School News

ISD 709 News

posted by Communications ISD 709

Denfeld Teacher Named Semi-Finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year

   Jill Lofald, Denfeld High School, is one of 30 semifinalists for 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. A selection panel of 24 community leaders chose the semifinalists from an initial field of 123 candidates from across the state.

   The panel will meet again in late March to select about 10 finalists from among the group of semifinalists. The current Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Tom Rademacher, will announce his successor at a banquet May 3 at the Radisson Blu Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.


Congratulations Duluth East Boys Hockey Team, on their way to their 7th consecutive State Tournament!


FIRST Robotics Lake Superior and Northern Lights Regionals February 26, 27, and 28​ 

   The Duluth East Daredevils and Denfeld DNA  join over 120 robotics teams from across Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Illinois to compete in the 2015 FIRST Robotics Regionals this weekend at the DECC.   Teams will use new robots created over a six week build period.  They’ll play the new FIRST Robotics Competition challenge “Recycle Rush” in which robots stack square totes, cylindrical recycling bins and green pool noodles.  Teams are working to earn a spot in the World Championship in late April.

   Click here for a schedule of events.    

   The Daredevils are collaborating with the Duluth News Tribune on a third year journalism project, the Bluedevil Press, in conjunction with Blue Twilight from Eagen – click here for more information or check the Duluth East and Denfeld Robotics Team websites:

Denfeld DNA Robotics

Duluth East Daredevils


Denfeld students gave a great showing at UMD’s Toothpick Bridge Competition, an event sponsored by the American

Society of Civil Engineers.  Thirteen schools with over 140 bridges participated. Special recognition goes to Dylan Salo for placing 3rd in the Most Aesthetically Pleasing Bridge category and to Luke Ellefson, Celise Miller and Savannah Walraven for having bridges that placed in the top 8 for Strongest Bridge. Their bridges held over 35 kilograms, which is almost 80 pounds. Also representing Denfeld in the event were Rachel Yagoda, Adrian Ferguson, Jamie Larson, Maggie Kaptonak, Ryan Gallant, Ben Gibson,Tommy Donlin, Lee Kohlin, Jordan Danielson, Alex Knuth, Shelby Johnson, Emily Mahle and Kayla Youngs.  Nice job Hunters!   

ISD 709 News

posted Feb 24, 2015, 5:29 PM by Communications ISD 709

Duluth School Board Honors Renier for Accomplishments in Science

   During their regular February meeting, Duluth School Board members took time to honor and recognize Tim Renier, Duluth East HS, for his accomplishments in the area of science.  They include, but are not limited to:

--Finalist in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF): advancing to the Intel ISEF in Pittsburgh,


--1st Place Project: advancing to the MN State Science and Engineering Fair in Bloomington, MN

--1st Place Paper: advancing to the Northeast Region Junior Science and Humanities Symposium  in Bloomington, MN

--Genius Olympiad Award: Selected to submit a project for the Genius Olympiad International Competition in Oswego, NY

--U.S. Surgeon General’s Public Health Award

--Mu Alpha Theta Mathematics Honors Society Award

--ASU Walton Sustainability Award: for a project involving social justice, environmental and economic prosperity: nomination for a trip to Arizona for a Sustainability Solutions Festival

--Alpha Delta Community Involvement Award

   Tim is also a recipient of the Scholar of Distinction Award from the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation.  The award recognizes exceptional accomplishment, achievement and performance.  It is MDE's highest award and denotes that Tim has a substantial body of work in his content area, exceeded the requirements for graduation standards, engaged in a rigorous course of study and has completed an extraordinarily focused research project.


Former Denfeld Student Leaves $100,000 Donation to ISD 709

   Jerome Clarence Miller attended Denfeld in the 1940’s, and according to his family, he had a great interest in horticulture and carpentry.  When Mr. Miller passed away, he directed that $100,000 should be given to our school district.   In recognition of Mr. Miller’s interests, plans are being made to use the funds in some way to support ISD 709 Career and Tech Ed programs.  


State Releases Last Year’s 4-Year, On-Time Graduation Rates

   This week the Minnesota Department of Education released last year's 4-year, on-time graduation rates for Minnesota schools.   Results are available online for all high school programs in ISD 709 with a breakout for each school and each student group at

   According to ISD 709 officials, the district continues to see a trend of upward and downward movement in the on-time graduation rate over time.  Last year’s overall 4-year, on-time graduation rate was down slightly, in contrast to the upward movement seen in 2013. The 5-year graduation rate was up, the 6-year rate remained relatively stable.

   “We’d like to see more stability and steady increases,” said Ed Crawford, Assistant Superintendent for ISD 709. “We expect that will happen as our schools continue to focus on achievement and on implementation of interventions.  We’ll also carefully review what’s working and what’s not and make changes as necessary.”

   Last spring and fall, several interventions were put into place to support student achievement.  They include, but are not limited to:

--Restructuring the ISD 709 organization to the instruction and support of students

--Professional Learning Communities

--WIN Time for Students

--Aligning Curriculum with State Standards

--Instructional Coaches

--An updated teacher evaluation system

--Professional development for teachers and staff

--Strategies to reduce out-of-school suspensions


2014 4-Year, On-Time Graduation Rates:

All ISD 709 Students:  74.84

Duluth East:  91.52

Denfeld:  78.74

Area Learning Center (Alternative Programs):  14.63


Board Meeting Highlights Importance of School and Community Partnerships 

   The importance of school and community partnerships was highlighted during the February Education committee meeting.  Board members received information about the ISD 709 School and Community Partnership Manual, created through a two year grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and some great work by the Myers-Wilkins Collaborative, United Way of Greater Duluth, Duluth LISC and Community Action Duluth. 


ISD 709 Career and Technical Education Programs Discussed at Committee Meeting

   Duluth school board members received an overview of ISD 709 Career and Technical Education programs this month.  Opportunities for students include, but are not limited to Business, Communications, Medical Careers, Construction Occupations, Vocational Agriculture, Automotive Technology, Technical Careers, and Industrial Arts.  In March, high school students will have an opportunity to attend Construct Tomorrow, an event that provides hands-on experiences related to the construction trades.


Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Opens March 3!

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

located at East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East.  The restaurant opens for Spring semester on Tuesday March 3.

   Entrees range from $7 to $15 and are prepared and served by Denfeld and East Culinary Arts students under the supervision of Chef Glenn D'Amour, CEC.

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

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

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

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

·         March 3, 4, 5:  Halibut Provencal En Papillote for $13

·         March 10, 11, 12:  Chicken Tetrazzini for $10

·         March 17, 18, 19: Tuscan Roast Leg of Lamb for $11

·         March 24, 25, 26: Duck Breast Ala Orange for $11

ISD 709 News

posted Feb 19, 2015, 8:04 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Feb 19, 2015, 12:58 PM ]

Each month, fifth graders from Congdon Park Elementary celebrate their giving spirit in the community through service learning projects.  In January, the students donated and delivered twenty four warm blankets to the Bethany Crisis Shelter in Duluth.  Some were hand-tied using donated fleece and some were purchased for donation.  In February, students made posters and decorated Mount Royal Pines Assisted Living Complex for Valentine’s Day.  


INVITATION:   1st Annual Myers-Wilkins Community Black History Celebration February 25

   The celebration includes performances by the Myers-Wilkins World Beat Drummers and Kako’s Choir and a presentation by guest speaker Malaak Shabazz.  Ms. Shabazz works with the United Nations, delivering aid for women and children in developing countries.  She is the daughter of human rights activist Malcom X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WHERE: Myers-Wilkins Elementary School, 1027 N. 8th Avenue East

TIME:    5:00PM Dinner (provided by St. Scholastica Students)

5:30PM Drum and Choir Performances

6:00PM Presentation by Ms. Shabazz followed by a dessert reception.  

For Information:  Duane Byrd, 218-336-8860 x2501 or 651-335-8331


ISD 709 Transportation Manager Ken Willms and Bus Drive Jim Guzzo helped out with WDIO-TV10’s recent story on the importance of obeying school bus stop arm laws and helping keep students safe. 


Several Ordean East Middle School students received 1st Place Awards at the 2015 NE Minnesota Regional Science Fair.  Dani Likar, Olivia Nelson, Shanze Hayee,  Erin Coleman, Josephine Fay, Teagan Flynn and Maari Rohrbaugh will represent Ordean East at the state science fair in March.  Congratulations also to 2nd place winners Max Thibault, Emily Archibald, Izzy Laderman and Sunna Mujteba, and 3rd place winners Nabiha Imtiaz and Emilia McGiffert

Students receiving special awards include:

--Erin Coleman, Josephine Fay:  NRRI Environmental Excellence Award and the ASM Materials Education

--Olivia Nelson, Shanzee Hayee:  Broadcom Masters Rising Stars

--Shanze Hayee:  UMD Biology Award, Lake Superior American Chemical Society

--Nabiha Imtiaz, Emilia McGiffert, Shanzee Hayee:  Northwoods Women in Science

--Izzy Laderman: American Indian Science and Engineering Prize

These young women are invited to attend the Northwoods Women in Science "Lunch with a Scientist" at the Aquarium.


Five Denfeld students and three Duluth East students were recognized during a Duluth Rotary Club #25 meeting in January.  They made outstanding investment choices while learning and playing the Stock Market Game in their Futures/Independent Living high school classes.  From Denfeld:  Noe Diaz, Trevor Manisto, Bryce Hair, Ryan Orso, Phalecia Shogren.  From Duluth East:  Nick DarlingCaitlin KenneyAmber Tietge. 


Shawn Roed, Duluth East High School Activities Director, received the Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.  The award was presented in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance provided for better understanding and friendly relations among our community and area youth sports and activities. 


Students and staff from the Area Learning Center High School participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Pennies for Patients Campaign.  Working together they exceeded their goal and collected $132.79 to donate to the society!  


Dan Richards, cellist from Duluth East HS, is competing in MN Varsity, sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. Dan travelled to the MPR Studios to have his piece professionally recorded, that piece will air on Classical MPR in March.  Four of the finalists will be chosen by judges, with a fifth voted in by listeners March 23-29. To learn more about MPR’s MN Varsity and hear the initial recording submitted by Dan, click the link below:


ISD 709 News

posted Feb 12, 2015, 1:42 PM by Communications ISD 709

ISD 709 FY 2016 Budget Projections Maintain Investment to Support Class Size Reduction, Curriculum Updates and Student Achievement Strategies

   Duluth school board members received preliminary FY 2016 budget planning information during a committee of the whole meeting this week.  Additional budget meetings will be scheduled through March, with a final budget approved in June. 

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

   While projections for next year present a surplus as a result of the pending sale of the Central property, the ability to sustain additional ongoing investments remains limited.  State per pupil funding is under discussion by the Minnesota legislature and will be included in the projections when their decision making process is more complete.  

   Board members reviewed and discussed ideas both for using budget funds efficiently and for increasing investment in strategies related to student achievement. 

   Click here for more detail.


INVITATION: Denfeld Robotics Team Open House February 12, 5:00PM  Team DNA invites you to their Robot Reveal Open House Thursday, February 12 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM at Denfeld High School in room 1310. Look for signs leading to the room from the main entrance.  During the Open House, Team DNA will reveal their robot for the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition. The team spent six weeks working on their robot and look forward to showing it to the public and answering questions. For more information contact Coach Andy Gunderson at 


INVITATION:  Duluth East Daredevils 2015 Open House February 12, 7:00PM

The Duluth East Daredevils invite you to their 2015 Annual Open House where they will unveil their latest robot and its name. There will be a demonstration and previous robots will be displayed.  It will be an exciting night full of tasty treats, punch, good conversation, and of course, the Daredevils. Attendees will have the chance to interact with the robot and ask questions. The game this year will be Recycle Rush. This game focuses on the real life situation of recycling and going green for red.

Duluth East High School Library/Media Center 301 N. 40th Ave. E. 

February 12, 7:00PM-8:30PM


INVITATION:  Free Community Event!  Ojibwe Story Telling February 25

   Join us on Wednesday, February 25, at the Gimaaji Building for dinner and story telling.  Mike "Migizi" Sullivan will be sharing traditional winter stories. Afterward, the kids can enjoy hearing "Esiban" and make their own puppets!

   This event is free and open to the public.  Dinner will be provided.

5:00PM-5:30PM Dinner

5:45PM-5:55PM Introductions

6:00PM-7:30PM Storytelling and activities


212 W 2nd Street, Duluth

Contact Yolanda Goseyun 336-8700 x4172 or Diana Anstett x4166 for questions or more information.


ISD 709 Kindergarten Roundup in March

   During Kindergarten Roundup, register children for the September 2015 school year, meet the teachers and principal and learn more about ISD 709 elementary schools. 

·         Free All Day, Every Day Kindergarten

·         90 minutes literacy (reading & writing) each day

·         60 minutes math

·         Art, Music, Phy. Ed., Media

·         Advanced academic opportunities and comprehensive interventions to boost reading and math skills

·         Guidance and support to help students learn responsibility, citizenship and respect

·         Parent and community partnerships to support education

Check for Kindergarten Roundup Dates & Times


Denfeld Students To Participate in Science Immersion Program

   Thanks to a partnership with Wolf Ridge and the National Forest Service, a group of Denfeld students will participate in a high school science immersion program called SEAK (Scientists Eagerly Acquiring Knowledge) this spring.  Through SEAK, students will engage in meaningful, authentic field science and learn about a wide variety of outdoor professions. The program hopes to strengthen the Forest Service's connection with a local school and encourages students to pursue education and careers in the sciences. Classes will be held at Denfeld throughout the spring culminate with three weeks at Wolf Ridge ELC this summer.  To watch students from last year in action, visit

ISD 709 News

posted Feb 3, 2015, 11:36 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 6:26 AM ]

Denfeld High School Music Listening Team Earns Trip to State! 

   Denfeld High School students took 1st Place (Nikki Hill, Taylor Johnson, Karen Boynton) and 3rd Place (Andrew Nguyen, Dawkin Erceg, and Maria Puglisi) in regionals at the 2015 Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest.  Nikki, Taylor and Karen will advance to the State contest at Augsburg College in Minneapolis on Friday.  The Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest assists teachers in their efforts to expand the experiences of students and covers classical music, global perspectives and a variety of musical influences. 


Duluth East and Eagen Team Up to Report on Robotics

   The Duluth East Daredevils and Eagen Blue Twilight are teaming up to spread the word about FIRST Robotics and STEM education.  They’ve created a team of novice reporters, photographers and writers to document regional competitions and receive journalism training from the staff at the Duluth News Tribune. 

   Stories will be in the Duluth News Tribune Friday and Saturday, February 27th-28th, 2015 and check their blog at


Dr. Anton Treuer spent a day in Duluth talking about equity, education, culture and raising student achievement

during training sessions for ISD 709 teachers and staff.
 Dr. Treuer is Executive Director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University.  He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.     

   Dr. Treuer is the Editor of Oshkaabewis Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. 


Denfeld Graduate and Student Chef Matthew Johnson a Finalist in Game Day Grub Match!

   As one of 4 student teams from The Culinary Institute of America, Matthew and his teammate created a recipe called Tostitos Chiplotle Chicken Nachos.  They presented their recipe to an all-star cast of judges including Food Network chef Anne Burrell, celebrity chef David Burke, New York Jets Pro Bowl Center Nick Mangold, CIA Director of Food and Beverage Operations Waldy Malouf, and PepsiCo Corporate Executive Research Chef Stephen Kalil.

   To view the competition, go to  Winners receive $5,000 in scholarship money.  


ISD 709 Bullying Prevention Policy Incorporates Community Input

   Members of the ISD 709 Bullying Prevention Committee met in January to review parent, student, staff and community input and are using it to update the current ISD 709 bullying prevention policy.   Thoughts and advice were gathered through meetings held by ISD 709 and the city of Duluth, and through student, staff and community surveys.  The Duluth School Board adopted the Minnesota School Board Association’s Model Bullying Prohibition policy last summer as a foundation for involving the community.

   Once the revisions are drafted, the Committee will seek feedback from stakeholders and then bring the revised policy to the Education Committee and School Board for approval.   


Accomplishments, Activities, Appreciation

--Congratulations to Joshua Peterson from Duluth East High School for winning First Place and to Nikki Hill, Denfeld High School, for taking Second Place in the DSSO 2015 Young Artist Competition. Josh and Nikki were competing with students from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.  Josh was awarded a scholarship, and the opportunity to perform Bruch’s Romanze for Viola and Orchestra with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra at the Young People’s Concert on February 27. 

--Duluth East HS Orchestra students Ji-Won Choi (violin), Josh Peterson (viola), Marissa Faerber, Madeleine Monson Geerts, and Dan Richards (cello) were selected for the 2015 All-State Orchestra. All-State is a program to develop the finest musicians and leaders among Minnesota's most accomplished high school students.  They attended an intense All-State orchestra camp this past summer and will be reconvening with other All-State winners on February 14, for their performance at Symphony Hall in Minneapolis for the Minnesota Music Educator Association convention.

--Duluth East HS Orchestra students Lucie Han (violin), Jubran Jindeel and Henry Paton (cello), were selected to perform at the MSOTA Middle Level Honor Orchestra.  They will join together with other accomplished young string players from the state for a performance on February 14, at the Minneapolis Convention Center as part of the Minnesota Music Educator Association convention.


Students from Duluth East High School participated in the Regional Competition of Business Professionals of America in Grand Rapids and took home many awards.  They’re now eligible for the State competition in Minneapolis in March.  Awards include, but are not limited to:

Jim Anderson:  1st Management/Marketing/Human Resources Concepts; 1st Computer Security

Mallorie Anderson:  1st Global Marketing Team

Garrett Bock: 1st Financial Math and Analysis Concepts; 1st Basic Office Systems and Procedures

Sarah Bosshart: 1st Global Marketing Team

Carlie Breiland-Marshall: 1st Global Marketing Team

Jessical Bull: 2nd Medical Office Procedures

Ethan Clay: 2nd Small Business Management Team

Caitlin Crawl: 1st Keyboarding Production; 1st Fundamental Word Processing Skills; 1st Parliamentary Procedure Concepts

Allie Davidson: 1st Medical Office Procedures; 1st Advanced Office Systems and Procedures

Patsy Davidson: 3rd Medical Office Procedures

Whitney Garden: 1st Administrative Support Concepts

Iyzaya Gill: 2nd Computer Network Technology; 2nd Small Business Management Team

Gretta Johnson: 1st Banking and Finance

Libby Johnson: 2nd Economic Research Project/Individual; 2nd Financial Math and Analysis Concepts

Karama Langenbrunner: 2nd Payroll Accounting

Frans-Lukas Lovenvald: 1st C++ Programming; 1st JAVA Programming; 1st Computer Programming Concepts; 1st Network Administration Using Microsoft

Makenna Paquette: 2nd Basic Office Systems and Procedures

Tessa Paquette: 4th Business Meeting Management Concepts

Rachel Turner:  2nd Parliamentary Procedure Concepts

Jonah Wehr: 1st Personal Finance Management Concepts

Abby Wright: 4th Digital Desktop Publishing

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 27, 2015, 8:04 AM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 8:29 AM ]

Governor Proclaims Paraprofessional Recognition Week

   Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed 7he week of January 25, 2015 to be Paraprofessional Recognition Week.  The proclamation recognizes the work done by paraprofessionals to provide a number of services within schools, including support for instruction, student activities, and numerous tasks which contribute to educational success, improving student achievement and increasing the effectiveness of Minnesota schools.


Accomplishments, Activities, Appreciation

--Sixty-three students have been inducted into the Denfeld Chapter of the National Honor Society.  The induction took

place during a banquet in the Denfeld Commons, dinner was prepared and served by the school’s Culinary Arts students, under the supervision of Mike Emerson.  Keynote speakers included Principal Tonya Sconiers and Joe Vukelich.  Michele Helbacka is advisor to the Denfeld National Honor Society, Jacob Faynik and Lucy Billings are Co-Presidents. 

--Guys With Ties, a young men’s group at Lincoln Park Middle School, participated in Day on the Hill hosted by the Council on Black Minnesotans. Students met with legislators to discuss peace from a youth perspective and were featured in WDIO-TV news coverage.

--The Ordean East Middle School 8th Grade Orchestra will travel to Alexandria, MN in February to participate in the Minnesota Tier 1 Orchestra Festival.  There are 74 Orchestras participating in Tier 1.  The three sites include Hopkins,

Alexandria and Roseville, Minnesota.  On March 30th, two Orchestra from each site will have an opportunity to advance to Tier 2, receive coaching from professional musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, perform a concert, and earn a trophy.

--Student artwork from Laura MacArthur Elementary was chosen for an art exhibition at the University of Wisconsin-Superior Kruk Gallery – the show runs February 2 - 26, 2015. Students created a clay replica of Anasazi pottery after learning about the Southwest region of the United States in Social Studies.  Congratulations to: Max Reese, Jacob Erickson, Annabelle Soderberg, Brendan Hughes, Darren Turcotte, Brooklyn Reilly, Thomas Thach, Ayla


--Denfeld Key Club and Denfeld National Honor Society students are partnering with a local sewing club to make mittens for local children.  Students received a grant from Thrivent Financial to cover costs for materials and are working to make more than 200 pairs of mittens for donation. They call the project “Happy Hands.”

--Emma Maher, Homecroft Elementary, was selected as a winner in Essential Health's "Light of Love" essay contest.  The contest had over 200 entrants and chose 13 winning essays.  Emma was honored at a special ceremony held in Duluth.

--The Denfeld Exec Board adopted two families over the holidays.  The students worked to provide both families with gifts and Super One gift cards.  


From Linda Magni, Duluth Sister Cities

   Duluth Sister Cities International is seeking families with students aged 11-14 to host Japanese students from Duluth's sister city of Ohara Isumi-City, Japan August 8-15, 2015. The Duluth student is then eligible to travel to Japan the following (2016) summer to stay with host families for about a week to experience life in Duluth's sister city.  If you would like to host a student or have questions on the Ohara Isumi-City student exchange program, please email  or call Linda Magni at Duluth Sister Cities International (218) 727-8375 or check our website:   Application deadline is February 15.


From Julia Cheng, Community Action Duluth

Community Action Duluth Free Tax Site is Open

   Community Action Duluth’s Free Tax Site is open now until April 15. All clinics are at 2424 West 5th Street, Suite 102, in the old Lincoln Park School. Use the 5th Street “smokestack” entrance.  Tax site hours at these walk-in only clinics are:

--Mondays and Tuesdaysdoors open at 4:30 pm

--Saturdays, doors open at 8:45 am

--Wednesday, doors open at 4:30 pm, January 28 and April 15 ONLY

   Supervised by Community Action staff, IRS-certified volunteers will prepare 2014 federal, state and property tax returns for households with income up to $53,000. Clinics last 4 hours.  We take the first 30-50 clients in line, depending on the number of volunteers available. People may arrive outside our office 1-2 hours in advance.

   For prior year or amended returns, please call (218) 726-1665, ext. 39, for an appointment. Tax year 2011 refunds expire on April, 2015, so don’t wait.  For more information and a tax prep “What to Bring” checklist, visit or call (218) 726-1665.

Do Your Own Taxes and E-File for Free

   In addition to the volunteer-run tax site, Community Action Duluth supports self-preparation

through  Individuals and families with household income up to $60,000 can use this website to prepare their own federal and state returns and file them electronically, all for free.

   “In Duluth, we provide Minnesota-specific guidance and link to MyFreeTaxes from our agency website,” says Julia Cheng, tax site program coordinator. “Community Action Duluth, the Claim it! campaign and Duluth Public Library are recognizing Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day this Friday, January 30, with a facilitated self-prep clinic at the main branch from 10 am to 2 pm. Tax site volunteers will be available to help taxpayers navigate                

   All Duluth Public Library branches provide online access to MyFreeTaxes, which licenses H&R Block software.­  See above for contact information if you have questions.

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 21, 2015, 8:35 AM by Communications ISD 709

Duluth School Board Honors Duluth East HS Physics Students

   During their regular January meeting Board members took time to recognize Devin Johnson and Jackson Churchill from Duluth East High School.

   Devin and Jackson recently competed in the Physics Olympiad held at the University of Minnesota – Duluth.  Close to 20 students participated, Devin earned first place in the event and Jackson took third place, outstanding results! 

   Physics Olympiads are competitions for high school students and involve solving theoretical and experimental problems.  The event promotes academic excellence and provides intellectual stimulation for students interested in physical sciences.  Events are held regularly in many countries and conducted at the city, regional, state, country and international levels.


Duluth Selected as a Semifinalist in $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize

   Duluth was announced as one of 50 communities who are leading the way on energy efficiency and have officially advanced to the Semifinal round of the

Georgetown University Energy Prize.  This national competition is challenging communities to rethink their energy use.

   “Duluth energy efficiency is important to our residents and our local economy,” said Mayor Don Ness.  “This competition is a great way of encouraging residents to take steps that create long term commitment to saving energy and practicing good stewardship.  The benefits of this competition are far greater than the prize; I encourage the Duluth community to get involved.”

   ISD 709 is a community partner in this effort and will be encouraging staff and students to participate in efforts to minimize and reduce energy consumption both at school and at home.

   For more information visit or contact Duluth’s campaign headquarters, administered by local nonprofit Ecolibrium3 at 218-336-1038. 


School Board Approves Remaining LRFP Projects

   During the January meeting, Duluth School Board members approved remaining school projects associated with the Long Range Facilities Plan.

   Of the remaining $5.4 million, about $2.7 million is earmarked for completing investments in Career and Technical education equipment and spaces at Denfeld and Duluth East High School and conducting roof repair, replacement of a crumbling retaining wall, water conservation updates and security and communication system updates, among others, at Historic Old Central High School.

   Another $2.7 million is associated with work scope at Congdon Park, Denfeld, East, Homecroft, Lakewood, Laura MacArthur, Lester Park, Lowell, Myers-Wilkins, Ordean East and Stowe.   A detailed presentation is available at, click here to view.


Martin Luther King Week School Activities

--Students at Lester Park Elementary School are doing a Civil Rights Sing Along in their gym this week.

--Students in Mrs. Pilate’s 1st grade class at Congdon Park Elementary are involved in a week long study of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In addition to being read books about Dr. King, students are talking about how they might change the world, viewing short video clips about Dr. King’s life, writing their own thoughts, and viewing art work from street artists to prominent African American artists such as Jacob Lawrence to John Woodrow Wilson.  Students are creating their own Portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Their artwork and writing will be displayed outside the classroom and for Parent Teacher Conferences.


From the Minnesota Department of Health:

Minnesotans urged to fight influenza, other viruses by staying home when ill

   In the midst of a tough influenza season, health officials are urging Minnesotans to protect themselves and others by staying home for the duration of their illness.

   "We know that some of this activity can be reduced if people stay home when they are feeling ill,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “It may not always be convenient, but it is an important step in reducing the spread of these diseases."

   Minnesotans can also do their part to slow the spread of diseases by covering their sneezes and coughs and washing their hands thoroughly with soap and water for 15-20 seconds after coughing or sneezing in them, after going to the bathroom and before eating or preparing food. You can protect yourself and those around you by getting vaccinated for influenza. It’s still not too late, health officials said. 


Head Start Program Says “Thank You!” for Book Donations

   The ISD 709 Head Start program received over 2,000 books through the Barnes and Noble Holiday Book Drive.  Head Start Principal Pam Rees says staff will use the books in classrooms and programming and parents are able to take some of the books home to read with their children.  Rees says this may be a record and she’s extremely grateful to everyone for the donations.

    “On behalf of the children, families and staff at Duluth Head Start, thank you for your efforts and the generosity we feel from the Duluth community,” said Rees.


Public Auction:  ISD 709 Shop Tools, Supplies and Equipment

Saturday, January 24th, 9:00 a.m.  

Secondary Technical Center , 802 East Central Entrance 

   Large auction of equipment and tools including welders, band saws, lathes, sanders, planers, 

machinist tools, hydraulic press, milling machine, grinder, gantry crane, metal stitcher, 

gas engines, steel fabrication tools, fireproof storage cabinets, electric test machines, metal shear, 

wood shop tables, welding tables, concrete mixer, hand and power tools, too much to list here!!  This is a big auction!

   Inspection:  Friday, January 23rd, from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

   Removal:  No later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, January 30th.

Go to for details and photos

For Information:  Nordic Auction, 218/525-4511218/390-3035

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 13, 2015, 7:50 AM by Communications ISD 709

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

   The Duluth Community Education Winter 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, 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

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

   For more information email:communityeducation@isd709.orgor call 218-336-8760 or visit  


School Board Reviews Remaining LRFP Projects

   During the January Business Committee meeting, Duluth School Board members received an update on remaining school projects associated with the Long Range Facilities Plan. 

   Of the remaining $5.4 million, about $2.7 million is earmarked for completing investments in Career and Technical education equipment and spaces at Denfeld and Duluth East High School and conducting roof repair, replacement of a crumbling retaining wall, water conservation updates and security and communication system updates, among others, at Historic Old Central High School.

   Another $2.7 million is associated with work scope at Congdon Park, Denfeld, East, Homecroft, Lakewood, Laura MacArthur, Lester Park, Lowell, Myers-Wilkins, Ordean East and Stowe.   A detailed presentation is available at, click here to view.

    The Board will consider a resolution to complete the remaining work at the January 20, 2015 School Board meeting in Historic Old Central High School.


Martin Luther King Day School Activities

Myers-Wilkins Elementary classrooms will receive a book about Martin Luther King titled, “Love Will See You Through."  The book, written by his niece, is about Martin Luther King Jr. six guiding beliefs.  Each morning a different person will read one of the beliefs over the intercom to all the students. Several Myers-Wilkins classes are designing placemats for the Martin Luther King Day community breakfast.

Students in Mary Ann Harala’s class at Congdon Park Elementary read about Dr. King all week and create I Have a Dream Clouds, mobiles made with paper clouds, each sharing a dream for the world, for the community and for the student. They take part in a Call to Action which involves a positive project to help the community, such as making scarves to donate to the Damiano Center.



-- Chrissy Valento , Laura MacArthur Elementary, was recently awarded a Daughters of the American Revolution grant in the amount of $500.  This money will be used to teach lessons on conservation in the classroom at Laura MacArthur in grades K-5.  The art lessons will stress the importance of the Early American Conservation Movement and how some Americans developed a deep and dedicated commitment to treating nature with respect.  

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

December 2014: KeShaun Gilbert, Chloe Moe, Renee Gould, Ruby Landry, Ella McPhee

Scarlett Eugenis, Ryann Ostrom, Faith Biermaier, Diara Condes, Olivia Sanner

January 2015: Wyatt Berg. Libby Abernethy, Anabell Biermeyer, Giana Herrick, Alexis Lauderville, Lucas Martens, Derrick LaPre, Alexandra Kokotovich

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 7, 2015, 3:33 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Jan 15, 2015, 11:31 AM ]

AEO Online High School Hosts Open House Event   Teachers and staff from ISD 709’s Academic Excellence Online High School welcomed visitors to their offices in Duluth this week during their Open House event.  People interested in online learning could see lesson demonstrations, meet teachers, ask questions, and learn about the enrollment process.

Information about AEO is available any time at


Duluth School Board Elects Officers for 2015

   The Duluth School Board elected the following officers during an organizational meeting held Monday January 5, 2015 at Historic Old Central High School:

·        Judy Seliga Punyko, Chairperson

·         Annie Harala, Vice Chairperson

·         Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, Clerk

·         Bill Westholm, Treasurer

   Officers will serve in their positions for one year.  Serving as a school board member is an important responsibility, helping to establish educational standards that will affect the future of Duluth’s students, community and society.  School board meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, detailed information packets and more are available online at, check under District/School Board.


Superintendent’s Duluth News Tribune Column Talks School, Student Success and Making Student Achievement a Priority

   At the request of the DNT, Superintendent Bill Gronseth joined other local leaders to talk about the achievements of the past year and vision for the future.  In the newspaper column, Gronseth talks about a quiet but certain optimism – practical and realistic – aware of the challenges but confident in the ability of our schools and community to meet them.  He emphasizes the importance of working together with people inside and outside of schools and how each person can work to champion the success of our students.

   Click here to read the column.


THE 2015 MARTIN LUTHER KING HOLIDAY Events in the Twin Ports

For complete list of sponsors and more info, visit

Thursday, Jan. 15 - 6:30 PM:  Mayor’s MLK Reception

   A chance for the community to come together in unity amidst our diversity.

   The Underground ~ 506 W. Michigan St ~ Lower Level

Saturday, Jan. 17 - 7:00 PM:  Jam’n with MLK

   A Night of Celebration of the Contributions of People of African Heritage

   Peace United Church of Christ ~ 1111 North 11th Avenue East

Sunday, Jan. 18 - 5:00 PM:  Community Ecumenical Worship Service

   Speaker Christopher Little and a community choir led by Dr. Roderquita Moore.

   Christ Temple Victory Center ~ 330 North 59th Avenue West, See for more details.

MLK Holiday ~ Monday, Jan. 19 - 7:00 AM:  Free Community Breakfast

   Featuring Vernon Jordan

   First United Methodist Church Church ~ 230 East Skyline Parkway

   7:00 AM Breakfast begins

   8:00 AM Broadcast of Vernon Jordan’s speech from Minneapolis

   Funding from the General Mills Community Foundation.

Monday, Jan. 19 - 10:45 AM:  March & Rally

   Gather at 10:45 AM at Washington Center (corner of 4th St. and Lake Ave.) March

   starts at 11:00 AM Route is from Washington Center through downtown to DECC.

   Rally at DECC begins approximately at 11:45 AM.

   The rally will be interpreted into America Sign Language and broadcast live

   on Wisconsin Public Radio - 91.3 FM.

Sponsored by: African-American Men’s Group | ISD #709 ~ Office of Educational Equity

UMD Office of Cultural Diversity | St. Mark AME | City of Duluth | The Underground

Christ Temple | First United Methodist Church | NAACP | Peace United Church of Christ


Making Decisions to Open/Close School During Cold Weather

   Below is basic information regarding such decisions, keeping in mind each situation may be a little bit different.  Each cold or snowy weather situation is carefully reviewed and considered individually.  What doesn't change is a superintendent's primary consideration in making the decision - the ability to transport children safely to and from school.

   When the National Weather Service predicts cold temperatures with a wind chill warning or advisory, personnel work with the National Weather Service to closely monitor both ambient temperatures and wind chills predicted overnight and into the early morning hours. 

   Superintendents consult with their transportation personnel about the ability of school buses to safely function in the cold and also consult with other school districts.  They also balance the need for children to be in school and learning. 

   In the end, superintendents make the best decision they can given the data in front of them, knowing some people will agree with the decision and some will disagree.  The school board and administration realize that their decision for the majority of students may not fit with individual family circumstances. A decision to keep a student home for safety reasons will be considered an excused absence.

   Here’s a link to information sent to ISD 709 families at the beginning of the school year regarding cold/snowy weather closings:

ISD 709 News

posted Jan 2, 2015, 3:01 PM by Communications ISD 709

Open House Event:  Academic Excellence Online High School

Wednesday January 7, 2015

3:00PM – 6:00PM

215 North First Avenue East, Room 100  Duluth, MN

Learn more about how AEO can help achieve student goals

--Lessons Demonstrations


--Meet the teachers

--Take an assessment, see if online learning is right for your

--Test personal devices for ease and compatibility

--Opportunities to learn about and/or initiate the enrollment process

More Info:  218-336-8766 or


Look For Duluth Community Education Schedule of Classes and Activities January 4

   The Duluth Community Education Winter 2015 schedule of classes and activities will be published this weekend (January 4) with the Duluth Budgeteer News.  It will also be available online for viewing and secure registration beginning Monday January 5.

   Community Education offers opportunities to learners of all ages through:

  • Early childhood programs
  • School readiness/Pre-K
  • KEY Zone school-age care and academic enrichment
  • Adult basic education -GED and Adult High School Diploma - It's never too late to learn
  • Driver education
  • Aquatics classes
  • Adult enrichment and youth activities - take a class in computers, music, yoga, cooking, painting, fitness, digital photography, languages, much more - something for everyone

   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 the new season with us, see you at class!


Help Prevent Influenza (The Flu)

   The flu season is here, please do your part to help us keep school a healthy place to learn:

·         Please keep children home if they have flu-like symptoms.  This includes a fever of 100 degrees or greater, including a cough and/or sore throat.  If your child says they aren’t feeling well, please check their temperature to see if they have a fever.

·         Keep children home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing drugs.

·         Teach children to cough or sneeze into their sleeve and to wash their hands frequently.

   When you report your child’s absence to their school, please indicate if your child has a fever of 100 degrees or more, including a cough and/or sore throat.  This information helps us to keep track of influenza in our schools.


FIRST® Robotics Competition Duluth Kickoff Event January 3

   On Saturday January 3, nearly 75,000 high school robotics students worldwide will receive the 2015 FIRST Robotics Challenge.  In Duluth, about 23 local teams will gather at UMD for a kickoff event.    

   All teams, grades 9-12, will be shown the new 2015 robotics game field and challenge for the first time and will receive an exciting, new kit of parts made up of motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automation components – with limited instructions. Teams will have six weeks to design and build a robot to meet this year’s engineering challenge

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