School News

ISD 709 News

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

2015-16 Elementary Report Card Information for Parents

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

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

Click here for more information regarding Elementary Report Cards. 


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

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

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

Link to Daredevil Championship highlights:


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

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

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

Moreinfo about DNA Robotics at


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

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

distribute a free seed potato. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>Summer Science Academy, Piedmont Elementary – Stephanie Larson

>Sensory Learning Centers, Homecroft Elementary – Cher Obst

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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

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

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

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

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


Duluth School Board Members Show Support for Women’s Health

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


Summer School 2015-2016


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

June 15 through July 23, 2015

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

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

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

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


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

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

June 16 through August 27, 2015 

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

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

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


Please see counselors for registration forms/referrals.


Superintendent, School Board Members Help Out at Annual Pancake Breakfast

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


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

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

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


Achievement, Activities, Appreciation

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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

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


Congratulations to our 2015 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award Nominees!

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

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

Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation – Click here for more.


Student’s Annual Bedding Plant Sale May 13!

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

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

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


Summer Duluth Community Education Class Schedule Available Online  

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

   Community Education offers opportunities to learners of all ages through:

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

·         Aquatics classes

·         KEY Zone school-age care and academic enrichment

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

·         Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE)

·         School Readiness/Pre-K programs

·         Driver education

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

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


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


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


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Free Chester Creek Concert Series- Summer 2015

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

ISD 709 News

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

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

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

Clickhere to see video from the World Championships.


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


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


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

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

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

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


ISD 709 Provides High School Tour for Dalien, China Principal

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

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


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

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

the artwork will be displayed throughout the month of May.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Denfeld, Lowell & Piedmont Schools Receive Financial Awards

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

--Piedmont Elementary: $5,393.98

--Lowell Elementary: $663.72

--Denfeld High School: $2,833.63

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


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


Free Lead Testing from Housing Resource Connection

When: Wednesday  -  April 29, 2015

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

Time:    10:30am – 3:00pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep Children Lead Safe

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

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

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

FACT:   Lead Poisoning is 100% preventable!

For more information on healthy Homes Visit:

ISD 709 News

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Duluth School Board Honors Lester Park Elementary for Helping the Hungry

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

For more information about World Beat:

For information about the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival:


From the Lowell Elementary PTA:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


Activities, Accomplishments, Appreciation

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


ISD 709 News

posted Apr 22, 2015, 6:17 AM by Communications ISD 709

Purchase Agreement Signed for Morgan Park and Rockridge School Property

   Representatives from ISD 709 and Developer Aaron Schweiger announced they have entered into a purchase agreement for sale of the 10-acre Morgan Park and 18–acre Rockridge school sites in Duluth, MN. The terms of the purchase agreement include a $1,200,000 sale price and a closing to occur on or before June 30, 2015. The Morgan Park School building ceased being used as a school in June of 2012 and Rockridge in June 2011, and both have been vacant since that time.

   “Schweiger Development and AHMC Properties are very pleased to reach this agreement with the Duluth Public Schools. Duluth is a vibrant and growing city with a strong economy. Keeping up with the demand for housing is essential to facilitate future economic growth, and we are excited to help Duluth meet its demand for housing,” said Aaron Schweiger, Developer and Project Manager, SDH&M, LLC.

   “We are very pleased Aaron and his team have offered to purchase both of these remaining, unused school buildings and related property,” said Kerry Leider, Property and Risk Manager for ISD 709. According to Leider, these are the last excess school buildings from the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan not under a purchase agreement.

   Leider said selling the property will save the District the ongoing cost of utilities, insurance, maintenance and security, and avoid direct involvement to upgrade public road and utility infrastructure necessary to sell the property in parcels. The Deed will include a restriction that prohibits the Buyer from using the property as a school for the purpose of conducting programs for children between the ages of 5 and 18.

   “Both Morgan Park and Rockridge are located in unique neighborhoods of Duluth with easy access to hiking trails, bike trails, skiing, kayaking, fishing, and numerous other outdoor activities. Our future residents will be able to enjoy these benefits in addition to the pristine natural beauty that these neighborhoods and the City of Duluth have to offer. We look forward to working with the City of Duluth in addition to the neighbors as we move forward with these exciting projects in the months to come,” said Schweiger.

   About Aaron Schweiger: SDH&M and AHMC Properties are real estate development, property management, consulting, and investment companies with offices in Duluth, Minneapolis, and Eau Claire, WI. SDH&M and AHMC Properties recently announced plans to develop a 114 unit apartment building the Point of Rock site on West Michigan Street in Duluth. More info can be found on AHMC Properties website:

ISD 709 News

posted Apr 16, 2015, 2:19 PM by Communications ISD 709

Congratulations to our 2015 Goldfine Gold Star Teacher Award Nominees!

   Teachers are nominated and selected for this prestigious award through a competitive application process based on several criteria, including impact in the classroom, school and community, and their efforts to pursue professional development.  The final recipient of the award will be announced at a special reception May 14 and receive $5,000 through a fund established by Manley and Lillian Goldfine. 

   Congratulations to our 2015 Nominees:

·         Robert Berg, Stowe Elementary

·         Carol Gallinger, Congdon Park Elementary

·         Debra Gilbertson, Piedmont Elementary

·         Melissa Kelley, Myers-Wilkins Elementary

·         Anne Krafthefer, Lester Park Elementary

·         Phyllis Makila, Lakewood Elementary

·         Doreen Ruhanen, Homecroft Elementary

·         Melissa Scanlon-Olson, Laura MacArthur Elementary

·         Cyndi Venberg, Lowell Elementary

   Manley and Lillian Goldfine established a fund for the award through the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation in 2006, in their belief that great teachers lay the foundation for the future success of their students in further education, productive careers and well-rounded enjoyment of life. The award is intended for the personal use of the recipient and there are no “strings” attached.  This year the award will go to an elementary school teacher; last year it went to a secondary school teacher.


NOW SHOWING!  ISD 709 Student Art Display

April 16 – 19, Miller Hill Mall in Duluth

Barnes & Noble Commons Area

Featuring Visual Arts & Media Arts:  Check out all the fantastic work, courtesy of

ISD 709 Art Teachers and Students K-12!


Denfeld, It’s In My Soul – 2015 Lip Dub Video Premiere!

    Great job by Denfeld students in a production that includes nearly the entire student body!  Look for appearances by representatives from most of the school’s activities, clubs and specialty classes -and Mayor Don Ness!  The song is“The Walker” by Fitz and the Tantrums


MN Education Commissioner to Host Listening Session in Duluth April 23

   Commissioner Brenda Cassellius will be in Duluth to host a listening session on early learning and other investments made in Governor Dayton’s 2015 budget proposal.  Cassellius will be answering questions and looking for input on what is working in Minnesota public schools and what needs more support. Members of the community are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts on education in Minnesota.

Where: Myers-Wilkins Elementary, 1027 N 8th Ave E, Duluth, MN 55805

When: Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 3:30PM


The Denfeld Automotive SkillsUSA team members received scholarships and awards at the State Conference and Skill contests on April 10-12, in Bloomington Minnesota. 

--Wyatt Swanson earned an $8,000 Scholarship to UTI in Lisle, IL, a Silver medal, and $350 in SnapOn tools.
--Nicholas Chambers earned 
a $5,000 Scholarship to UTI in Lisle, IL, a Bronze medal, and $200 in SnapOn tools.  
  Swanson and Chambers are enrolled in UTI for the Fall of 2015 and the scholarships are a great asset.  Phil Rannila is the Denfeld AYES Automotive Instructor and SkillsUSA Advisor.


ACT Test Day & ACTion Day – April 28

   While 11th Grade students are taking the state-mandated ACT Plus Writing Test on April 28, students in grades 9, 10

and 12 have the day off and are encouraged to use that day to make a difference in our community. 

   Through ACTion Day, the United Way, Kiwanis and Rotary are providing volunteer opportunities, ranging from working in school gardens, Hartley Nature Center cleanup, helping at the Second Harvest Food Shelf and much more.   Student groups, like Denfeld DNA Robotics, are teaming up to work together on a single volunteer project – in this case, helping out at the Duluth Children’s Museum. 

   There are many worthwhile volunteer opportunities available - it's One Day to Make A Difference!

Click here for more information about ACTion Day 

For details regarding ACT Test Day, click here.


Denfeld DNA Robotics Qualifies for State Competition

   Denfeld Nation Automation (DNA) Team 4009 has been invited to the 2015 MSHSL/FIRST competition. DNA ranked in the top 10% of Minnesota teams (19th out of 192). The State Championship will be held at the Williams Arena on the University of MN Twin Cities Campus on May 16th, with the top 30 teams in the state competing.  


UMD 2015 Annual Fiesta April 18

Join us for a night of festivities as we celebrate Latino culture with food, dance, and much much more!

Saturday April 18, 2015 Kirby Ballroom
Silent Auction is from 5pm - 6pm in the Kirby Rafters.
Dinner/Show is from 6pm - 9pm in the Kirby Ballroom, followed by the dance from 9pm - 11pm.
$15 General Public, $10 UMD Students

Tickets on sale in Kirby Commons in front of the lower level bookstore on April 17th from 9am to 3pm. 
For questions/tickets, please contact Thelmy Maldonado at


Duluth East Theatre Presents Almost, Maine

By John Cariani, Directed by Peter Froehlingsdorf

May 7, 8, 9 at 7:00PM, Duluth East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East

All seats $8.00:  Tickets can be purchased at the door for general seating.  

This show is rated PG due to some mild language and innuendo.

   On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, magical, mythical town of Almost, Maine.  As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways.    

Guaranteed to make you laugh and cry as it explores the mysteries of the human heart.

   Duluth East Performing Arts is a high school theater organization which offers performing opportunities in all aspects of drama and theater. Throughout the year, productions offer high school students a chance to perform in musical theater as well as new productions that offer thoughtful, challenging theatrical work for high school students.


Heroin Community Forums – April 16, 21 & 30

   No one plans on their family member struggling with an addiction.  If this is your reality, come and get connected to resources that can help.  If not, come and get helpful information to help you keep it that way.

   Major community organizations stand united to inform, protect and help our community stop opiate addiction in its tracks.  Hear from community leaders, law enforcement and health professionals.  Listen in as young adults share their personal stories of substance abuse.

   Please join us at one of these FREE events for parents, youth workders, teachers and concerned adults.  CEUs available. 

April 16:  UMD Campus, Griggs Center, Kirby Student Center, 1120 Kirby Drive in Duluth, MN

April 21:  WITC Campus, Conference Center, 600 North 21st Street in Superior, WI

April 30: Miner’s Memorial Building, North Room, 821 S. 9th Avenue in Virginia, MN

7:00PM – 8:00PM Presentation

8:00PM – 8:30PM Q&A

Presented by St. Louis County, Duluth Police Department, Douglas County, Douglas County & St. Louis County Sheriff’s Departments, Superior Police Department, Virginia Police Department

ISD 709 News

posted Apr 13, 2015, 9:33 AM by Communications ISD 709

INVITATION: The DULUTH branch of the NAACP invites you to a YOUTH SUMMIT ON RACISM for students in 6th-12th grade

TUESDAY, APRIL 14TH 5:00 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. Central Hillside Community Center 

Refreshments provided by Neighborhood Youth Services

Facilitators: Stephan Witherspoon Christina Trok Chaquana McEntyre, LMSW Tori Billings Corinthian Rutherford Salaam Witherspoon


ISD 709 Schools Rock State Destination Imagination Tournament!   

   Four ISD 709 teams competed in the 2015 State Destination Imagination Tournament.  Three qualified for the Global DI Tournament in Knoxville, TN and one

earned an award at Regionals for their outstanding presentation. 

--Ordean East Middle School took 1st Place in Middle School Improv  

--Laura MacArthur Elementary tied for 1st Place in Elementary Improv 

--Lowell Elementary took 2nd Place in Elementary-Structural

--Lester Park Elementary received a Renaissance Award at Regionals which recognizes outstanding skill in the areas of engineering, design, or performance.

  Destination Imagination is an educational program where student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at tournaments.  In working to solve Challenges, teams learn important life skills such as time management, collaboration, conflict resolution, and creative and critical thinking. 


Denfeld 2015 LipDub Trailer!  Last year’s video was fantastic – this year will be even better!  Check Youtube for a sneak preview of Denfeld’s 2015 Lip Dub Video:


Looking for a Delicious Lunch?  Try Student-Run Restaurant Food for Thought!

  Enjoy delicious gourmet meals created by Denfeld and Duluth East students under the supervision of Chef Glenn D'Amour, CEC. Entrees range from $7 to $15.  The restaurant operates Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Duluth East High School.  Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance - click here for a menu and complete details.

ISD 709 News

posted Apr 9, 2015, 3:37 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Apr 10, 2015, 9:12 AM ]

YOUR IDEAS MATTER - More Think Kids Meetings In April!

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


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

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

--How to address racism in our community.

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

Wednesday April 15: Ordean East Middle School, 4:00PM/Lester Park Elementary, 6:30PM

Thursday April 16:  Piedmont Elementary, 4:00PM

Monday April 20:  Laura MacArthur Elementary, 4:00PM  

Wednesday April 22: Denfeld High School, 4:00PM/Duluth East High School, 6:30PM

   Please make plans to attend a Think Kids meeting  if you can’t make your neighborhood meeting, feel free to attend at another location.  

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


Help Victims of Applewood Knoll Apartments Fire

   Young families and single parents with children are among those impacted by the fire that recently destroyed the Applewood Knoll apartments.  Anyone with clothing, gently used appliances or financial assistance to donate can call United Way 211 at 2-1-1 or (800) 543-7709.  The Salvation Army is accepting cash donations for victims of this fire at


March to the Arch Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction April 16

Proceeds help Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team get to St. Louis, MO for the

FIRST World Robotics Championships!

   The Daredevils are hosting a pasta dinner and silent auction Thursday April 16 from 5:00PM to 7:00P.M. in the Duluth East High School atrium, 301 N. 40th Avenue East.  This event will kick-off a campaign to fund their trip to the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, MO.  Tickets are available at the door: $8 per single or $20 for families.  Each meal includes pasta, salad, bread, and a beverage.  Vegetarian options are also available.  There will be a bake sale and a chance to control a Daredevil’s robot that competed at a past World Championship.

   Those not able to attend the dinner but wishing to help the Daredevils get to the World Championship may contribute by mailing a check (credit cards not currently accepted) to: Duluth East Daredevils, FIRST Robotics Team 2512, 301 N. 40th Avenue East, Duluth, MN 55804. Every dollar gets the team closer to St. Louis!  More about the team at: THANK YOU for your support!


Tuesday April 28, 2015:  ACT Test Day & ACTion Day

ACT Test Day for Grade 11 Students:  MN State Law requires 11th grade students to take the ACT Plus Writing as a requirement for graduation. Participation is expected of all 11th grade students except those exempted by their IEP and notified by their case managers.  Click here for details.

ACTion Day Volunteer Opportunities:  9th, 10th and 12th grade students at Denfeld, Duluth East and the ALC will not attend school April 28 in order to accommodate the ACT Test.  ISD 709 is partnering with the United Way, Kiwanis and Rotary to create "ACTion Day", an opportunity for high school students who have the day off of school to give back to the community through volunteer service.  More information about how to sign up for volunteer activities can be found here.


Accomplishment, Activities, Appreciation

--Lincoln Park Middle School recently hosted a 3rd Quarter Family Night for parents and students.  The Olive Garden donated a delicious pasta dinner and guests were treated to the school’s Annual Talent Show.  Performances included singing, dancing, stand-up comedy, beatboxing and much more.  The students did a wonderful job performing to a packed house!  Videos of the Talent Show can be found on the Lincoln Park Middle School website, on YouTube and on Lincoln’s social media sites, or Click Here!

--Erin Coleman, Ordean East Middle School, qualified for and competed in the Minnesota State Geography Bee held in St. Cloud.  She was among Minnesota’s top 100 geographic scholars at the state meet, placing in the top 25% of all participants.  Congratulations to Erin for her dedication to geographic knowledge and for proudly representing Ordean East Middle School and the Duluth School District.   


--Students at Lakewood Elementary recently enjoyed a visit from The Raptor Center, a department of the University of MN’s College of Veterinary Medicine.  During the visit, students got to see four live species of raptor, including a bald eagle and an owl.  The Raptor Center rescues, treats and rehabilitates injured birds, with the aim of releasing them back into the wild.  Minnesota is home to a number of different species of raptors including bald eagles, American kestrels, falcons, hawks and owls.   


Discover Your Untapped Potential - April 22

   Students, parents, teachers, and mentors: Join us to learn how you can help youth reach their full potential. James Robertson, also known as Coach Rob, is a dynamic presenter, trainer, coach, and facilitator who engages youth in thoughtful and meaningful discussions about cultural awareness and social justice.  Stay for the Q&A session with Coach Rob, then enjoy food and refreshments in the atrium after the event!  This event is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, April 22 at 6:00PM

Denfeld High School Auditorium, 401 North 44th Avenue West

Questions: Contact Jessica Schiff, Director of Community Services, Woodland Hills, at 218-723-3523

   Presented by 2015 members of the Duluth Youth Agency Coalition Boys and Girls Club of the Northland, Valley Youth Centers, Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative, Woodland Hills – Neighborhood Youth Services, YMCA, YWCA, City of Duluth – Parks and Recreation, Voyageur Area Council for Boy Scouts


Registration for 2015-16 Birth to Pre-K Programs

   Do you have children ages birth to 5? Registration for ISD 709’s Birth to Pre-K programs will be mailed out the first part of April.   The newsletter contains information and pre-registration forms for Fall 2015-16 classes including Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and School Readiness/Community Education Pre-K programs.  It will also be available online at (Programs & Services/Birth to Pre-K)

For more information email: or call 218-336-8890


Refinancing of Bonds Projected to Save About $1.8 Million

  In March, the Duluth School Board moved forward to refinance a $46 million bond used for repairs and upgrades as part of the Long Range Facilities Plan.  The refinancing is projected to save taxpayers about $1.8 million over the next twelve years.


Outstanding Business Students Travel to Anaheim, CA to Participate in the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference

   Top students from Duluth East High School will attend the Business Professionals of America (BPA) 2015 National Leadership Conference, “Imagine, Believe, Become” in Anaheim, CA, May 6- May 10, 2015. Garrett Bock, Ailie Davidson, Patsy Davidson, Frans-Lukas Lovenvald, and Jonah Wehr will join over 5,000 other conference delegates from across the nation to participate in national level business skills competitions, workshops, general sessions, and the national officer candidate campaigns and elections. Besides having the opportunity to excel, they’ll experience the city of Anaheim, CA.

  “The conference will be the culmination of a school years’ worth of business education and training,” said Chapter advisor, Peggy Ehlert, who teaches Business and Personal Finance, Marketing, and Economics.

Jimmy Anderson, 6th Place – Network Administration Using Microsoft

Garrett Bock, 4th Place – Business Meeting Management Concepts

Ailie Davidson, Ambassador Torch Award

Patsy Davidson, 2nd Place – Administrative Support Concepts

Frans-Lukas Lovenvald – 3rd Place, C++ Programming

Jonas Wehr, 2nd Place – Personal Financial Management Concepts

   Business Professionals of America is a national organization for high school, college, and middle school students preparing for careers in business and information technology. The organization’s activities and programs complement classroom instruction by giving students practical experience through application of the skills learned at school. BPA is assisted in this endeavor with financial support from corporations and companies including American Institute of CPAs, Certiport and Next Step Academy, who sponsor BPA’s National Leadership Conference, and member career building programs and scholarships.


ISD 709 News

posted Apr 3, 2015, 11:30 AM by Communications ISD 709

Students from Duluth East and Denfeld High Schools took part in the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Day. They joined advocates from across Minnesota to speak with legislators about the importance of active living, physical activity and combating childhood obesity.  The students are enrolled in ISD 709’s CTE Nursing Class and are members of HOSA Future Health Care Professionals. 

   Students visited the Minnesota History Center, listened to speeches from the Lieutenant Governor and the Minnesota Commission of Health.  They visited the Capitol and met with Duluth legislators, including Senator Roger Reinert, Representative Erik Simonson and Representative Jennifer Schultz.  The event was organized by The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Minnesota PTA and other Minnesota For Healthy Kids Coalition partners.  The Coalition paid for the full cost of the trip for students including transportation. 

   School Board Member Annie Harala, Kim Olson, Corrie Powers, Tom Albright and Bob Miller accompanied the students on this trip.


Eight Denfeld High School students traveled to Washington, D.C. as part of the Trio Talent Search Program, funded by the United States Department of Education and the College of St. Scholastica.  According to Susan Kurth, Director of Talent Search, “These young people were very fine representatives of their school, families, community and this program.” 

   Hannah Carlson, Allison Duenow, Rory Freeman, Jade Nelson, Lexy Schulte, Rachel Skurich, Mikayla Stahlman, Kayla Templer and Kashmiere Wiliams toured Georgetown University, various national memorials, took a tour of the Capitol, Arlington Cemetery, the U.S. Holocaust Museum and visited the White House/Lafayette Park.


ISD 709 Health Insurance Costs Lower Than Projected for 2015-16

   Officials from ISD 709 and the Duluth Federation of Teachers announced that the district’s health insurance costs will be about $580,000 less than projected next year.  Information received from the Public Employees Insurance Program (PEIP) indicates a less than 1% increase (about .7%).

   “We’ve found PEIP to be a great tool in effectively managing and containing costs,” said Superintendent Bill Gronseth.  He says projected savings will be applied to next year’s budget planning.

   “This approach to health insurance has helped stabilize and reduce costs and ultimately keep more dollars focused on the classroom,” said Bernie Burnham, President of the Duluth Federation of Teachers. 

   ISD 709 employees receive health insurance coverage through the PEIP Advantage Plan, a group which includes 68 Minnesota school districts.  Savings are realized through lower fixed costs, higher negotiated discounts, spreading risk over a much larger group and making employees more accountable for their health care decisions. 

   ISD 709 transitioned to PEIP in 2010, following the work of the district’s Health Insurance Committee, comprised of administration and teachers union representatives.  The group continues to work together as part of ISD 709’s labor management process. The six-year average increase for PEIP across Minnesota is about 1.3%.


Students at Lincoln Park Middle School enjoyed an educational presentation by local Paramedic Terry Wallin this week!  Terry talked about his duties as a paramedic, demonstrated the equipment he uses on the job and showed students how to take a pulse, administer oxygen and measure a heart rate.  Students had an opportunity to see inside an ambulance and ask questions about 911 calls. Terry’s visit was an exciting way to wrap up the unit on First Aid Unit taught in Lincoln Park’s health classes. Many thanks to Terry and Gold Cross Ambulance for this great learning experience!


WANTED:  Ideas and Instructors for Duluth Community Education Classes

   Are you interested in sharing your knowledge and talent through Duluth Community Education?  New classes and instructors are always welcome!  Share your special skill, hobby or expertise with the community, call ISD 709 Community Education to find out how:

--For Adult Classes:  Julie Gandt 218-336-8760 ext. 1; Janis Kramer 218-336-8760 ext. 2

--For Youth Classes:  Tom Margo 218-336-8760 ext. 3

Or email


Duluth East Sophomore and Senior Knowledge Bowl Teams qualified to compete at the 2015 Minnesota State meet thanks to a strong showing at the Regional competition.   Knowledge Bowl competitions are interdisciplinary academic contests. Questions test student's recall, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Duluth East competing members:

10th graders:  Spencer Johnson, Emma Flynn, Rana Imtiaz, Sasha Waxman, Zane Dietlin

11th graders:  Cullen White, Moira Weiland, Henry Bray, Emma Kimball, Morgan Wittmers-Graves

12th graders:  Devin Johnson, Alyssa Everson, Justin Taylor, Ji-Won Choi, Tim Renier, Kier Zimmerman, Joel Bergstrand


Derick Rossell, Duluth East High School, has qualified to travel to the 2015 National Speech and Debate competition in Dallas, Texas.  A number of East students competed in final rounds at the Section 7AA qualifying meet and will advance to the 2015 MSHSL State Speech competition:  Derick Rossell, Paul Manning, Hannah Wodrich, Kayla Nyenhuis, and Emma McNamee will compete at the State tournament in April. Taylor Dillon, Grant Carl, Tristan Carl, Pearl Elliott, and Danielle Slotness also competed in final rounds.  Duluth East took 3rd Place as a team in their section meet.


Leighton Strom, Denfeld High School, advances to the 2015 MSHSL State Speech Tournament.  Leighton is competing in Humorous Interpretation.  Denfeld students receiving Honorable Mention in the qualifying meet include Tyrus Garrett- Discussion; Maria Puglisi - Creative Expression; Anna Leonard and Michaela Ossanna in Duo; and Violet Wennberg in Humorous.


Accomplishment, Activities, Appreciation

--Students from Lester Park Elementary collected over a TON of food for donation to the Union Gospel Mission in Duluth!  They collected 2,961 pounds of food, so much that Mission staff had to make two trips to transport it all. They also raised $471 in funds.  This is the 8th year in a row Lester Park students have collected over a ton of food. 

--Students at Ordean East Middle School conducted a “Be a Hero, Fight Hunger”

food drive to help the hungry in March and April.  A group of students who receive special education services and the Student Council worked together to organize the drive, food collected will be donated to CHUM.

-- Emma Haugen, Lincoln Park Middle School, had one of her photographs selected to be on display in the Duluth City Council Chambers for the month of April. Her photograph was selected by the curator of the Duluth Art Institute, Anne Dugan, from the recent student art show at the Depot.

--The Duluth East High School Football team received a Gold Level Academic Award for 2014 from the Minnesota State High School League Coaches Association.  The Award honors academic excellence, the team is coached by Joe Hietala.

--Students at Ordean East Middle School collected $655 to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their 2015 Pennies for Patients Campaign. The mission of the Society is to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.  During Pennies for Patients, pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters are collected over a three week period; the class collecting the most change receives a pizza party.   


East High School Music Department "Dinner and a Concert" May 5

Deadline for Tickets:  April 29

   On Tuesday, May 5th, beginning at 5:30 pm, the East Music Department/Duluth East Music Boosters will showcase the Jazz Ensemble, Sterling Strings, and Choralaires in a “Dinner and a Concert” at the Great Hall, The Depot.  The concert will include dinner, dessert and an evening of great music.

   The Dinner Concert is a fundraising event for students and the Duluth East Music program.  Money raised will go towards music, repair and replacement of broken instruments, as well as other general needs of the Music Department. 

   Tickets for the event are $25 each and available by contacting Kathy Thibault at 525-2396 or  Tables are available in rounds of eight.  Reserve a table with your friends or family.  Ticket deadline is Wednesday, April 29thso make your reservations early.  There is limited room (200) in the Great Hall at the Depot.    


City of Duluth Parks & Recreation Spring Break Activities

Monday thru Friday, April 6-10 Rain or Shine!

Heritage Sports Center, 120 W. 30th Avenue West

10:00AM – 12Noon Non-Traditional Sports

Skill Introductions and Play Time ON THE INDOOR TURF!

Monday:  Kick Ball w/Boys & Girls Club

Tuesday: Ultimate Frisbee w/UMD Mens Northern Lights, UMD Women’s LakEFFECT Teams

Wednesday: Lacross w/UMD Mens Team

Thursday: Rugby w/YMCA Rookie Rugby

Friday: Disc Golf w/area course enthusiasts

2:00PM – 4:00PM Family Skating

Bring your skates (limited skates available for use)

All Activities are FREE and open on a first come-first served basis.  Equipment goes fast!

For more information:  218-730-4322

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