School News

ISD 709 News

posted Feb 3, 2016, 6:29 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Feb 3, 2016, 6:30 AM ]

Next Year’s Budget Planning Includes Cost Reduction

4% or about $3.3 million from projected $87 Million 2017 General Fund/Unrestricted Costs

   Increased funding from the State, approved in 2013, has helped school district General Fund revenues keep up with expenses for nearly three years.  It has provided a much needed reprieve from nearly two decades of annually reducing General Fund costs to achieve a balanced budget.

   Funding has helped contribute to curriculum updates, investment in staff training, maintaining competitive teacher and staff contracts and more while maintaining a balanced budget.  

   As district leaders review preliminary figures for fiscal year 2017 General Fund/Unrestricted budget planning, revenues are projected to be lower than expenses.  Part of the budget planning process for FY 2017 will include reducing the projected $87 million General Fund costs by about $3.3 million (about 4%) in order to maintain a balanced budget.

   It's expected that Education Levy investments in managing class size, supporting student achievement and updating curriculum will remain in place for next year.  District, school and teacher leaders will be looking primarily for costs outside the classroom and those that would have the least impact on the classroom.

   The School Board approves any necessary adjustments to next year’s budget in March; a final budget is approved in June per State Statute.  The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2016.

   Information regarding the budget process will be available at and shared through regular ISD 709 News communication venues.


Duluth East Theater Students Advance to Sections!

   The Duluth East One Act Play Contest submission "Dear Finder" will move on to MSHSL Sections in Cambridge, MN this week.  This award-winning documentary play about the Holocaust was performed at Duluth East High School thirteen years after its premiere performance at UMD. 


2016 Kindergarten Roundup March 16 – April 1

   Kindergarten Roundup is a time to visit school, meet the teachers and principal, and register your child for the September 2016 school year.  Click here for a complete list of dates, times and more information.


2016 Hockey Day Minnesota – February 6

   Hockey Day Minnesota activities take place Saturday February 6 at Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth. 

8:00AM - Gates Open 

10:00AM - Denfeld vs. Eveleth-Gilbert

1:00PM - Duluth East vs. Lakeville North

4:00PM - Wild Sled Hockey

5:30PM - PeeWee AA: Duluth East vs. Stillwater

7:00PM - Duluth Police vs. Duluth Firefighters

 Details and ticket information at:


Funds Available for Creative Classroom Ideas/Projects: DPS Endowment Grant – Due March 1, 2016

   The Duluth Public Schools Fund annually reviews proposals and recommends grant awards (ranging from $500 to $2,000) for projects by teachers that encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom. The fund is managed and invested independently through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.
   Since its inception, the Fund has awarded over a quarter of a million dollars in grants to nearly 100 teachers, principals, and specialists improving learning experiences for students.   Applications are due March 1, 2016.
For detailed information about how to apply and application forms:
To see previous creative projects that received a DPS Fund Grant:


Once a Week, Take A Peek

   Head lice can be an uncomfortable but common issue among children.  An estimated 6 to 12 million infestations occur each year among U.S. children 3 to 11 years of age. Head lice do not carry diseases.  Personal hygiene or household or school cleanliness are not factors for infestation. Lice do not jump or fly; they only move by crawling. They spread mostly by direct head-to-head contact. 

   As a matter of routine, families should check their child’s head regularly for signs of head lice - especially elementary school-age children.  

   If head lice are found in your child's hair or scalp, please talk with your school nurse, pediatrician or family physician to get appropriate care.  There are a number of new prescription treatment options that are safe and easy to use.  There's no scientific evidence that home remedies are effective treatments. 

   Head lice are a nuisance but manageable.  Remember – Once a Week, Take a Peek!

   Check the MN Department of Health for more


ISD 709 News

posted Jan 29, 2016, 2:04 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Jan 29, 2016, 2:05 PM ]

Denfeld  Students Take 1st  Place in Regional Music Listening Competition!

   Karen Boynton, Dawkin Erceg, and Taylor Johnson (coached by music teacher Clare Chopp) took first place in the 2016 Minnesota High School Region 1 Music Listening Contest held at Weber Music Hall in January.  The team advances to the State Competition at Augsburg College in February.


Our Schools.  Our Community.  Our Future.

   Duluth citizens help create schools that welcome children, inspire them and educate them for the future through annual Think Kids conversations February 24 – March 17.  

    2016 Discussion includes:

  • What's going well and what could be done better 
  • Student achievement, school climate, finance
  • Updates to the District-wide Continuous Improvement Plan
  • Student engagement strategies

Take Part in a Think Kids Community Meeting If you can’t make your neighborhood meeting, feel free to attend at another location. 


Generous Donation Made to Duluth East Orchestra Program

   Duluth East High School is the recipient of a $1,500 donation check from Kellogg’s thanks to local Duluth resident William Keller.  Mr. Keller obtained the donation through the Kellogg’s Back to School Text-to-Win sweepstakes. Not only did Mr. Keller designate the donation to Duluth East, he then matched it with a personal donation of $1,500.  Both donations will benefit the Duluth East Orchestra program.  Many thanks to Mr. Keller for thinking of our schools and for this generous donation! 


Schingen Nominated for 2016 Teacher of the Year

    Joe Schingen, Academic Excellence Online High School, has been nominated for the 2016 MN Teacher of the Year Award.  A state Teacher of the Year will be announced by Education Minnesota in May.  Adrian Norman, principal at AEO, submitted the nomination. 

   Joe says his goal as a teacher is to do what it takes to make school meaningful for students.  “I believe in innovation, trying different things,” he says.  “Working together with students and colleagues to make what we do in the classroom as effective as possible.” 

  The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 52nd year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota's thousands of excellent educators.


Duluth East Students One Act Play Featured on WDIO-TV

   This award-winning documentary one act play about the Holocaust was performed at Duluth East High School thirteen years after its premiere performance at UMD.  Students are scheduled to perform again Saturday January 30 at the One Act Play Competition at Duluth East.



Lincoln Park Student Artwork Benefits Local Charities

   Students from the Lincoln Park Middle School Art Club have been busy creating glass fused pendants and selling them to raise money for charity.  To date, these students have collected over $650.00 and the monies raised have benefited Animal Allies, Unbound,  and the Batten Disease Foundation, among others.


Elementary Students Support Healthy Hearts
   Students had a great time participating in an adventure obstacle course and Jump Rope for Heart event at Stowe Elementary. Students collected over $1,700 in donations to help fight heart disease, in addition to getting a great workout and learning more about how to keep hearts healthy.


From the City of Duluth:

FREE Winter Skating Party

Sunday January 31, DECC

3:00PM – 5:00PM

>>Bring your own skates

>>No chairs, sticks, pucks or shoes on the ice

>>Prizes for Kids

>>Music provided

>>Kids 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult

Helmets strongly recommended for children 18 and under

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 22, 2016, 8:07 AM by Communications ISD 709

Denfeld Robotics Team Receives $10,000 Grant!

   Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) FIRST Robotics Team 4009 applied for and was awarded a grant for $10,000 from the Community Opportunity Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. This funding will allow the team to compete in a second robotics tournament at Boise State University. The team looks forward to participating in Idaho’s inaugural FIRST regional competition from March 31st through April 2nd.

Learn more about Denfeld DNA Robotics Team.


Congratulations to Michelle Bowker and Michael Emerson, nominated by the Duluth Federation of Teachers to be

considered for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award!

   Michelle teaches at Myers-Wilkins Elementary, Michael teaches culinary arts at Denfeld.  The two were honored recently at a reception held by the DFT at Duluth East High School.  A state Teacher of the Year will be announced by Education Minnesota in May.

   The Minnesota Teacher of the Year program, now in its 52nd year, is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education. The program chooses one teacher to represent Minnesota's thousands of excellent educators.


Many thanks to those who work hard to keep our school sidewalks and steps clear and safe during snowy, icy weather!


Ojibwe & Spanish Language Immersion Classrooms at Lowell Elementary 

Registration for September 2016 Now Open!

Learn More: Ojibwe Language Immersion, Kindergarten - Grade 2
Learn More: Spanish Language Immersion, three sections of Kindergarten


ACT Plus Writing Test Day – Tuesday April 19, 2016

   The ACT Plus Writing test will be administered to 11th Grade students on Tuesday, April 19.  Participation is expected of all 11th grade students except those exempted by their IEP and notified by their case managers.

   >>Students at Denfeld and Duluth East:  9th, 10th, and 12th grade students will not attend school April 19 in order to accommodate the test - they’re encouraged to take part in ACTion Day, an opportunity for students who have the day off to give back to the community.  11th grade students will attend school and follow a special test day schedule.

   >>Students attending AEO, ALC and Residential Programs:  9th, 10th, and 12th Grade students will attend school as usual on April 19.  11th Grade students participating in the test should contact their guidance counselor or school principal to make arrangements.

   Click here for detailed information.


Jackson Churchill, Duluth East High School, has been selected to represent Region 7AA in the Minnesota State High School League Academics, Arts, and Athletics Award program.  According to the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) press release, Jackson has taken accelerated courses, maintained a 4.0 GPA and potentially earned thirty-five college credits while competing in Cross Country.  He served as team captain in both his junior and senior year, participated in the state tournament and received a Spotlight on Scholarship award for four years.  Jackson’s Fine Arts participation includes Band and Jazz Ensemble, the school orchestra, and piano accompanist for the choir. 

   The MSHSL sponsors the AAA award for a senior girl and a senior boy who excel in Academics (3.0 GPA or better),Athletics (at least one MSHSL-sponsored athletic activity) and Arts (MSHSL-sponsored debate, one-act play, speech, visual arts, and instrumental or vocal music).  Each Administrative Region 7AA member school may nominate one senior girl and one boy to the region level review and evaluation.  The Region Committee then selects one girl and one boy as the Region winners who advance to enter the state competition. 


Partnership Promotes Workforce Development

   A partnership between Duluth LISC, Community Action Duluth and ISD 709 Adult Basic Education (ABE) will help promote workforce development.  LISC is investing up to $600,000 over the next three years to help create partnerships with businesses seeking entry-level employees and connect them to newly trained candidates. 

  Community Action Duluth will provide coaching, child care and on-site food for candidates who take part in the training.  ISD 709 ABE will work in partnership with Community Action Duluth to provide services including a basic reading and math skill assessment and a 40-hour program to build math and reading skills, computer skills and soft skills.  ABE will also work in conjunction with Lake Superior College instructors to provide industry specific curriculum, creating opportunities for career pathways in banking, customer service and health care.


Middle School Students Say Yes to Hands-on Design and Construction

   Industrial Technology is often a student’s first exposure to Career and Technical Education courses, connected to

Construction, Engineering and Design, and Automotive high school programs and trades. 

   In middle school Industrial Technology classes, students learn:

>>Elements of CAD design principals

>>Technical drafting

>>How to prototype and plan a functional product

>>Basic job expectations of safety, creativity, collaboration and problem solving

>>And are provided an introduction to basic machines used in manufacturing of woods and lighter materials. 

Learn more about the opportunities – check the 2016-17 Middle School Course Catalog.

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 15, 2016, 8:26 AM by Communications ISD 709

Thank You, Paraprofessionals!

   Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed the week of January 11-15, 2016 as Paraprofessional Recognition Week, honoring the contribution of the more than 20,000 paraprofessionals who provide services in multiple settings within Minnesota's schools.  Many thanks to all ISD 709 paraprofessionals for their contribution to educational success and for the support you provide our students and staff!


Denfeld & Duluth East Career and Technical Education – We GET to Work!

   Career clusters are broad categories in the workforce which branch into specific careers.  ISD 709 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are based on this premise.   Our high schools currently offer programs in ALL nationally recognized “clusters,” each meant to help focus students into career pathways that fit their personality and academic interest. 

   CTE Programs for 2016-17 include:

Agriculture & Forestry:  Sustainable plant sciences, horticulture, and natural resource management

Automotive & Engines:  The inner workings of automobiles. Students can earn NATEF and ASE certification

NEW: Aviation Physics:  Designed and tied into LSC's Aviation program, Duluth Aviation Institute, and local industry needs. Meets state science requirements

Business, Marketing & Finance:  Leadership, accounting, entrepreneurship, and 21st century

media and personal marketing

Construction Trades:  Skills in construction, electrical work, basic plumbing, and on-site building experience

Early Childhood:  Infant and toddler care services

Engineering & Design:  Based on MIT Fab Lab.  Computerized drafting, 3D prototyping, engineering: mechanical, architecture,

industrial, manufacturing and innovation

Graphic Design & Digital Arts:  Computer designed print, art, screen-printing, advertising, and digital communication

Health Occupations:  Health care services.  Students earn First Aid/CPR certification and  CNA license through completion of program and clinical experiences.

Hospitality & Tourism:  Culinary arts & restaurant services.  Students can earn certifications in ServSafe,

and NRAEF Prostart

…and More

NEW!  Check the CTE Web Pages for Detailed Information

Learn More, Review the 2016-17 High School Course Catalog


Culinary Arts Students Appear on KQDS-TV21 Cooking Connection

   Student chefs demonstrated their skills in front of the TV camera, click here to see a segment on preparing Scallops & Shrimp Sauce.  Through the ISD 709 Culinary Arts program, students from Denfeld and Duluth East learn the skills necessary to run a restaurant.


Duluth Northern Stars Hockey Featured on WDIO-TV10

  The Duluth Northern Stars, comprised of athletes from Denfeld and Duluth East, are two wins away from matching their total from last season, all under first year head coach and former UMD Bulldog Jamie Kenyon.



Myers-Wilkins STEM Days:  We Love Science, Technology, Engineering & Math!

   During STEM Family Night and STEM Day, Myers-Wilkins Elementary teachers partnered with The Works Museum in Bloomington, WDIO-TV, Denfeld Robotics Team, Duluth Children's Museum, local scientists and engineers to provide students learning opportunities through building paper towers, mini-hoverboards, air-powered rockets, small bridges made from magnets and metal bars, launching paper gliders, learning about the weather and robots and more.  Science plus Technology plus Engineering plus Math equals Fun!

Click here to see the video.

Click here for WDIO-TV10 report.


New Elementary Standards-based Report Cards Coming Soon

  ISD 709 elementary schools are grading and reporting student progress using a standards-based system that helps provide:

>A clear measure for parents of their child’s individual progress

>Meaningful, user-friendly feedback

>A description of learning goals as parents help support their child’s achievement

>Consistency between elementary classrooms and elementary schools across the district.

    Families will notice numbers rather than letter grades. The numbers represent the level to which a student has progressed toward mastering different parts of the standard.

   Report cards will reflect a student’s individual progress toward achieving learning goals associated with the standards in each content area.  Scores are based on the student's work compared to the standards - not compared to other students in the class.  

   Learn more about the elementary standards-based report cards.


Ojibwe & Spanish Language Immersion Information Night

Wednesday, January 20, 6:00PM to 7:00PM

Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road, Duluth

   Lowell will host an information night for all families interested in learning more about the language immersion

programs within Duluth Public Schools.  Topics include the benefits of immersion education, the specific Ojibwe and Spanish language program models offered, and steps in the application process. 

   Beginning in September 2016, Lowell will offer three kindergarten sections of Spanish Language Immersion and expand the current Misaabekong Ojibwe Kindergarten & Grade 1 program to include Grade 2.  Registration for both immersion programs begins January 20th, space is limited!  

   For more information please contact:

>> Edye Howes, Office of American Indian Education:  or 218.336.8700, ext.1152

>>Crystal Goldman, Spanish Immersion Coordinator: or 218.336.8700, ext.1166

Learn More: Ojibwe Language Immersion

Learn More: Spanish Language Immersion


Duluth East Theatre Department Presents

An Evening of the Arts Along with the One Act Play “Dear Finder”

Time: 7:00 pm/ Thursday January 28th

Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Avenue East
   This award-winning documentary one act play about the Holocaust will be performed at Duluth East High School thirteen years after its premiere performance at UMD. Drawing on interviews, letters, and materials from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the play chronicles Hitler’s rise to power, the persecution of European Jews, the massacres at Babi Yar, life in the ghettos and concentration camps, and liberation. A powerful, poignant look at humankind and a must-see for anyone who recognizes we must never forget.

   This one act will be presented along with other performances from the Duluth East Fine Arts Departments and Duluth East Speech Team.  The performance is free, a donation is suggested.  
Call 218 336-8940 ext 4127 for more information.


Funds Available for Creative Classroom Ideas/Projects: DPS Endowment Grant – Due March 1, 2016

   The Duluth Public Schools Fund annually reviews proposals and recommends grant awards (ranging from $500 to $2,000) for projects by teachers that encourage creativity and innovation in the classroom. The fund is managed and invested independently through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.
   Since its inception, the Fund has awarded over a quarter of a million dollars in grants to nearly 100 teachers, principals, and specialists improving learning experiences for students.   Applications are due March 1, 2016.
For detailed information about how to apply and application forms:
To see previous creative projects that received a DPS Fund Grant:


The Minnesota Department of Agriculture & Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded a $21,000 equipment grant to Healthy Northland Farm to School in partnership with ISD 709. The district will match $7,000 for an overall purchase of $28,000 of baking equipment to make healthy breakfast baked-good items with local produce. Studies show that students who eat a nutritious breakfast are more successful in school and have less behavior issues. Culinary Instructor Arlene Coco will provide ISD 709 Food Service staff with recipes as part of a 9-part training series made possible through the Victory Fund.


From the City of Duluth:

NHRA Day at the WorkForce Center

Tuesday January 19, 2016 

9:00-11:00 Job Fair and Resume Critique and Mock Interviews

Timeslots available for clients to meet with HR professionals to get feedback on resumes and interview answers, sign-up sheets at the front desk.

Employers scheduled (as of 1/5/16):  Essentia (will be doing on-the-spot interviews for food service positions); Whole Foods Co-op (hiring for new Denfeld store); UDAC, AAR (tentative), Accend Services, Kelly Services, MN Veteran’s Home Silver Bay, Woodland Hills, Job Corps. Black Bear Casino Resort, American Precision Avionics, City of Duluth, maurices, Innovative Services

11:00 – 12:30 Human Resource Panel

Great chance for job seekers to ask questions about hiring practices, application process, interview do’s and don’ts! Panelists (as of 1/5/16): Essentia Health, Whole Foods Co-op, Woodland Hills

Employers interested in participating can contact:  Betsy Hill: 218-730-5228 or

Job seekers interested in registering for mock interview/resume critique call: WorkForce Center front desk at 218-302-8400

If you require accommodation to fully participate in this event please call:  218.302.8400

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 7, 2016, 9:01 AM by Communications ISD 709

Myers Wilkins “World Beat” Performs at 2016 Inaugural Ceremony

   World Beat (a student drumming group from Myers-Wilkins Elementary School) performed at the Inaugural Ceremony for Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and City Councilors, held January 4th at the DECC. Great job by these talented students and their teachers!


Ojibwe & Spanish Language Immersion Information Night

Wednesday, January 20, 6:00PM to 7:00PM

Lowell Elementary, 2000 Rice Lake Road, Duluth

   Lowell will host an information night for all families interested in learning more about the language immersion

programs within Duluth Public Schools.  Topics include the benefits of immersion education, the specific Ojibwe and Spanish language program models offered, and steps in the application process. 

   Beginning in September 2016, Lowell will offer three kindergarten sections of Spanish Language Immersion and expand the current Misaabekong Ojibwe Kindergarten & Grade 1 program to include Grade 2.  Registration for both immersion programs begins January 20th, space is limited!  

   For more information please contact:

>> Edye Howes, Office of American Indian Education:  or 218.336.8700, ext.1152

>>Crystal Goldman, Spanish Immersion Coordinator: or 218.336.8700, ext.1166


Food for Thought Student Restaurant Featured on Fox 21 TV

   Chef Glenn D’Amour and student chef Brandon were featured on Fox 21 News’s Cooking Connection segment, serving up a delicious recipe for Shrimp Thai Fried Rice.  Chef Glenn and Brandon are part of the ISD 709 Culinary Arts program where students from Denfeld and Duluth East learn the professional skills necessary to run a restaurant.  For more about hands-on, career-ready courses available through Denfeld and Duluth East High Schools, check the ISD 709 Course Catalog.



Kickoff to 2016 FIRST Robotics Season!

   The Duluth East Daredevils host the 6th Annual Kickoff for the 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition on January 9 at the Marshall Performing Arts Center at UMD.  The event begins at 9:00AM.  Twenty-two teams from around the area will

join over 4,000 teams worldwide to watch a NASA live broadcast featuring FIRST Officials outlining details related to this year’s game. Click here for a link to the website.  Other featured speakers include Josh Hamilton, Dean of Science and Engineering at UMD; Christine Karas, Daredevil Alumni and U of M student and a video message from Senator Al Franken.   

   After the video, teams will split off to begin the design process and strategy.  For more about the Denfeld and Duluth East Robotics Teams:

>>Duluth East Daredevils:

>>Denfeld DNA:


FREE, Fun Family Night Out! Community Action Duluth

Wednesday January 13, 5:30PM-7:30PM

2424 W. 5th Street, Lower Level

Light Dinner Provided

This month we’re focused on family engineering by making paper rockets and paper airplanes with the Duluth Children’s Museum.  Children of all ages are welcome and must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver.

Check Facebook for more information.


Community Invited to 2016 Twin Ports MLK Holiday Arts and Culture Festival

   Join us in a variety of events planned to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For more details on times and locations of festival events in Duluth, click the links below or follow the events  on Facebook or visit

   Duluth Mayor’s MLK Reception:  Thursday, January 14, 6:30PM, The Underground

   Twin Ports’ Got Talent:  Friday, January 15, 7:00PM, Denfeld Auditorium

   Jammin’ with MLK:  Saturday, January 16, 6:00PM Community Meal, 7:00PM Performance, Peace United Church of Christ

   Ecumenical Worship Service:  Sunday, January 17, 5:00PM, St. Mark AME Church

   MLK Community Breakfast:  Monday, January 18, 7:00AM Registration and Breakfast, 8:00AM, Holy Family Catholic Church. Large screen broadcast of Deval Patrick’s speech from Minneapolis.  Freewill offering taken to support community programs.   

   MLK Day March & Rally:  Monday, January 18

>>March:  10:45 am, Washington Center, corner of 4th Street and Lake Avenue.

>>Rally:  11:45 am, DECC Auditorium.  The rally will be interpreted into American Sign Language and recorded for broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio, FM 91.3.   

   Labor Movie Night:  Monday, January 18,  7:00PM, Wellstone Labor Hall


ISD 709 News

posted Jan 4, 2016, 9:41 AM by Communications ISD 709

Best Wishes for a Happy, Successful New Year!


Messages for the New Year

   Superintendent Bill Gronseth, along with other local officials, provided a column for the Duluth News Tribune touching briefly on the past year and looking ahead to the future. 

Duluth News Tribune Column:  Click here to view.

   In his monthly column for the Budgeteer, Bill talked about cultural sharing and building relationships - includes a good recipe for lefse! 

Budgeteer Column:  Click here to view.


Cabin Fever?  Sign Up for a Duluth Community Education Class!

   The Duluth Community Education Winter 2016 schedule of classes and activities is available online for viewing and secure registration at  or check the January 3rd Budgeteer newspaper for a hard copy insert.

   Community Education offers opportunities to learners of all ages through:

·  Adult enrichment and youth activities - take a class in computers, music, cross country skiing, making sushi, using Facebook, yoga, cooking, painting, fitness, digital photography, languages, retirement planning, travel planning, swimming, dancing, much more - something for everyone

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

·  Early childhood programs

·  School readiness/Pre-K

·  KEY Zone school-age care and academic enrichment

·  Drivers education

·  Aquatics classes

   Programs are open to any area resident, are affordable and close to home.   For more information email: or call 218-336-8760 or visit  


Duluth East and Denfeld Teams Earn Academic Recognition

   The Minnesota State High School Coaches Association supports the Team Academics Program.  Team members GPAs are tabulated and compiled to arrive at a Team GPA.  If a team has a GPA of 3.76 to 4.0 they earn a Gold rating, a GPA of 3.5 to 3.75 merits a Silver rating:

>>Class 5A Gold:  Duluth East Football

>>Class AA Silver: Denfeld and Duluth East Girls Tennis

>>Class 2A Gold:  Duluth East Boys Cross Country

>>Class 2A Gold: Duluth East Girls Cross Country


Congratulations to recipients of the Lakewood Elementary Principal Award! 

   The award is presented to students for exemplary behavior – cooperation, respect for others and for themselves, support for learning and for a safe and welcoming environment.  Kendall Wittmers-Graves, Marissa Norlien, Anna Jones, Addie Stolp, Henry Bechthold, Olivia Holte, Lucy Gilbertson, Sjoren Helland, Brooke Holappa, Riley LaVack, Connor Wiberg, Leo Hromatka, Elsie Juten, Nathan Oja, Keltan Hanna, Daniel Rosenlund, Maria Drozdowski, Audrey Moeller.

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 23, 2015, 8:38 AM by Communications ISD 709

May Joy and Peace be yours this season and throughout the New Year!


Modern & Traditional Style Lacrosse Shared Through Office of Education Equity (OEE)

   Modern & Traditional Style Lacrosse was presented by Franky Jackson and family (Dakota) with John Hunter (Ojibwe/Winnebago) as a staff development opportunity through the ISD 709 Office of Education Equity.  K-12 P.E. teachers learned and played the Traditional Dakota style of Lacrosse.  The OEE also purchased modern lacrosse equipment to ensure P.E. teachers have access to classroom materials in their schools.  

   Future staff development opportunities on Traditional Style Lacrosse are being developed to assist teachers in expanding their knowledge and skill in the development of traditional materials.  


Denfeld Boys Hockey Team Gives Back to Community

Through the Salvation Army’s Adopt-a-Family program, the Denfeld boys hockey team provided gifts for local families.




Myers-Wilkins Holiday Medley

‘Tis the Season for Song!

Click here to view excerpts from their holiday program.


13th Annual Lester Park Giving Tree Project

Students from Lester Park Elementary spread cheer to local hospital patients.




Duluth East Holiday Concert

Sounds of the Season...

Click here to view excerpts on YouTube.


Piedmont Polar Express

Piedmont Elementary students create their own Polar Express train!

Click here to view.



ISD 709 Academic Excellence Online High School (AEO)

Thursday, January 7, 2016 3:30pm - 5:00pm

215 North First Avenue East - Room 100 Duluth, MN 55802 

For more information: 218-336-8766 or


Creatively using video, graphics, and interactive software with a space adventure theme, AEO students will accomplish tasks related to science, social studies, linguistics, and more. 

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 16, 2015, 7:55 AM by Communications ISD 709

School Board Honors Outgoing Student Representatives

   During the regular December meeting, Board members formally recognized the work of outgoing Student Representatives Tom Olafson, Denfeld, and Jude Goossens, Duluth East.   In their leadership role, Tom and Jude invested time and effort to learn more about how the school district operates and how decisions are made. They shared information with their peers and brought a thoughtful student perspective to School Board meetings.

   Their participation this year has helped immensely as Board members and administrators considered decisions impacting student achievement, school climate and effective systems.  New student representatives from Denfeld and Duluth East will be seated after the first of the year.

   Many thanks to Tom and Jude for their service to the Duluth School Board.  We wish them the very best in their future endeavors.


Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Information for Parents & Staff

   Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease caused by a bacteria that affects the lungs.   While there are currently no confirmed cases of pertussis in ISD 709 Duluth Public Schools, the MN Department of Health has confirmed several cases within the Duluth area.  They’re sharing information about pertussis, emphasizing the importance of immunizations, and reminding students, staff and families to take steps to prevent the spread of illness.

   Pertussis is a persistent cough illness.  The first symptoms are similar to a cold.  After a week or two the cough worsens and begins to occur in sudden, uncontrollable bursts.  Vomiting can occur following coughing, and children may make high-pitched whooping sounds when gasping for breath.  Pertussis may include a low grade fever – the flu will generally include a high grade fever.  Families are encouraged to contact their health care provider if their child has a persistent cough.  Click here for more information from the MN Department of Health.

   The best way to prevent pertussis is to be vaccinated.  In addition to routine childhood immunizations, a pertussis vaccine booster is recommended for adolescents and adults.  The booster shot (Tdap) is given in combination with tetanus and diphtheria.  Ask your local healthcare provider for more information or click here for more information about vaccinations.

   Follow these tips to prevent the spread of pertussis, flu, colds.  Pertussis is spread through the air in droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.

>Wash your hands often

>Stay home if you’re ill

>When coughing, cover your mouth with a tissue or cough into your sleeve

   Check the Minnesota Department of Health website for more detailed information or call your school nurse if you have questions. 


Elementary Standards Based Report Card Information

   Parents of students in grades K-5 are encouraged to learn more about the elementary standards based report cards coming out in January.  The standards based report card  is different from the old system and 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

>Meaningful, user-friendly feedback

>Consistency between elementary classrooms and elementary schools across the district.  

Click here for detailed information with Q&A


ISD 709 Recommended Pay 2016 Levy Below State Average

   During their December 15 meeting, the Duluth School Board approved a pay 2016 levy increase of about 0.9% or $296,000.  This is below the statewide average projected by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) of about 9.9% for all school districts.  It’s also below the projected maximum levy of about 1.4% certified by the School Board in September.

   For the second year in a row, the levy will not increase property taxes but instead result in a decrease - about $16.57 for the owner of a $150,000 home and a reduction of about $40.17 for the owner of a $150,000 business - due in part to new developments and property revaluation.

   Preliminary estimates were developed as part of the maximum levy certification process required by MDE and discussed at the November and December Business Committee meetings in preparation for the annual Truth in Taxation meeting December 15 in Historic Old Central High School.


Donate Your Old Vehicle and Help Students Learn a Career in Automotive Technology!

  Vehicles donated to this “hands-on” program help Denfeld and Duluth East High School students learn the skills they need to enter the high-tech field of automotive repair:

·         Live on-car diagnostic and repair work on computer controlled electrical and brake systems

·         Applying engine theory

·         Construction, diagnosis, computer, fuel and ignition systems, steering and suspension systems, and wheel alignment

   Students learn how to service various systems using proper technical skills and are encouraged to participate in job shadowing and/or an internship at a local repair facility.
   Automotive Youth Education System (AYES) curriculum is utilized and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) Certification Program is implemented.

Click here for more about how to donate a vehicle to this program.

Check the ISD 709 High School Course Catalog for more information about Automotive Technology courses and other career/tech ed opportunities



December 16, 7:00PM

Amsoil Arena, Duluth

   Duluth East and Marshall meet at Amsoil Arena, their first meeting since the Greyhounds’ 6-3 win in 1999 as Lake Superior Conference rivals. Both teams look to lock down bragging rights and seeding favor for the Section 7AA playoffs.  $6 Adults and $4 Students – sorry no passes accepted.


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

-- The Duluth East Daredevils provided free workshops and presentations for all Minnesota teams at Itasca Community College (ICC). The workshops were all about helping new teams get on track for build season and upcoming competitions and to give more experienced teams new ideas. The Daredevils provided  six different presentations on the subjects of media, programming, building, team management, electronics/wiring, and strategy. The event was open to all FIRST Robotics Teams.  For more info about Duluth East Daredevils FIRST Robotics Team 2512: or

--The Lincoln Park Middle School Knowledge Bowl Team took second place in the Northern Minnesota Regional Competition in Mt. Iron. Congratulations to team members Sam Townsend, Nicole McGinn, Phoenix Ocean, Logan Griggs, Chase Firn and Jack McCormick

--Solar panels at Lowell Elementary are offsetting energy costs by several hundred dollars a year.  According to Enphase Energy, last month the panels generated 92.2 kWh, a carbon offset of about 140 pounds or the equivalent of two trees.

--Denfeld and Duluth East Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) took part in the 3rd Annual HOSA Medical Reserve Corp. training at Camp Ripley. The training helps participants prepare for disasters, respond to needs and build resiliency.  Students trained in First Aid, CPR, took part in crisis simulation experiences and emergency response drills and exercises.

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 9, 2015, 9:53 AM by Communications ISD 709

UMD Athletes Celebrate the Season with Laura MacArthur Key Zone Students

   Through a partnership between UMD and ISD 709, athletes are serving as mentors to students in the Laura MacArthur Elementary Key Zone program.  In the spirit of the season, this week the athletes surprised students with gifts.  See below for local media coverage of this special event:

Duluth News Tribune



Fox 21 News


Duluth East Holiday Concert Tickets On Sale!

   Hear hundreds of student musicians from all of the Duluth East Bands, Choirs and Orchestras perform both traditional and non-traditional holiday music Saturday December 19, 7:00PM, at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Symphony Hall. Tickets are on sale and open to the public at Duluth East High School, 301 N. 40th Avenue East from 11:00AM - 1:30PM (tickets will also be sold at the door the night of the performance):  $10 for adults and $5 for students.

For more information please contact Jerome Upton at or call at (218) 723-2345 ext. 2311.


ISD 709 Annual Independent Audit  

   Each year ISD 709 undergoes an independent audit of financial statements as required by law and as part of the annual budget process.  During the December Business Committee meeting, the independent audit firm of Wipfli LLP presented their preliminary results.  A final report will be posted for public review at   

   During their presentation, the audit firm noted the following:

  • They issued an unmodified opinion on the basic financial statements.
  • Management was cooperative and helpful, records were available and in good condition
  • No significant deficiencies or material weaknesses over compliance or internal controls over federal programs
  • No noncompliance with Minnesota Statutes tested
  • Disclosures are adequate, clear and complete
  • Financial statements reflect implementation of new GASB/federal government reporting requirements for school districts related to state-mandated pension contributions.
  • The General Fund fund balance decreased $1.5 million to a total of $2.6 million.
  • The report noted two findings, one related to a Special Education adjustment and another to a grant reimbursement request, both of which had been addressed.
  • In the opinion of the audit firm, the statements represent a true and fair picture of ISD 709 finances.


Lincoln Park Middle School to Receive Community Schools Grant

   The Minnesota Department of Education announced that Lincoln Park is one of four schools selected to receive funds to support their work toward becoming a community school.  The model helps create partnerships between schools and community resources and can lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.  

Duluth News Tribune


Congdon Park Mitten Project

    Fifth grade students at Congdon Park Elementary worked with parent volunteers to sew fleece mittens for children in need.  The activity was part of a Social Studies service learning project.    



Achievement, Activities, Appreciation
--Denfeld’s Annual Food Drive collected over 1,700 pounds of food for donation to local food shelves!  
The event was sponsored by the Denfeld High School Student Executive Board.

--Duluth East students and staff collected 1200 books for donation to the African Library Project, an organization that coordinates book drives in the United States and partners with African schools and villages to start small libraries.   

--ISD 709 Culinary Arts Students helped out with the Arrowhead Chefs Association 11th Annual Veterans Remembrance Dinner at the Depot. The dinner was dedicated to "The Year of the Servicewoman" and included keynote speaker former Chief Master Sergeant Jodi Stauber.  The event was a great way for students to gain hands-on experience and learn from area chefs.

--Through the 18th Annual Duluth East Giving Tree Project, 250 gifts were purchased and wrapped and will be provided to families in need!  The project provides gifts to children whose names are submitted by local elementary schools, Women’s Transitional Housing Coalition and Washington Early Childhood Family Education.   


Lincoln Park Middle School Barnes & Noble Book Fair December 13

A percentage of Barnes & Noble purchases will benefit Lincoln Park MS (coupon/voucher #11715034).

Sunday, December 13, 1:00PM – 5:00PM

Barnes and Noble, Miller Hill Mall

   The event includes a trivia contest where teacher, students, and the public will compete against each other.  The day will end with a Knowledge Bowl Celebrity Challenge during which teachers, local celebrities, and Lincoln Park’s Knowledge Bowl Team will face off.  We will also provide free gift wrapping!  Hope to see you there!


From the City of Duluth:

Skate With Santa & Rudolph

LIVE DJ with Special Holiday Music Program!

Duluth Heritage Sports Center (120 South 30th Avenue West)

Wednesday, December 16, 6:30PM – 8:00PM

Join Santa and Rudolph for Holiday Fun - Get your last minute requests in!

Cookie Decorating, Holiday Crafts and Winter Science Demonstrations

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 2, 2015, 3:02 PM by Communications ISD 709

ISD 709 2015 Annual Report For the Community

   Understand where we’ve been and where we’re going as an organization by reviewing information in the ISD 709 Annual Report for the Community.

   Annual Report Video Overview, featuring students and teachers, Superintendent Bill Gronseth, DFT President Bernie Burnham, and ISD 709 staff reviewing strategies, accomplishments, recent state accountability results and more.

   Annual Report Booklet with an overview of primary and supporting strategies, state test results, financial data and more.

   Share your ideas  through the online survey.

   Links to ISD 709 Community Vision & Priorities, World’s Best Workforce, the Reading Well by Grade 3 Plan, ISD 709 Achievement & Integration Plan and other detailed information.

   Just for fun – ISD 709 School Highlights Video.


Know a great teacher or staff member who deserves a pat on the back or special recognition?  Consider nominating them for the 2016 Greg Irons Teacher/Staff Award.   

   Named after a former ISD 709 teacher, the Award recognizes teachers/school staff who demonstrate their belief that all students have the desire to succeed and that responsibility, sincerity, honesty and hard work are the foundation of a person's life.  Past winners have received a cash award of $500. 

   Nominations may be made by students, teachers, other school staff, parents or community members and are due to the Community Foundation by January 15, 2016. Applications at and can be submitted electronically. For more information, contact the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation at or 218-726-0232.


ISD 709 Students Explore Careers in Wildlife Management

   Students in ISD 709’s Agriculture and Forestry classes explored wildlife management careers during a trip to the French River Hatchery.  The visit included:

>Tours of live smolt traps; holding and breeding tanks, adult traps and pumping station.   

>Research done at the site ranging from deep water fish sampling techniques: netting, shocking, tagging. 

>Technology used on the job in data tracking, information systems, computing.

>Career and College Pathways: Biology, love of outdoors, construction and/or plumbing, chemistry, computer information systems.

>Career Skills:  teamwork, independent, problem solving, manual labor, and communication

Check the ISD 709 High School Course Catalog for more information about Agriculture and Forestry courses and other career/tech ed opportunities.


Denfeld Grad Receives 2015 NSIC Glen Galligan Award

   Denfeld graduate C.J. Ham of Augustana University is the recipient of the 2015 NSIC Glen Galligan Award.  The award is given to a student-athlete who participates at their institution for four years and is academically superior while making a positive contribution to the school.

   The NSIC release states that Ham has been an incredible leader and mentor during his career at Augustana and will continue on that path in the future. He is a physical education and health major at and plans on teaching and coaching football and track and field. Since his freshman season, Ham has volunteered as a peer educator and mentor in the Sioux Falls School District and has volunteered weekly at the Boys and Girls Club.
   "I am so pleased that CJ was voted the recipient of this great honor," head football coach Jerry Olszewski said in the release. "CJ represents all that this award is about in achievement, character and leadership. He is one of the very finest young men and competitors that I have ever coached. As his coach, I have been blessed to watch him grow into the player and man that he is today."

   Ham is a two-sport athlete and a four-year letter winner in football and track. On the gridiron, Ham led the NSIC with 15 rushing touchdowns in 2015 and finished second in total yards with 1,043. He also carries a 3.25 grade-point average while double-majoring in physical and health education.


The Kids on the Block Puppets Perform at Congdon Park Elementary School

   Puppet characters and scripts by The Kids on the Block Inc. teach children about disability, medical conditions and social issues.  During a recent visit to Congdon Park Elementary, the puppets helped students understand what it’s like to have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair.  The Kids on the Block perform over 25 educational disability awareness programs per year at most elementary schools in Duluth.  The program is sponsored and coordinated by ISD 709 Community Education’s Project Access program.


Nearly $500,000 In DSACF Local Scholarships Available - Applications Due January 15, 2016!

   The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation (DSACF) helps coordinate scholarship opportunities for Duluth students, to the tune of nearly a half million dollars.   

   “Few areas in the nation have the bounty of scholarships available to graduates of our local high schools,” says David Hammer,  Scholarship Officer for the DSACF.  “Generous benefactors have dedicated great amounts of money to support our students.”

    The deadline to apply for scholarships is January 15, 2016, students and families are urged to begin the application process as soon as possible.

Begin Applying for Local Scholarships


Community Action Duluth Hosts FREE Family Night Out

   Family Night Out is a FREE event for families with children! Each event is filled with either an art or science project. For December we will be making simple gifts in time for the Holidays with Northern Expressions Art Collective. Bring the kids down and have a great time making gifts as a family!  Children of all ages are welcome, they must be accompanied by an adult to participate. A light dinner is provided.

Wednesday December 9th 5:30pm – 7:00 pm

2424 West 5th Street – lower level cafeteria

(Use 25th Ave West entrance)

Check Family Night Out on Facebook:


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

--Ordean East Middle School students qualified for the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota (ACDA) Girls Honor Choir and ACDA Boys Honor Choir, earning a trip to perform at the state ACDA conference.  Congratulations to Jack Derner, Kanna Okoro, Nick Posch, Jadan Jones, Macy Salfer, Casiana Sas, and Mayson Whitlock.

--Antony Ferguson, Denfeld High School, received the $1000 Audrey Lundeen Scholarship from the Bluebird Foundation in Duluth. Antony is involved in dance, theater, vocal and instrumental music. He has been a student of the Minnesota Ballet for fifteen years and taken part in a number of their productions including The Nutcracker which is currently touring.  For more information about The Bluebird Foundation go to

-- Brenda Vatthauer, Lincoln Park Middle School Principal, attended a US Department of Education ParentCampThe goal of ParentCamp is to model and provide a platform for parent-teacher conversations ranging across curricular, technological, social-emotional and other family engagement themed topics.  The ParentCamp experience is a hybrid “un-conference” opportunity for parents and teachers to come together and model four core beliefs highlighted in Beyond the Bakesale. The experience levels the playing field, putting all stakeholders in a circle for actual, face-to-face discussion about what is best for kids.  

--Shelby Johnson, Denfeld High School, qualified for the state diving meet and placed 25 out of 32 divers.  


Bullying Prevention and Response - How Families Can Help  

Tips from The Bully Project

>Talk with and listen to your kids – every day.  Research shows that adults are often the last to know when children are bullied or bully others.  Encourage your children to buck that trend by engaging in frequent conversations about their social lives.

>Be a good example of kindness and leadership.  Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you.  Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way you’re teaching your child that bullying is okay.

>Create healthy anti-bullying habits early.  Kindness, empathy, fair play and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations.  Children also need to learn how to say “no” firmly if they experience or witness bullying behavior.  Coach your child about what to do…get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to stop, walk away, ignore the child doing the bullying and find someone else to play with.  It may help to role-play with your child.

>Establish household rules about bullying.  Your children need to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, okay or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and just watch other kids be bullied. Make sure they know that if they are bullied physically, verbally or socially it’s safe and important for them to tell you about it and that you will help.

>Teach your child to be a good witness or positive bystander.  Although it’s never a child’s responsibility to put him or herself in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by saying “Stop – you’re bullying!” or “Hey, that’s not cool!”  Kids can also help each other by supporting the child who is bullied, not giving extra attention to the child doing the bullying, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.

>Spend time at school and recess.  Whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month, you can make a real difference just by being present. Volunteer time must be coordinated through your child’s principal and teacher.

>Help your child’s school address bullying effectively.  Research shows that “zero tolerance” policies aren’t effective.  What works better are ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in school.  That means teaching kids at every grade level how to be inclusive leaders and how to be empathetic towards others and teaching children who are bullied effective resistance techniques. 

Check and for more tips and information.


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