s Rights Movement, Clara KramerMilton Hershey: Beyond the Chocolate, and Group Performance: Grace Hollander,Abbigail Hagen, Jacque Black;A Legacy in the Sky: Jacqueline Cochrane and Nancy Love. Anna Kebbekus, Elle PatronasClara Barton’s Red Cross Legacy.

   Earning Honorable Mention awards for their entries were Sydney Olson, Katrina Lindgren, Emma JohnsonGroup Exhibit Marie Curie, and Grace Hollander, Abbigail Hagen, Jacque BlackGroup Performance A Legacy in the Sky: Jacqueline Cochrane and Nancy Love.


Drop & Give Me 20 Minutes of Reading Each Day!  The Duluth Public Library Foundation Presents 8 Weeks of Free Children’s Literacy Programs at the Miller Hill Mall.  The first 7 events will be held in Center Court. The grand finale will be held on June 27 in the Barnes & Noble Court.

MONKEY WITH A NOTEBOOK:  Chris Monroe runs workshops for kids, with paper and pencils included, on drawing comic art. Saturday, May 9,  11am-11:55am; 12pm – 1:00pm (each hour-long workshop is limited to 25 children)

READ TO A DOG:  Donna Kirk welcomes children to read animal books to her therapy dog, Spirit.  Saturday, May 16, 11am – 1pm

POET-TREE:  Children are invited to write poetry and color leaves to decorate a bare tree and to carry a seedling home.  Saturday, May 23, 11am – 1pm

PLAY BY THE BOOK:  UMD Bulldogs hockey athletes read sports books with children.  Saturday, May 30, 11am – 1pm

READ & SING WITH A PRINCESS:  Princesses sing Disney songs and read fairy tales with children. Saturday, June 6, 11am – 1pm

DRAW WITH AN ARTIST:  Chris Monroe runs workshops for kids, with tablets and pencils included, on how to draw. Saturday, June 13, 11am-11:55am; 12pm-12:55pm (each hour-long workshop is limited to 25 children)

CARS, TRUCKS & TRAINS:  Children are invited to read books about cars, trucks, and other vehicles.  Thursday, June 18, 4:00pm-6:00pm

ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET FOR READING:  Kids are invited to walk the red carpet, meet book characters, participate in activities, have appetizers, and read in the Barnes & Noble court.  Saturday, June 27, 11am – 12:30 pm

Contact:  Patra Sevastiades, Duluth Library Foundation, or  Machelle Kendrick, Simon Properties,


Free Ultimate Frisbee Sports Offered at Duluth Heritage Sports Center for Youth

   The City of Duluth Parks and Recreation division is partnering with the Duluth Heritage Sports Center (120 S. 30th Ave West)  to offer ultimate frisbee sports for area youth every Sunday during the month of May. The program runs from 1-3:00 PM during which volunteers will teach kids how to play the sport and coordinate informal games with participants.  These events are free and open to youth ages 8-17.

Free Chester Creek Concert Series- Summer 2015

   June 2 is the kick off of the annual Tuesday night Chester Creek Concert series in Chester Bowl Park. Music starts at7 PM every Tuesday, unless canceled due to weather. These events are free to the public. Bring your own chairs or blankets. Check the concert hotline for updates, 730-4326.

ISD 709 News

posted Apr 27, 2015, 2:35 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Apr 28, 2015, 6:09 AM ]

Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team – 2nd Place at the World Championships!

The Daredevils are the first Minnesota team to make it all the way to the finals on Einstein Field where they took 2nd place with their alliance partners.   The Daredevils were proud to represent Minnesota and Duluth F.I.R.S.T. World Championships in St. Louis, MO - thank you to the many families and fans who turned out to welcome the Daredevils home!

Clickhere to see video from the World Championships.


Devin Johnson, Duluth East High School, has been named one of 565 semifinalists in the 2015 U.S. Presidential  Scholars Program.  Semifinalists were selected from more than 4,300 candidates on the basis of superior achievements, leadership qualities, personal character and involvement in community and school activities.  Final selection of the Scholars will be made by the Commission on Presidential Scholars, a group of eminent citizens appointed by the President.  Scholars will be invited to Washington, DC in June to participate in a recognition ceremony and in various activities and events held in their honor.  Semifinalists were chosen by a panel of distinguished educators after a review of students’ essays, self-assessments, activities, school recommendations and school transcripts.


2015 Go Guide – Summer Guide for Youth Activities is available through the United Way of Greater Duluth.  Click here to view the online copy:


ISD 709 High School Students Use April 28 Day Off to Help Community

   In Duluth, Tuesday April 28 will be a day off for grades 9, 10 and 12 as students in grade 11 take the statewide ACT Plus Writing Test. 

   About 65+ students from Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools are choosing to use their day off to help their community by participating in “ACTion Day.”  The United Way of Greater Duluth, ISD 709 and Kiwanis worked in partnership to create “ACTion Day,” a one-day opportunity for high school students to give back by signing up for service activities with area non-profits.

   Students will be volunteering with Animal Allies, Second Harvest Food Bank, Hartley Nature Center, YWCA Girl Power, MAC-V, The Duluth Children's Museum, and more.  At each site, students will be joined by members of local Kiwanis Clubs who will help with projects while also sharing the value of volunteering as adults.  


ISD 709 Provides High School Tour for Dalien, China Principal

   Superintendent Bill Gronseth and Assistant Superintendent Ed Crawford provided a tour of Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools for Mr. Yuejin Wang, Principal of the High School attached to Dalien University of Technology in China.  This summer, students from the Northland will travel to Dalien as part of an exchange program.  Last year students from Dalien visited Duluth. 

   Mr. Wang met with high school principals, students and staff and toured each building.  Stops included Denfeld’s automotive lab and Duluth East’s greenhouse. 


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

--Artwork by Laura MacArthur Elementary students will be on display at Beaner's Coffeehouse Art Show, 324 North Central Avenue in Duluth.  Student are hosting an Opening Reception Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 6:00PM – 8:00PM and

the artwork will be displayed throughout the month of May.

-- Duluth Speech Team member Hannah Wodrich received a 4th Place Medal in Discussion at the 2015 MSHSL State Speech Tournament.  Six members of the Duluth Speech Team advanced to the Tournament:  Leighton Strom, Emma McNamee, Derick Rossell, Paul Manning, Hannah Wodrich and Kayla Nyenhuis. 

--Lincoln Park Middle School “Guys In Ties” group visited Lake Superior College to learn more about the degrees offered and hands-on program options.   “Guys In Ties” is a leadership program which encourages members to put academics first.

-- The Duluth East High School Exec Board, Students for the Future and Key Club received a letter from Meg Kearns at CHUM in appreciation for conducting a successful food drive.  We were delighted to receive the donation of 1,189 pounds of food and $1,213 collected by your organizations at East High for the CHUM Food Shelf during March,” Kearns said.  “This gift will be included in the amount that will receive a proportional match from the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. Thanks for helping us to continue our work with people in our community who are having a difficult time feeding their families.”

--Lester Park Elementary students competed individually and as teams in the 2015 5th Grade Northeast Minnesota Regional Math Masters competition.  Jack Beyer, Aiden Olson, Andrew Sailstad, Felicia Stewart and Elle Westrum took 3rd Place as a team.  Taking 4th Place were team members Ella Hanhan, Kai Hoffman, Sam Krollman, Collin Larson and Ava Patronas. Andrew Sailstad placed fifth out of 144 competitors in the individual competition.  Anne Krafthefer, fifth grade teacher at Lester Park School, coaches the teams.   Math Masters of Minnesota has been holding competition for fifth graders since 1989.  Many thanks to the volunteers who make this annual event such a great opportunity for Minnesota students! 

--Stowe Elementary students combined learning and fun during the school’s Environmental Resource Fair.  They had an opportunity to squirt water out of a fire hose (with help from firefighters!), check out safety and rescue gear, learn about animals of northern Minnesota, mountain biking, bird migration, reptiles & amphibians and much more.  Many thanks to the many local and regional organizations that helped make this event happen!

-- Kenn McNulty, Homecroft Elementary, received a letter from President Barack Obama, thanking him and student Megan Nygaard for their “Would You Bully Me?” bullying prevention book.  

-- Laura MacArthur Elementary students participated in a school-wide fundraising effort to raise money for Duluth's Empty Bowl event, held at The Depot Great Hall in April. All students at Laura MacArthur created clay bowl necklaces as part of this event and collected over $840.00 to help the hungry.

--December Simmons, Denfeld High School, is participating in the Photographic Society of America's 2015 Youth Showcase.  Her abstract, digital photograph will be competing with other high school photographers from all over the country. 

--The Duluth East Boys & Girls Cross Country Running teams received the MN State High School Coaches Association 2015 Gold Award for Academic Excellence.


Denfeld, Lowell & Piedmont Schools Receive Financial Awards

As participants in the School Breakfast Challenge, Denfeld, Lowell and Piedmont earned financial awards for increasing the number of breakfasts served to low-income students in the 2014-2015 school year:

--Piedmont Elementary: $5,393.98

--Lowell Elementary: $663.72

--Denfeld High School: $2,833.63

 These gifts were made possible by the General Mills Foundation and the Cargill Foundation.


Buddies Not Bullies is hosting a 5K Walk on Saturday May 2 from 9:00AM to 12Noon at Bayfront Park in Duluth.  The event is dedicated to raising awareness of bullying and providing support to communities.  For more information: 


Free Lead Testing from Housing Resource Connection

When: Wednesday  -  April 29, 2015

Where:  Myers-Wilkins Elementary School, 1027 N 8th Ave E – Duluth

Time:    10:30am – 3:00pm

If you answer YES to any of these questions, get your child tested:

--Do you have a child under the age of 6?

--Do you live in a home built before 1978?

--Have you recently scraped, sanded or repaired any painted surfaces in your home?

--Have you moved from another country or big city in the past year?

--Does your child have a playmate or sibling that has had lead in his or her blood?

Keep Children Lead Safe

FACT:   Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT:   Most children are poisoned by lead dust from lead based paint in older houses.

FACT:   Lead causes irreversible brain and developmental damage in young children.

FACT:   Lead Poisoning is 100% preventable!

For more information on healthy Homes Visit:

ISD 709 News

posted Apr 22, 2015, 7:38 AM by Communications ISD 709

YOUR IDEAS MATTER - Think Kids Meetings 4/22 & 4/23 or Take the Online Survey!

   During the 2015 Think Kids conversation participants are asked to share thoughts and provide advice


--The results of an in-depth enrollment report.

--What’s going well and what could be done better in Duluth’s schools.

--How to further address racism in our community and schools.

   ISD 709 staff and volunteers will be meeting with people from across our community to lead these important discussions. Anyone who wishes to can share their ideas – no one is excluded. 

Wednesday April 22: Denfeld High School, 401 N. 44th Avenue West, 4:00PM

Thursday April 23: Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Avenue East, 6:30PM

   Can’t make a meeting?  Take the Think Kids Online Survey!  Click here to access information and a link to the survey. 


Duluth School Board Honors Lester Park Elementary for Helping the Hungry

   During their regular April meeting, members of the Duluth School Board took time to recognize Lester Park Elementary for helping make a difference in the lives of those experiencing hunger. 

   Pat Pfingsten and Nancy Dallum run the school’s food drive and Pat initially set a goal eight years ago of collecting  'One Ton' of food annually - the Lester Park community has achieved or exceeded this goal since then, including this year!  Students and staff recently collected over a TON of food for donation to the Union Gospel Mission in Duluth.  In addition to collecting 2,961 pounds of food they also raised $471 in funds. 

   Congratulations to Pat, Nancy and the students and staff at Lester Park for a very successful effort and for investing time and talent into making a difference in our community!


This month, Denfeld High School students formally presented custom-designed stained glass window projects to the

Duluth Fire Department, Minnesota Ballet, the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, Bentleyville, Keystone Bluffs and several other local businesses and organizations.  Representatives from each organization were on hand to accept the windows prior to the April School Board meeting. 

   The students are advanced members of the "Stained Glass, Metals and Fibers" art class taught by Terry Norton and they created these unique pieces of art specifically for donation to the community.  Future projects include a window for Historic Old Central High School, United Way, Spirit Mountain, the Duluth Curling Club and the West Duluth Junior Football League.  


Myers-Wilkins Elementary World Beat Drummers – Opening Act for the 2015 Duluth Homegrown Music Festival!   World Beat Drummers will perform on Sunday, April 26 at 6:00pm - Teatro Zuccone, 222 E Superior St.  This is the first time a student group has been accepted to perform for the annual community-wide music festival.  Admission is free for this performance.

For more information about World Beat:

For information about the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival:


From the Lowell Elementary PTA:

The Lowell Lions 3K Color Fun Run/Walk is scheduled for Thursday May 14th!  The Lowell kids have been working hard to raise funds for this event which coincides with the annual family fun run.  There will be prizes for kids and an after party with color bursts and music!   The event is open to the public - please join us in this fun fitness event!  The registration fee is $30 and includes a Color-A-Thon shirt and color pack.  Register online: Support LOWELL ELEMENTARY LOWELL LIONS COLOR FUN RUN   The link is also available on the Lowell School Website and the new Facebook page for Lowell.    PTA sponsored events will be using the new Facebook page so please "Like" Lowell Elementary School" Facebook page to stay up to date with our happenings.  We hope to see you at our Color Run, enter today!


Help ISD 709 Destination Imagination Teams Travel to GLOBAL Competition in Tennessee!

Teams are working to raise funds for the trip to Knoxville, please see below for details.

    Ordean East Middle School:  Their “Mission Improvable” team took first place in the 2015 State Destination Imagination tournament.  They’re hosting a freewill offering fundraising event this weekend.

When: Sunday, April 26, 6:30PM - 7:30PM

Where: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1325 N 45th Ave E, Duluth

What: They’ll introduce you to DI & Globals, and the kids will show what they do - come watch the team perform and help raise money to send these kids to Globals!

    Laura MacArthur Elementary:  This team tied for 1st Place in Elementary Improv in the State Tournament.  The Team has two fundraisers going on to help their team travel to the GLOBAL competition. 

Sunday May 10 (Mother's Day):  Chipotle at the Miller Hill Mall will donate 50% of purchases made between 12:00PM to 4:00PM to help the Laura MacArthur DI Team travel to Tennessee. 

Thursday May 14:  Beaner’s Central Coffeehouse (324 North Central Avenue) will host a fundraiser and silent auction from 6:00PM to 8:00PM.  The event includes a performance by the students.  The suggested $10 cover fee and proceeds from the silent auction will go to the Laura MacArthur DI team.


Pheasants Forever Donates $5,000 to Duluth East Pollinator Habitat

   During the April School Board Meeting, Pheasants Forever presented a check for $5,000 to support a pollinator habitat between the Lakewalk and the Duluth East High School parking lot.  The project was conducted in partnership with Duluth East High School's "Green Club" and Agriculture/Natural Resources students.  The habitat is designed to favor the attraction, survival, and reproduction of pollinators, as well as providing a weigh station along the Monarch butterfly's migration path.  It also provides a valuable learning environment for students of Duluth East High School.  

   The Duluth School Board formally recognized Pheasants Forever for their partnership and support.


The Duluth East Orchestras invite you to their Concerto Concert this Thursday, April 23 at 7PM in the East High School Auditorium, 301 North 40 th Avenue East. Violin, Cello, Trumpet, Saxophone and Piano Concertos will be performed by seven outstanding Senior East HS musicians, accompanied by the orchestra. Student soloists include: Kristina Bock, Jonas Biles, Yuqi Chen, Nick Cortes, Elise Hauer, Dan Richards, and Lydia Sayers.  Cost is $5.00 per adult, and $3.00 per student.  We hope you can come to enjoy an evening of great music, and celebrate the accomplishments of these talented seniors.


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

--Six Denfeld Key Club students attended the Key Club District Conference in St. Cloud and won two trophies:  1st Place for top service hours per member and 2nd Place for Most Distinguished Club Award! Julia Ketola was elected Lieutenant Governor for District (3A) for the 2015-16 school year which is a great honor. Attending the conference:  Denisha Walther, Breanna Love, Meaghan O'Connor, Julia Ketola, Skyar Sarvela and Christine LeGarde.

--Twenty-four Lincoln Park Middle School students attended Global Youth Service Day in Edina, MN. The students participated in service projects, watched student performances, and a group of young 7th grade women from Lincoln Park performed a dance routine. Global Youth Service Day is the largest service event in the world that celebrates the leadership of young people with an estimated 2 million youth in more than 135 countries on 6 continents expected to lead service projects.   

--Author Wendy Muhlhauser (pen name SissyMarySue) recently visited Laura MacArthur Elementary School to talk with students and read from her book “Jelly Beans the Cheetah and Hope.”  The book is set in Tanzania, Africa with the Barabaig Tribe and is based on a humanitarian trip Mulhauser took with the Edina Rotary Club in 2007.  The book includes messages of empathy, shared humanity and a connection to all and is intended to empower youth with empathy to spring into compassionate action in their families, communities, schools and in service for the


--Denfeld Show and Concert Choirs spent spring break in New York City.  The highlight of the trip was performing in front of visitors at the 911 Memorial site and singing the The Star Spangled Banner.  The students went to a performance of the Broadway musical Wicked and visited the Metropolian Museum of Art, Radio City Music Hall, Top of the Rock, Times Square, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

-- Duluth HOSA students Shelby Routsalainen (Denfeld State MRC HOSA President) and

Tracy Onchwari (East State HOSA Officer) were invited by the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness

and Response to participate in a Twitter Chat about energizing young health volunteers. 

They talked about the benefits of volunteering to support healthy communities before, during and after disasters, the challenges of engaging young volunteers and the benefits of volunteering.

-- The Duluth East Volleyball program raised $167.00 for the Circle of Hope Foundation and the Greyhound Volleyball Booster Club matched the amount made for a total donation of $334.  The team held the event at a home game where they raised money and promoted awareness about breast cancer and the Circle of Hope Foundation.  According to Coach Danna Anderson, "The athletes had a blast, my staff and I had a great time and we cannot forget to acknowledge the fans and supporting staff that also participated.  Esko's Volleyball program even came ready to support breast cancer awareness month!  It was a great way to get the community involved and raise some hard earned money for a great cause. We will surely continue this event in years to come. Go Hounds! "


Ordean East “The Cookie Monsters” Team Named a State Winner in the 13th Annual 

   Ava White, Leah Yates, and Grace Ridgewell, Ordean East Middle School, participated in the Ecybermission STEM Competition in a category related to health and fitness.  They modified cookie recipes with substitute ingredients and then performed taste tests to see if people would enjoy the healthy alternative.  

   Through this web-based competition, students in grades six through nine are challenged with developing a solution to a real-world problem in their local community.  eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the U.S. Army and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, and builds students’ interest and knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  Students compete on state, regional, and national levels for monetary awards.


Duluth East Students are participating in YES!, a group Empowering youth to partner with their community to create economic and environmental vitality through hands-on learning and team-based projects. YES! is a team-oriented youth program that uses hands-on, experiential learning and energy action projects to address energy opportunities and issues in rural Minnesota communities.   YES! student groups represent schools or communities in grades 7 through 12, guided by local adult coaches. Since 2007, the program has engaged 1,794 youth working with over 1,870 businesses, organizations, and community members to accomplish their goals.  These projects have impacted 99,637 community members and 60,627 additional students.  

Click here for a video featuring Duluth East students participating in YES!


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