School News

ISD 709 News

posted Nov 21, 2014, 7:42 AM by Communications ISD 709

Denfeld's 63 National Honor Society students raised over $1,000 for the Second Harvest Food Shelf through the Feeding Local Kids Campaign. Schools across the district participated and, according to event organizer Anne Krafthafer, Denfeld raised the most money for this worthwhile event.


Daredevils  Robotics Team to Compete at the Annual Prior Lake Minne-Mini Regional  

   On Saturday, November 22, 2014, the Duluth East Daredevils will compete at the annual Prior Lake Minne-Mini Regional where they were finalists last year. Competitors will use their robots from the 2014 challenge, Aerial Assist, which involved shooting and passing exercise balls. Participating teams, in addition to practicing their roles and skills on the team, will attend workshops to help benefit specific areas of their team. Spectators will notice improvements on many robots added after spring competitions.

   This scrimmage will help to simulate competition for new team members and give returning members a chance to brush up on their skills before the 2015 Season Kickoff. The new challenge will be revealed worldwide through a live NASA broadcast on Saturday, January 3. The Daredevils will host this Kickoff at UMD.


The FFA Club at Duluth East High School hosted an Urban Ag Day at Congdon Park Elementary School.   FFA students brought lessons and living creatures, helping youngsters learn:

  • about parts of plants, 
  • what qualifies as a vegetable or fruit, 
  • how a tractor moves hay and corn, 
  • how to honk a tractor horn, 
  • how to care for chickens and goats
  • what goat cheese tastes like,
  • and how to make the best taco (the secret is in using local ingredients!) in Duluth.

This was such a fun experience, learning about agriculture in the city!

ISD 709 News

posted Nov 19, 2014, 7:36 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Nov 19, 2014, 8:17 AM ]

Duluth School Board Honors Denfeld, Duluth East Key Clubs

   During their regular November meeting, members of the Duluth Board took time to recognize  the Denfeld and Duluth East High School Key Clubs. 

   Working individually and in partnership, both Key Clubs are making significant contributions to our community. Recently the two Clubs worked together to help collect donations for Life House, an organization dedicated to helping homeless teens.  This Camp In A Box event collected over $3,400.

   The Denfeld Key Club recently celebrated its 30th Anniversary.  They worked to collect over $1,000 for the Feed Local Kids campaign and are collecting items for Operation Christmas Child and Toyland Express.

   The Duluth East Key Club recently helped clean up Lismore Road.  They worked with Kiwanis of Friendly Duluth members as part of the "Adopt a Highway" program.  They’ll be working on Light the Lakewalk with Life House in December and bell ringing for the Salvation Army.

   Key Club is an international student run service organization providing opportunities to build character and develop leadership by creating a better community through acts of service.


Newly Tenured Teachers

  Following three years of rigorous evaluations, observations, in-servicing and mentoring, teachers and administrators who meet district standards and expectations are granted tenure.  This year’s newly tenured teachers were presented to the School Board and received formal recognition at the November 18 School Board meeting.  Congratulations to:Heather Anderson, Jessica Anderson, Brenda Antonich, Jennifer Boyson, Jessica DeMars, Ann Feyen, David Grigg, Jason Helig, Holly Johnson, Tanya Kmiech, Lisa Larson, Cassie Letourneau, Maggie Muller, Shawn Northey, Amanda Pechek, Jennifer Pederson, Mary Perttula, Marie Riesland, Kari Solarz.


Operation Warm :  Firefighters Deliver Jackets to Children

   Representatives from the Duluth Fire Department and Allete began delivering hundreds of new winter jackets to students at ISD 709 schools this week, starting with Myers-Wilkins Elementary. Firefighters raised nearly $30,000 through Operation Warm for this project.


Updates to Transfer Policy Will Take Class Size Into Consideration

   Updates to the current ISD 709 Transfer policy will take into consideration the teacher/student ratio, class size and classroom space when making transfer decisions.  The updates will apply to elementary, middle and high schools.  Application timelines are clarified and the makeup of the Transfer Appeal Board will be changed to include two community members instead of one.


INVITATION:  American Indian Game Night

   Please join us Wednesday November 19 for a night of food, and American Indian culture featuring Ojibwe, Navajo, and Dakota games.  The fun starts at 5:00PM with a light dinner.  Games begin at 5:30PM and are planned to continue until 7:30PM.  

Trepanier Hall, 202 W. 2nd Street, Duluth

Wednesday November 19, 2014

5:00PM - 7:30PM

Everyone is welcome!  Event is free and open to the public.

Please contact Diana Anstett at 336-8940, ext. 4166 with any questions.


In honor of Veterans Day, the Duluth East High School Music Department hosted its 16th Annual Veteran’s Concert,featuring music performed by the Freshman Band, Jazz Ensemble, Concert Band & Wind Ensemble, with special guest members of the East High School Choralaires. 



--The Lincoln Park Middle School Knowledge Bowl team won 2nd Place in regionals!  Sixty-six teams competed regionally and the 24 top teams competed in the tournament. Team members: Alyssa Issacson, Connor Feyen, Jack McCormick, Jon Hultman, and Rachel Skwira-Brown. Congratulations as well to Lincoln Park’s other Knowledge Bowl competitors: Mia Boheim, Hannah Feyen, Garla Gould, Logan Griggs, Keeli Gustafson, Mya Halvorson, Adrianna Hudyma, Nicole McGinn,Phoenix Ocean, Quinten Rimolde, Emily Tusken, and Autumn Zierman.

--Laura MacArthur Elementary's Artists of the Month showed hard work and dedication in Mrs. Valento's art room.  These students were focused and put forth their best effort while completing steps in a process.  Congratulations!

October 2014:  Kirsten Jaudines, Charlie Juntunen, Georgia Owen, Tyler Stuart  

November 2014:  Clementine Eugenis, Kaitlyn Johnson, Gabe Johnson, Zak McPhee, Mackenzie Kuehnow, Abby Gruhot, Tyler Nevala, Emma VanGuilder, Dakota Thompsonl, Bryan Dillion, Isabel Jimenez, Landon Uotinen, Abby Grafmyre, Ashton Running, Jaycie McCracken, Darren Turcott

ISD 709 News

posted Nov 12, 2014, 8:59 AM by Communications ISD 709

Nomination Deadline November 15 for 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

   Everyone remembers a favorite teacher, someone who motivates and inspires students for a lifetime. Minnesotans have the opportunity again this fall to nominate that unique educator for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

   Nominations remain open through Nov. 15. Nominations can be submitted online by accessing a simple nomination form or submitting a PDF form.  The 2015 Teacher of the Year will be named at a ceremony May 3, 2015. The Minnesota Teacher of the Year also becomes Minnesota’s candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

   Eligible nominees must meet these criteria:

  • Teach in a public or nonpublic pre-K through 12th-grade school, working at least 50 percent of the time directly with students.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree and a Minnesota teaching license.
  • Have completed three years of teaching by the nomination deadline.
  • Intend to teach during the 2015-16 school year.

   Anyone may nominate a teacher. Self-nominations are also accepted.

   The state program has been highly successful nationally – Minnesota ranks second behind California with four National Teachers of the Year.

   For more information or to receive a nomination form, call Kieren Steinhoff at 651-292-4865 or 800-652-9073.


Duluth East Students Host Walk to Raise Awareness of Bullying

  Duluth East High School students organized a “Path to Peace” walk in November to raise awareness of the issues surrounding bullying behavior. Students, staff and citizens walked from Sister City Park to the Duluth Public Library where speakers, including ISD 709 Superintendent Bill Gronseth, talked about the prevalence of bullying and current efforts to educate the community and effectively prevent, identify and respond to bullying.  


Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Open to the Public

   Enjoy gourmet salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts at Duluth's student-run restaurant Food for Thought, located at East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East.  Entrees range from $7 to $14 and are prepared and served by Denfeld and East Culinary Arts students under the supervision of Chef Glenn D'Amour, CEC.

--Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Please plan to arrive between 11:20AM - 11:30AM for seating.

--Reservations are required: reserve and preorder at least 24 hours in advance by calling 218-336-8845 ext. 4055.

--For details and a full menu click here or go to, choose the Duluth East website and click the link at the top of the page.

--Upcoming Features (served with choice of soup or salad, homemade focaccia bread and choice of beverage.):

·         November 11, 12, 13: French Herb Crusted Rack of Pork for $11

·         November 18, 19, 20: Beef Wellington for $14

·         November 25, 26: Fennel Roasted Pork Prime Rib for $11


Duluth Public Library | Downtown Family Volunteer Day

A day of service for families who want to volunteer and an expo of local organizations looking for family volunteers!

Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior Street

Saturday, November 22, 1:00PM-4:00PM

REGISTER YOUR FAMILY Sign-up online to volunteer for one of the family-friendly projects at

PROJECT 1: Learn Hands-Only CPR from the Duluth Fire Department, volunteer slots available at 1PM, 2PM & 3PM.

PROJECT 2:  Screen books for the Big Red Bookshelf, volunteer slots available at 1PM, 2PM & 3PM.

PROJECT 3: Create holiday cards and placemats for local senior centers and food shelves, volunteer slots available 1-4PM.

EXPLORE THE EXPO!  Connect with local organizations to learn how your family can get involved!

Featured Booths:

Great Lakes Aquarium, Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank

Questions? 218-730-4334 or



--Three Lincoln Park Middle School teams did well in recent Knowledge Bowl competitions!  They participated in three regional meets against about 20 teams in Mt. Iron and consistently placed in the top 5 for each meet.  Most recently, at a Knowledge Bowl held November 4, the teams earned second, third, and fourth places.  Congratulations and good luck to these talented students as they prepare for their next Knowledge Bowl: Hannah F, Mia B, Mya H, Keeli G, Carla G, Emily T, Connor F, Rachel S, Alyssa I, Jack M, John H, Quinten R, Nicole M, Autumn Z, Adrianna H, Phoenix O, Logan G.

--Calling last month “Socktober,” fifth grade students from Congdon Park Elementary collected 1,199 pairs of new

socks for donation to those in need.  Students and staff brought socks to school during the entire month of October, collecting and recording numbers of pairs.  Students and Principal Kathi Kusch Marshall then delivered the socks to CHUM and Kids Closet.  A heartfelt “Thank You” to the Congdon Park School Community for their generosity!

--Lia Saari, Duluth East Side Steppers Dance Team, has been named to Team Minnesota , comprised of top dancers in the state, and will be traveling to Hollywood, California in March 2015 to compete at the National level.  Six members of the East Side Steppers : Kate Locker, Kaitlin Lake, Ashley Castleman, Bailey Swor, Lia Saari  and Reese Nicklin,  competed in the  Miss Minnesota Dance Team competition in October. 

Best of Minnesota 9th grade division - 3rd Place -Reese Nicklin

Best of Minnesota 11th grade division – 3rd Place/Lia Saari, 5th Place/Bailey Swor

Miss Dance Team is dance based competition, open to all current members of Minnesota dance teams who exhibit  good character, intelligence, poise, health and fitness . Winners go on to compete at the National level in California.

ISD 709 News

posted Nov 7, 2014, 7:40 AM by Communications ISD 709

ISD 709 Annual Report for the Community Available Online

Many thanks to all who helped make our first Annual Meeting a great success!

Click here to view the Annual Report Video, read the full 2014 Annual Report and share your thoughts and advice.


INVITATION: Duluth East HS Path to Peace Walk to Raise Awareness About Bullying

Saturday November 8, 2014

Beginning in Sister City Park (above Endion Station)

10:00AM Walk

10:45AM Social Hour

11:15AM Program

Wear blue to show support!


INVITATION:  Join the Community Conversation on Bullying Behavior

Share your thoughts and ideas about how to handle bullying behavior. What's working well, what could be improved for preventing and responding.  Input will be considered as ISD 709 policies and procedures are updated.

Tuesday November 11

Myers-Wilkins Elementary 

1027 N. 8th Avenue East

6:30PM - 8:00PM

*Listening Circle from 6:00PM - 6:30PM

Free childcare, must pre-register: 218-336-8700 x1172


Students Share Art Work at Duluth’s All Soul’s Night Event

Lincoln Park Middle School and Laura MacArthur Elementary students created artwork for Duluth's All Soul's Night, a community celebration to commemorate those who have passed away.  Students from both schools created pieces in their art classes and displayed it at The Depot event. Art teachers Ann Price and Chrissy Valento worked with the students on this project.

ISD 709 News

posted Nov 5, 2014, 8:17 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Nov 5, 2014, 11:52 AM ]

You Are Cordially Invited:
ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community
Thursday November 6, 2014
6:00PM - 6:30PM: Student, School Displays & Performance
6:30PM - 7:00PM: Annual Report Overview
7:00PM - 7:30PM: Reception with Light Refreshments
Lincoln Park Middle School
3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN
Superintendent Loses Beard to Help Buy Warm Coats for Children  
   Five local men, including Superintendent Bill Gronseth, put their facial hair on the line to help raise funds for Operation Warm, a program that provides new winter coats for children.  He pledged to lose the beard if he raised $2,500 for this worthy cause.  Thanks to many generous people, donations reached over $2,900 to see him take it all off and he did, with the help of a celebrity shaver, during an event held at Bent Paddle Brewery in Duluth.  
   Superintendent Gronseth expressed his thanks to everyone who helped support Operation Warm, an event that raised nearly $30,000 to help buy new coats for children.  
Myers-Wilkins Elementary welcomes families and the community to the 16th annual
Steps to the Future Powwow
Thursday November 13, 4:30PM – 7:30PM
Myers-Wilkins Elementary School
1027 North 8th Avenue East, Duluth
4:30PM Career Booths Open
5:00PM Feast
6:00PM Grand Entry
Invited Drums:  Little Horse, Stormy Day, Rising Wind
(Note:  only invited drums and dancers in regalia will receive honoraria)
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
No drugs or alcohol.
Event is free and open to the public.
For more information:  Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative 336-8700 x2459
Miigwetch – Muchas Gracias – Thank you to event sponsors:  Blue Cross Blue Shield foundation, College of St. Scholastica, CDBG, City of Duluth Parks and Recreation, Essentia Health Corporate Giving, MDE 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Minnesota Power Foundation, Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative, ISD #709 Office of Education Equity, ISD #709 Office of Indian Education, Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, Myers-Wilkins Elementary School, Northland Foundation, Ordean Foundation, UMD Office of Civic Engagement, United Way of Greater Duluth, Whole Foods Co-op and individual contributions.

Lights On Afterschool Event
   The ISD 709 and Duluth YMCA KeyZone program, Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative, Valley Youth Center, True North Americorps and Duluth elementary school students gathered at Enger Park this month to celebrate Lights On Afterschool.  The Duluth event was one of more than 8,000 events across the nation, which helps raise awareness of the importance of after school programs and encourage more investment in them. 

True North Americorps Positions Available 
   True North AmeriCorps is hiring part-time service positions in local elementary schools. Serve approximately 5-6 hours per day during the school day or in the after school program. These positions will serve a caseload students in Kindergarten through 5th grade, administering academic interventions to children identified as needing extra support. Members will also support after-school programming through homework help and enrichment activities.
Service Dates: November 16, 2014 – August 15, 2015
Part-time: Serve 920 hours (22-25 hours/week). Earn approximately $500/month, a YMCA membership, opportunities for professional development and connecting to the community, and a $2822.50 education award upon successful completion of the program.
Qualifications: To be eligible for True North AmeriCorps, applicants must be 18 years of age by the start of the program, must have a high school diploma or equivalent and must be either a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
Apply online today at: or contact True North AmeriCorps at 722-4745 x123 for more information.
--The Duluth East Girls Cross Country Team placed 10th at State this month. Runners include: Phoebe Koski, Aria Plewa, Lauren Dynek,  Kelly Canavan, Isabella Sutherland, Nora Vos, and Molly Weberg.   Thank you to the many the Greyhound Fans that travelled to Northfield to cheer - you did a wonderful job representing East High School positively at State!  

--Members of the Duluth East Key Club helped clean up Lismore Road this month.  They worked with Kiwanis of Friendly Duluth members as part of the "Adopt a Highway" program.  

--Jake DeCaro, Denfeld High School, was named to the Minnesota All State team by the MN High School Soccer Coaches Association.  He’s been invited to play in the State Senior All Star Game on November 6th in St. Paul.  Jacob played defense for the Hunters and has been part of the program since he was an 8th grader on JV.
--Scott Anderson has been named the Section 7A Boys Soccer Coach of the Year by the MN High School Soccer Coaches Association. He’s been head coach at Denfeld for 20 years and with the program for 21 years.  

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 30, 2014, 8:57 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Oct 30, 2014, 12:11 PM ]


Denfeld and Duluth East students teamed up to form the ISD 709 MSHSL Debate Team, coached by Jill Lofald.  In its first year, the team is already seeing successFlannery White took 7th place out of over 75 debaters during an event at the State Capitol and four students received awards at the St. Francis High School Tournament:  Skyler Nelson, Paul Manning, Jude Goossens and Danielle Slotness.


Duluth School Board Honors School Progress in Student Achievement

   Minnesota measures progress in raising achievement and closing the achievement gap in part through Multiple

Measurement Ratings and Focus Ratings.  Overall, most ISD 709 schools increased their MMR, FR or both.   It takes significant planning, collaboration, support and hard work from people inside and outside our schools to make these gains.

   The goal nationally, in Minnesota, and here in Duluth, is to raise achievement for all students, and to make greater gains more quickly for those students who experience an achievement gap.

   This month, the Minnesota Department of Education recognized several Title I schools for their progress in this regard.  They designated Lincoln Park, Piedmont and Stowe as Continuous Improvement Schools. Laura MacArthur Elementary was recognized as a Reward School, among the highest performing schools in the state. 

   The Duluth School Board recognized these schools for their progress at the regular October meeting.



November PTSA Community Program Presentation

Parent Involvement And Diversity in our Schools

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 6:30PM - 8:00PM  Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 West 3rd Street, Duluth


Minnesota, US Departments of Agriculture Highlight ISD 709 Farm to School Program

   Representatives from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

toured the Piedmont Elementary kitchen and cafeteria this week, highlighting 2014 Farm to School Grant recipients in Minnesota.  The Farm to School program helps districts purchase and prepare local foods while educating students about health and nutrition choices.  The goal is to purchase 20 percent of their food locally by 2020.

   At Piedmont, ISD 709 used a portion of grant funds to purchase a robot coupe, knives and cutting boards to help increase creative use of local fruits, vegetables and meats.     


Denfeld Key Club Celebrates 30 Years of Service

Port of Duluth and Spirit Valley Kiwanis Clubs hosted a 30th Anniversary Celebration for the Denfeld Key Club, featuring keynote speaker Col. Penny Dieryck.  Key Club is an international student run service organization providing opportunities to build character and develop leadership. Denfeld Key Club’s charter date was February 29, 1984.   


ISD 709 Construction Tech Students Building Garage in Lakeside

    Construction Technology courses provide students a hands-on experience in various       construction occupations to include carpentry, electrical, plumbing, heating, sheet           rocking, taping, painting and cabinet installation.  Advanced courses continue                 instruction in home construction, project management, building layout, planning and         cost estimation.


Duluth East High School Hall of Fame Honors Inductees

   Five outstanding individuals were inducted into the Duluth East High School Hall of Fame during a special ceremony in October. The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding achievements made by community leaders, athletes, coaches, advisors, and teachers from East High School.

   2014 Hall Of Fame Inductees include:

   Robert Burrows:  Taught music, directing many musicals and operettas, advising Glee Club and “The Modernaires.” 

During a second phase in his career he taught history and English.  The Burrows Scholarship is named in his honor. 

   Lester Crystal:  News writer for KDAL Radio and TV, joined NBC in Chicago and was transferred to New York, becoming the first news editor and associate producer of the Huntley-Brinkley Report.  President of NBC News from 1977-79, joined PBS in 1983 as Executive Producer of The News Hour,” receiving a Peabody Award and multiple Emmy Awards.

   Sheryl Jensen:  Taught English and theater, her production of "The Taming of the Shrew" won Bravo's National High School Theatre Competition.  Reader and consultant for the College Board for A.P. English, an Adjunct Professor for the UMD Theater Department, a Community Theater Director, and finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.  Member of the Board of Directors for WDSE/WRPT PBS, the Bluebird Foundation and Managing Editor of the Woman Today magazine.  

   Sherman Moe:  Taught a variety of social studies classes, coached boys' basketball and girls' track, named Region 7AA Coach of the Year, inducted as a member of the Moorehead State University's Hall of Fame.  Senator Mark Dayton named him a Minnesota Favorite Teacher, and he was listed in the U. S. Senate's Congressional Record. 

   Mary Vos:  Librarian, actively involved in coaching girls' swimming and co-advising the Association, named Girls' Swim Team Coach of the Year.  Volunteered  in the Career Center and with the Music Department following retirement, founded the Burrows Scholarship Committee and served as its first Treasurer.

   Check the Duluth East Foundation website for more detail about these amazing graduates of Duluth East High School:

   For a list of 2014 Denfeld Hall of Fame inductees (announced in August), visit


School Board Meeting Coverage Moves to Channel 187 on Cable

   Charter Communications upgraded their cable services from analog to digital for the Duluth area.  In the process, ISD 709’s public access channel moved from Channel 22 to Channel 187.  Look for live coverage of regular monthly School Board meetings on Channel187.  Board meetings are also available online at

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 23, 2014, 3:14 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Oct 23, 2014, 3:15 PM ]

You Are Cordially Invited:

ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community

Thursday November 6, 2014

6:00PM - 6:30PM: Student, School Displays & Performance

6:30PM - 7:00PM: Annual Report Overview

7:00PM - 7:30PM: Reception with Light Refreshments

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN


ISD 709 Community Conversations on Bullying Behavior

   Share your thoughts and ideas about how to handle bullying behavior. What is currently working well and what could be improved for preventing bullying behavior and responding when it happens. Input will be considered as bullying policies and procedures are updated and we work to improve our safe and welcoming schools.

Monday November 3:  Denfeld HS Media Center, 401 North 44thAvenue West, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Wednesday November 5:  Ordean East MS Media Center, 2900 East Fourth Street, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Tuesday November 11: Myers-Wilkins ES Media Center, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

*A Listening Circle will be available at each session for those interested from 6-6:30pm*

Free Childcare Available, Must Pre-Register: 218-336-8700 x1172


Teachers Train in October

  This month, hundreds of  ISD 709 teachers attended an all-day training session, held at Duluth East High School.  Training opportunities included sessions on the achievement gap in Duluth;  positive behavior interventions and supports to prevent and remediate bullying behavior;  research based literacy strategies; college and career readiness, in-class academic interventions, content literacy, curriculum review by content, a diverse voices community panel and much more. 


Public Auction:  ISD 709 Surplus Equipment, Furniture

Saturday November 1, 11:00AM

330 ½ Garfield Avenue, Duluth

Huge auction includes cabinets, shelving, lots of restaurant/kitchen equipment, oak tables, file cabinets, kids wooden chairs, folding chairs, wooden glass door display case, electric grinder with stand, wooden book cases, oak wall cabinets with doors, snowblowers, parking lot vacuums, much, much more.

Inspection:  Friday October 31, 12Noon – 3:00PM

Removal:  No later than Tuesday November 4

Go to for photos and more listings

For Information:  Nordic Auction, 218/525-4511, 218/390-3035


Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed October 20 – 25 Early Childhood Family Education Week in Minnesota.  ECFE celebrates its 40th Anniversary in Minnesota, offering classes, home visits and other educational services for families with children from prenatal to third grade.  ECFE works to strengthen and support families by offering parent and early childhood education so parents can provide the best possible environment for their children’s learning and development. 


The first annual David K Memorial 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament will be held at Duluth East High School on Saturday, November 1, 2014.  For $45, teams of 4 or 5 (4 recommended) can compete against other teams from around the area.  The event is hosted by Duluth East Boys Basketball, proceeds benefit EBA Youth Basketball Scholarships.  REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  October 27.  Registration forms available online at

For more information:



-Denfeld and Duluth East Key Club students slept outside in cardboard boxes to help raise awareness of homelessness and collect funds to benefit Life House, a local organization supporting homeless and at-risk youth. The event raised over $3,400. Key Club is a service program for high school students, providing opportunities to build character and develop leadership. Life House helps at-risk, homeless kids become healthy, positive adults. Services provide youth ages 14-20 with access to hot meals, shelter, and programs that help kids succeed in housing, jobs, school and health goals.

-- Bill Hanson, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of Business Services, is the recipient of the Southwest MN State University Alumni Achievement Award.  The Award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions of time, talent or financial resources to help advance and bring positive recognition to SMSU.  This Award is presented to a graduate in recognition of their remarkable professional success.

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 15, 2014, 1:23 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 1:24 PM ]

Raising Awareness of Bullying in Duluth

ISD 709 and the City of Duluth are partnering to raise awareness of bullying and help provide children and adults with the tools and resources necessary to end bullying in local communities.

Film Screening & Community Conversation On Bullying

Mayor Don Ness and ISD 709 Superintendent Bill Gronseth invite you to attend the screening of BULLY and engage in a discussion about efforts being made to address bullying and ways we can work together to make Duluth a bully-free community. 

Date: Thursday October 30, 2014, 6:00PM – 9:00 PM

Where: Clyde Iron Works, 2920 W Michigan Street

Cost:  FREE (and light refreshments will be provided)

Free Childcare Available, Must Pre-Register:  218-336-8700 x1172


6:00PM Doors Open, Listening Circles/Resource Tables

6:30PM Welcome and Opening Comments

7:00PM Documentary Film Screening “Bully” and Discussion

--Prevention and Remediation Ideas, Ways to Become Involved in Community and Schools, Tools, Tips & Other Resources, Small Groups & Resource Tables

9:00PM Closing Comments 

ISD 709 Community Conversations on Bullying Behavior

Share your thoughts and ideas about how to handle bullying behavior. What is currently working well and what could be improved for preventing bullying behavior and responding when it happens.  Input will be considered as bullying policies and procedures are updated and we work to improve our safe and welcoming schools.  

Monday November 3:  Denfeld HS Media Center, 401 North 44th Avenue West, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Wednesday November 5:  Ordean East MS Media Center, 2900 East Fourth Street, 6:30PM – 8:00PM  

Tuesday November 11: Myers-Wilkins ES Media Center, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

*A Listening Circle will be available at each session for those interested from 6-6:30pm*

Free Childcare Available, Must Pre-Register:  218-336-8700 x1172


Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Opens October 21!

   Enjoy gourmet salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts at Duluth's student-run restaurant Food for Thought, located at

East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East.

   Entrees range from $7 to $14 and are prepared and served by Denfeld and East Culinary Arts students under the supervision of Chef Glenn D'Amour, CEC.

--Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning October 21.  Please plan to arrive between 11:20AM - 11:30AM for seating.

--Reservations are required: reserve and preorder at least 24 hours in advance by calling 218-336-8845 ext. 4055.

--For details and a full menu click here or go to, choose the Duluth East website and click the link at the top of the page.

--Upcoming Features:

·  October 21, 22, 23: BBQ Baby Back Style Ribs for $10

·  October 28, 29, 30: Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings for $10

·  November 4, 5, 6:  Tuscan Roast Leg of Lamb for $11

·  November 11, 12, 13:  French Herb Crusted Rack of Pork for $11

Weekly features are served with choice of soup or salad, homemade focaccia bread and choice of beverage. 


Trick or Treat to Feed Local Kids

   This Halloween, many children will be working to help others as they do their annual trick or treating.  As part of the Feed Local Kids initiative, they’ll carry specially labeled collection bags and ask for donations for the CHUM Food Shelf and the Second Harvest Backpack Program to help fight hunger in Duluth.  About 1500 collection bags are being distributed for this event.  Denfeld National Honor Society students are helping count and label the collection bags, Key Club members from Denfeld and Duluth East will help sort donations.     

For more information:


2014 Transition Resource Fairs – Moving On II

   ISD 709 and the Interagency Coordination Council of Duluth (ICCOD) are jointly offering two Transition Resource Fairs in October.  The fairs provide high school students with disabilities and their families with information regarding transition and post high school resources.   Students on 504 plans and their families are also welcome to attend.

--Monday October 20:  Denfeld High School, 401 North 44th Avenue West,  1:40PM -6:00PM

--Monday October 27:  Duluth East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East, 1:40PM – 6:00PM

   Representatives from area post-secondary education options, employment and supported employment providers, social service and community organizations that offer services and supports to young adults with disabilities will be present to talk about their programs and answer questions.

   Contact Al Chepelnik at 336-8700 X4047 or Heidi Morris at 336-8740 for more information.  


Middle School Students Experience Urban Wilderness Day

   Students from Lincoln Park and Ordean East Middle Schools participated in Urban Wilderness Day, a field trip highlighting the St. Louis River Estuary and its watershed.  Students rotated through different stations sponsored by several agencies all pertaining to the estuary and the environment.  The non-profit Wilderness Inquiry provided an opportunity for students to paddle voyageur style canoes, and a few Lincoln Park students paddled with Mayor Don Ness.  Approximately 500 students from Lincoln and Ordean East participated. 


Duluth East High School Performing Arts presents  Little Shop of Horrors

   The delightfully devilish sci-fi Broadway musical smash hit featuring a giant man eating plant, a trio of singing ladies and outlandish characters is going to leave you begging for more.  The plot spins around Seymour, a geeky floral assistant who comes across a new breed of plant that promises to take him and his lady crush from the slums of Skid Row, but not without a steep price.

   Little Shop of Horrors is directed by Peter Froehlingsdorf and features a talented cast and crew of Duluth East Performing Arts students.  Evening performances November 6-8 at 7:30PM and a matinee show November 9  at 2:00PM at the Ordean East Little Theatre Auditorium, 2900 East Fourth Street.  Tickets:  $15 for adults, $10 for students.


New Legislation Requires ACT Tests for MN Students  

   In November 2014, all Minnesota students in 10th grade will take the ACT Plan.  The ACT Plan is part

of the new Career and College Assessments (CCA) required by state legislation passed in 2013 to meet graduation testing requirements.   The test provides information to grade 10 students, parents, and educators about students’ achievement in Reading, English, Mathematics, and Science.  The assessment also includes a career interest survey. 

   In April 2015, the ACT Plus Writing will be given to all 11th grade students across Minnesota.  The test is a required graduation assessment that provides information to grade 11 students, parents, and educators regarding the level of preparedness for post-secondary success on a nationally recognized college entrance exam. 

   Both assessments are new graduation requirements, so it’s important that all students in grades 10 and 11 participate. High school counselors and principals are participating in a training session this month to help prepare for the April test administration. 



--Jay Roesler, Director of ISD 709 Community Education, co-chaired the planning committee for the 2014 Minnesota Community Education Association (MCEA) Fall Conference held at the DECC. The annual conference attracts about 400 community educators from across the state.  Program topics include early childhood and school readiness, out of school time programs and youth development, adult learning and recreation, community partnerships and use of school facilities, senior programs and more. 

-- The Northland Foundation has approved a grant for $60,000 to ISD 709 for the Youth Success Team Grant.  Funding will provide academic and behavioral support and interventions which rely upon the assistance of Americorps workers.

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 9, 2014, 12:48 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Oct 10, 2014, 8:33 AM ]

Parents, Teachers, Community Members, Staff, Students 

Please Save The Date:

ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community

Thursday November 6, 2014

6:00PM - 6:30PM Student, School Displays   

6:30PM - 7:00PM Annual Report Overview

7:00PM - 7:30PM Reception with Light Refreshments

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN 

Featuring Displays of Student Work and Performance


MN Governor Visits Congdon Park Elementary

   This week Governor Mark Dayton visited an All Day Kindergarten class at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth, reading to the students and answering questions.  The Governor then took time to participate in a roundtable discussion about K-12 education with the principal, teachers, parent leaders and district administration.


Students from Lester Park, Lowell and Stowe Elementary Schools are winners in the Duluth Fire Department’s Fire Safety Contest and received a ride to school in a fire truck this week!  The winners were randomly selected from over 300 students who qualified by completing a fire safety checklist with their family.  The checklist included verifying their homes had a working smoke alarm and escape plan.  


Lincoln Park Middle School Students Participate in National Walk to School Day

   Hundreds of students and staff from Lincoln Park Middle School took part in the

National Walk to School Day event this week. Students met at Wheeler Field in Duluth and walked the trail to school in teams.  Congdon Park and Myers-Wilkins schools also held Walk events.

   National Walk to School Day is designed as a first step to change community culture and to create options for getting around that are inviting for everyone. Walking to school helps promote healthy habits, is easier on the environment, promotes safety and can be fun.


ISD 709 Construction Technology Program Seeks Residential Construction Projects

   The ISD 709 Construction Technology  program is seeking building projects  (i.e.,) houses, additions, garages,  sheds, remodeling,  to be used as an instructional experience for the Construction Technology students of the Duluth Public Schools for the (2015-2016 school year).   The ideal location would be within a 5 mile radius from either East or Denfeld high schools.  Please call the instructor, Mr. Leone at 218-336-8830 x 4082 or email him at


The Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team will participate at the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra’s “New Frontiers” Concert Saturday October 11. The Daredevils will be the featured School Spotlight group. They’ll be in the lobby before the concert and on the mezzanine during intermission with some of their past robots. Their award winning robot Archie, who attended the 2011 FIRST World Championship, will participate with the symphony for an on-stage surprise during the performance.  The concert begins at 7 PM at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).


Laura MacArthur Student Artwork To Be Featured at UMD Concert

  Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 at Laura MacArthur Elementary School created artwork while listening

to Beethoven's 5th Symphony in Mrs.Valento's art classes. Their artwork will be projected on a large screen while UMD Orchestra students perform the music of Beethoven on November 5 & 8, 2014, at Weber Music Hall. This concert will be conducted by Rudy Perrault, Director of Orchestras at UMD.


Operation Warm – New Coats for Children In Need

   Operation Warm provides new winter jackets to kids in need.  Duluth firefighters are working to raise $10,000 to buy jackets for 300 Duluth children.  Five men, including ISD 709 Superintendent Bill Gronseth, have offered to shave their beards if enough money is raised for this project! 

More Information at


ISD 709 Academic Excellence Online High School Accepting Students

   Academic Excellence Online (AEO) offers comprehensive and supplemental online courses to students in grades 9-12 for the 2014-2015 school year. The Minnesota Department of Education approved AEO this fall and the online school, which includes courses taught by local teachers, looks forward to serving students throughout the Northland.

   For more information:



--Elizabeth Bergh and Lucy Billings, Denfeld High School, and Sarah Baker, Jacob Carlson, Yugi Chen, Sydney Nelson and Kier Zimmerman, Duluth East High School, have been named Commended Students in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.  About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise by placing in the top 5% of the more than 1.5 million students who took the 2013 PSAT exam. 

--Alexander Sconiers-Hasan, Duluth East High School, has been named an Outstanding Participant in the 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program, an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding Black American high school students.  Approximately 3,100 outstanding 2015 National Achievement Program participants are brought to the attention of about 1,500 four-year colleges and universities in the United States.

ISD 709 News

posted Sep 30, 2014, 5:02 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 8:18 AM ]

2014 ISD 709 State Multiple Measurement and Focus Rating Results

Laura MacArthur Elementary Named a Reward School;  State Recognizes Progress at Lincoln Park, Piedmont

    On October 1, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will release Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) and Focus Ratings (FR) for all schools, including Duluth. 
    Overall, most ISD 709 schools increased their FR, MMR, or both.

    The State recognized Laura MacArthur Elementary as a Reward School for their gains in achievement and closing the achievement gap. MDE recognized improvement at Lincoln Park Middle School and Piedmont Elementary School, changing their designation from Focus to Continuous Improvement schools. They join Stowe Elementary which also saw substantial gains in achievement and remains a Continuous Improvement school.

    Superintendent Bill Gronseth attributes the growth to school leadership, parent and community support, structured time for teacher collaboration, ongoing review of individual student data and identifying appropriate interventions and increased funding, among other strategies.

     "It takes a lot of planning, collaboration, support and hard work from people inside and outside our schools to make these gains," says Gronseth.  "With a continued focus on the classroom, access to community support and the right combination of human resources I know it’s possible for all of Duluth’s schools to reach high levels of student achievement.”

    MDE designated Lowell Elementary as a Focus School, which entitles them to receive additional State guidance to implement best educational practices as they develop their locally-driven school improvement plan. The State identifies a set percentage of Title I schools as Focus and Priority schools, those showing the largest achievement gaps and lowest proficiency for one or more groups of students. Priority, Focus, Continuous Improvement and Reward designations are given only to schools receiving federal Title I funds.

How MMR is calculated:

  • MMR uses results from the 2014 Reading and Math MCA, MTAS and MCA-Modified tests.

  • For elementary and middle schools, MMR is a calculation combining achievement gap reduction, proficiency, and individual student growth.

  • For high schools the calculation includes 4-year, on-time graduation rates.

  • MMR takes into consideration the performance of sub groups within the student body

  • MMR is used to identify Priority schools, Continuous Improvement schools, and Reward schools

How FR is calculated:

  • FR uses results from the 2014 Reading and Math MCA, MTAS and MCA-Modified tests.

  • FR is a calculation combining achievement gap reduction and focused proficiency.

  • Like MMR, FR takes into consideration the performance of sub groups within the student body

  • FR is used to identify Focus schools


2013 MMR

2014 MMR

2014 MMR


2013 FR

2014 FR

2014 FR


Laura MacArthur














Lincoln Park





















Ordean East





















Merritt Creek Academy














Area Learning Center







Lester Park







Chester Creek Academy





























Working to Help All Students Achieve Success

What is the “achievement gap?”

    It’s the difference in test scores and on-time graduation rates sometimes experienced by students of color, students from low income households, students with limited English proficiency or students receiving special education services.


What happened in 2013-14?

    In ISD 709 these student groups increased proficiency on state tests, which is good news. Their growth rates were, in some cases, outpaced by students who are not of color, not living in poverty, not receiving special education services and non-ELL students. So, while student achievement overall is increasing, in some cases the achievement gap also increased.


Achievement Strategies

  • A focused effort is being made at both the school and district level to work toward community goals identified through Think Kids and the 4-Year Continuous Improvement Plan.

  • Action steps include, but are not limited to, ongoing review of individual student data, before and after school tutoring, leveraging parent and community support, and working in partnership with groups such as True North Americorps, Minnesota Alliance for Youth Promise Fellows.

  • Results in several schools demonstrate the power of teachers working together to address student needs. This year all teachers will have this opportunity through Professional Learning Communities.

  • Investments have been made in curriculum alignment and updated materials to help meet student needs.

  • Investments are also being made in high quality training opportunities for teachers, geared toward increasing student success.

  • Poverty and racism can impact the success of young people. While these are complex and challenging issues, it is important we take them on as a community. In the long run our city will benefit.

  • Working collaboratively with citizens and local leaders is key to leveraging resources to ensure the success of all of Duluth’s youth.

School and district leaders will continue to review and adjust strategies throughout the school year.

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