School News

ISD 709 News

posted by Web Developer   [ updated ]

You Are Cordially Invited:

ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community

Thursday November 6, 2014

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

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

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

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN


ISD 709 Community Conversations on Bullying Behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teachers Train in October

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


Public Auction:  ISD 709 Surplus Equipment, Furniture

Saturday November 1, 11:00AM

330 ½ Garfield Avenue, Duluth

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

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

Removal:  No later than Tuesday November 4

Go to for photos and more listings

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


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


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

For more information:



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

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

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 15, 2014, 1:23 PM by Web Developer   [ updated Oct 15, 2014, 1:24 PM ]

Raising Awareness of Bullying in Duluth

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

Film Screening & Community Conversation On Bullying

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

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

Where: Clyde Iron Works, 2920 W Michigan Street

Cost:  FREE (and light refreshments will be provided)

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


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

6:30PM Welcome and Opening Comments

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

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

9:00PM Closing Comments 

ISD 709 Community Conversations on Bullying Behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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


Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Opens October 21!

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

East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East.

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

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

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

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

--Upcoming Features:

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

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

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

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

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


Trick or Treat to Feed Local Kids

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

For more information:


2014 Transition Resource Fairs – Moving On II

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

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

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

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

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


Middle School Students Experience Urban Wilderness Day

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


Duluth East High School Performing Arts presents  Little Shop of Horrors

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

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


New Legislation Requires ACT Tests for MN Students  

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

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

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

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



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

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

ISD 709 News

posted Oct 9, 2014, 12:48 PM by Web Developer   [ updated Oct 10, 2014, 8:33 AM ]

Parents, Teachers, Community Members, Staff, Students 

Please Save The Date:

ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community

Thursday November 6, 2014

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

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

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

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN 

Featuring Displays of Student Work and Performance


MN Governor Visits Congdon Park Elementary

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


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


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

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

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

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


ISD 709 Construction Technology Program Seeks Residential Construction Projects

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


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


Laura MacArthur Student Artwork To Be Featured at UMD Concert

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

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


Operation Warm – New Coats for Children In Need

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

More Information at


ISD 709 Academic Excellence Online High School Accepting Students

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

   For more information:



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

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

ISD 709 News

posted Sep 30, 2014, 5:02 PM by Web Developer   [ updated Oct 2, 2014, 8:18 AM ]

2014 ISD 709 State Multiple Measurement and Focus Rating Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

How MMR is calculated:

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

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

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

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

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

How FR is calculated:

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

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

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

  • FR is used to identify Focus schools


2013 MMR

2014 MMR

2014 MMR


2013 FR

2014 FR

2014 FR


Laura MacArthur














Lincoln Park





















Ordean East





















Merritt Creek Academy














Area Learning Center







Lester Park







Chester Creek Academy





























Working to Help All Students Achieve Success

What is the “achievement gap?”

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


What happened in 2013-14?

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


Achievement Strategies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

posted Sep 17, 2014, 8:31 AM by Web Developer

Duluth School Board Honors Back-To-School Program

   During their regular September meeting, members of the Duluth School Board recognized Deb Wagner, ISD 709 Homeless Program Coordinator, and Meg Kearns, Distributive Director for CHUM, for their efforts to provide back to

school support for children and families in need.

   For over 10 years, CHUM, their community partners and the ISD 709 Homeless program have worked together to ensure backpacks and school supplies, along with other back to school resources, are available for at risk children.  Over 800 backpacks and supplies are provided each year through CHUM’s Adopt-A-Backpack program.  Donations come from community members and organizations and other CHUM partners. Since 2002, CHUM has collected at least 7,000 backpacks to children in need.    

   Backpacks and supplies are distributed through the ISD 709 Back to School Fair. This fair provides parents and students an opportunity to access school and community resources that assist with the start of school.  

   Those interested in donating to the Adopt-A-Backpack program may contact Meg Kearns at 218-727-2391 or


ISD 709 Projected Pay 2015 Levy Below State Average

   During the September School Board meeting, administrators provided a preliminary levy estimate to the school board, emphasizing that the numbers would be adjusted as the district receives more information from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE).

    According to the preliminary estimate the pay 2015 maximum levy would be an increase of about 1.9% or $613,000.  This is below the statewide average projected by MDE of about 5.9% for all school districts.

   The estimates were developed in preparation for the maximum levy certification process required by MDE. A final levy will be calculated and presented to the School Board for approval in December.

Preliminary Pay 2015 Estimate:

Pay 2014 Levy

Pay 2015 Levy

General Fund:

Prior Year Levy:





Local Optional




Reemployment Insurance


Alternative Facilities


Operating Capital




Total Changes



Pay 2015 Levy (estimated):


Community Education:

Prior Year Levy:





Total Changes



Pay 2015 Levy (estimated):


Debt Service:

Prior Year Levy:




Total Changes



Pay 2015 Levy (estimated)


Preliminary Pay 2015 Maximum Levy (DRAFT)







Duluth Community Family Resource Fair

An opportunity to connect with people, services, and information to help your family thrive

Housing * Education *Employment *Health/ Mental Health

* Financial Assets Building *Child Care * Youth Programs

Tuesday, September 23rd 4-6 p.m.

Myers-Wilkins Elementary School,

1027 North 8th Avenue East Duluth, MN

--Nutritious, locally grown snacks sampler area

--Activities for all ages

--Child care during mini-classes

--Information from agencies and businesses about their services with the community

--Opportunity to participate in a community survey to learn about the effectiveness of the event, what services/opportunities families and  community members would like to see offered at specific school sites, and how they would like to participate in this initiative

For more information or if you need a ride, contact: Kathy Bogen, 218-940-1593

This event is organized by the Myers-Wilkins Community School Collaborative, Duluth LISC, ISD 709 Families in Transitions Program, and Community Action Duluth.  The Fair is made possible through a Health Equity grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation.


Colorful China Touring Performance Troupe

Monday September 29, 6:00PM – 7:00PM

Duluth East High School Myers-Wilkins Auditorium

301 North 40th Avenue East, Duluth MN

Colorful China opens with Chinese folk dance and ends with Chinese Traditional Instrument Orchestra.  Combining Cucurbit Flute, Bamboo Flute, two-string Chinese violin, dulcimer, Pipa, Chinese Drum and others. Performers from the 12 colleges of Capital Normal University, they are counted among the best college student troupes in Beijing.  On its first visit to the U.S., the troupe is making stops in Duluth, Minneapolis, Crookston and Buffalo City.  

Free Admission, Sponsored by The Confucius Institute

For more information:


 Local Pheasants Forever Partners with Duluth East Students to Create Pollinator Habitat

   Pheasants Forever of St. Louis & Carlton County has partnered with Duluth East High School’s “Green Club” and Agriculture/Natural Resources students to create a pollinator habitat between the Lakewalk and the school parking lot, continuing along 40th Avenue East.

   This pollinator project establishes a long-term ecologically sound landscape that is adapted to the specific site and will add distinctive aesthetics which will be enjoyed by those using the Duluth Lakewalk, and provides a valuable learning environment for students of Duluth East High School.  This location will be designed to favor the attraction, survival, and reproduction of pollinators, as well as providing a Monarch weigh station along the butterfly’s migration path.

ISD 709 News

posted Sep 12, 2014, 11:59 AM by Web Developer   [ updated Sep 12, 2014, 1:06 PM ]

ISD 709 is offering surplus items for auction on the Public Surplus Auction Website (  Search for items under Independent School District 709, Minnesota.  Twelve items are currently up for auction, including multiple computer tables.   Next week additional items will be added including shop equipment, exercise equipment and antique cabinets. All items must be picked up by the successful bidder at their own expense. All items are sold “as is.”  Items can be viewed Monday to Friday from 9:00AM – 11:00AM at Central High School, 800 East Central Entrance in Duluth (use Blackman Avenue access).  For more information:  218-336-8905.


Duluth Parks and Recreation's FREE School Year Open Skate program has started and runs through May 27, 2015 at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center, 120 S. 30th Ave. W.  Free Open Skating will be offered almost every Wednesday evening on days when school is in session from 6:30 to 8:00 PM and also during scheduled school release days. Limited skates are available to use for free. Information on special events and school release skating hours are available at and notifications go out on their Facebook page, DuluthParksMN. Grab your family and your skates and get out on the best indoor ice surface in Duluth!

Every Wednesday that school is in session:  Sept 10-May 27 | 6:30-8:00PM

MEA School Release Days:  October 16 & 17 | 2:00-4:00PM

Special Skating Parties 6:30-8:00PM:

Skate & Scare, Oct. 29

Gobbler Glide, Nov. 26

Santa Skate, Dec. 17

Skate for the Heart, Feb. 11

Holiday Break

Friday, Dec. 26, 2:00-4:00PM

Monday, Dec. 29, 10:30-12:30

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 10:30-12:30

Friday, Jan. 2, 2:00-4:00PM

Mid-Winter Break:  February 16-20 | 2:00-4:00PM

Spring Break:  April 6-10 | 2:00-4:00PM 


From the Minnesota Department of Health:  Enteroviruses

Enteroviruses have been in the news recently.  They can cause a variety of illnesses. 

Symptoms:  Your child may have cold-like symptoms with fever.  Sore throat, mouth sores, rash, vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms.  If your child is infected, it may take 3 to 6 days for symptoms to start.

Spread:  By coughing or sneezing, touching contaminated hands, surfaces or objects, eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages

Contagious Period:  During symptoms and as long as the virus is in the stool.  This could be for several weeks.


·         Cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.  Use a tissue or your sleeve.  Dispose of used tissues. 

·         Wash hands after touching anything that could be contaminated with the secretions from the mouth or nose or with stool and before preparing food or eating. 

·         Clean and disinfect any objects that come in contact with stool or secretions from the nose or mouth.  This includes toilets (potty chairs), sinks, toys, diaper changing areas, and surfaces.  Use a product that kills germs.

If you think your child has an Enteroviral infection:

Tell your childcare provider or call the school.

Need to stay home?

Childcare:  Yes, until diarrhea and vomiting have stopped.

School:  No, unless the child is not feeling well and/or has diarrhea and needs to use the bathroom frequently.



--Members of the Ordean East Middle School eCybermission Program “Dr. D.O.R.K.” Team earned a First Place State Award for 7th grade in the 2014 competition!  Hard work and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) shows they have what it takes to be future STEM leaders for our nation. 

--Five Duluth East High School students have been named 2015 National Merit Semi-Finalists:  Ji-Won Choi, Alyssa Everson, Henry French, Devin Johnson, and Derick Rossell.  Approximately 1.4 million juniors entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the October 2013 PSAT test. Semi-Finalists represent less than one percent of the US high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.  

--Duluth East High School AP Scholars:   East gave 262 Advanced Placements exams to 204 students in May of 2014.  Of those students, 28 were granted various levels of Scholar status with an overall average score of 3.95 (on a 5 point scale). Nineteen students received an AP Scholar Award for achieving a score of 3 on three or more AP exams; 4 students received an AP Scholar with Honor Award for scoring an average of 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams; 4 students received an AP Scholar with Distinction for scoring at least a 3.5 average on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams; and one student received a National AP Scholar award for scoring at least a 4 on all AP exams, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

--Deb Hannu presented during a national webinar on the Model Cornerstone Assessments for the new National Standards for the Visual Arts.  The new standards provide models for assessment in the art classroom that can be adapted to instructional units and tailored to local teaching and learning settings.

--Lynn Tuomi, Library Media Specialist for Piedmont and Lakewood Elementaries, received a $199 grant from the Digital Wish List Foundation to support digital citizenship curriculum. The Digital Citizenship Unit includes important lessons in Digital Citizens and the Internet; Cyber Safety; Safety Skits for Reinforcement; and Copyright in the Classroom.  Lesson plan extensions and extra projects are included.  

ISD 709 News

posted Sep 9, 2014, 6:25 AM by Web Developer

2014 ACT College Entrance Exam Results

ISD 709 outperforms national average

   The District’s average composite score on the ACT has remained steady, with a composite score of 22.9 (last year 23.0).  This is consistent with the state average, and is well above the national average.

   The percentage of students meeting college readiness benchmarks was higher than the state in the areas of English and Social Science, and lower in Biology and Algebra.  The percentage of students meeting college readiness benchmarks was higher than the nation in English, Algebra, Social Science, and Biology.

   Students of color are underrepresented in the results.  This will change next year when all Minnesota juniors will take the ACT, free of charge, as part of new graduation requirements approved by the 2013 Legislature.


Think Kids 2015 to Include Review of Boundaries

Review process will take place over the next school year, in preparation for September 2015

   During last year’s 2014 Think Kids conversation, community members were asked to review data and provide input regarding elementary school enrollments and boundaries throughout the city and provide thoughts regarding class size management. 

   The process will continue this school year, with an overall goal of supporting student achievement by ensuring all schools have enough students to provide flexibility in managing class size and limit the potential of future overcrowding.  While the primary emphasis will be on possible adjustments to elementary boundaries, data regarding the middle school/high school boundary will also be included in the process.

   Steps will be taken to keep parents, staff and community member informed and provide opportunities for input into the decision making process.  Steps will also be taken to provide the detailed data and analysis necessary to help make informed decisions.

   More information at


Teachers Work Together to Improve Student Achievement

PLCs Approved for 2014-15

   When educators work together strategically, student achievement increases.  With that in mind, members of the Duluth Federation of Teachers approved implementation of Professional Learning  Communities (PLCs) throughout all of our schools this year.  Teachers will have more opportunities to work with their colleagues to improve instruction, share best practices, and insure all students are learning everything they need to be successful.


More Student Help Time

WIN Approved for 2014-15

   At the high school level, implementation of PLCs will also create a half-hour within the school day for students to engage in enrichment activities (college/career readiness and planning, extra academic support).  This time period is referred to as WIN (What I Need).  

ISD 709 News

posted Aug 26, 2014, 5:45 AM by Web Developer

2013-14 ISD 709 State Test Results

On Tuesday August  26 the  Minnesota Department  of Education released the 2013-2014 state test results. State tests include the results of the MCA, MCA-Modified, and MTAS (“all accountability tests”). Consistent with AYP and MMR calculations, results are reported for students enrolled October 1 in ISD 709.  A detailed review will be provided at the September Education Committee meeting. 

2013-2014 Reading:  Overall, most ISD 709 schools increased in proficiency and the District percent proficient is consistent with the state average. The District’s increase outpaced the the state.

  • Most grades increased in proficiency, with the biggest gains in grade 5 (7.5 points) and grade 7 (10.5 points).
  • Subgroups that increased proficiency include Free/Reduced, Black, and American Indian.
  • Proficiency increased, and at a faster rate, for students who are not of color, who are not from poverty and who are not receiving special education services, which widens the achievement gap.
  • Focus and Priority schools (Laura MacArthur, Lincoln Park, Piedmont) saw significant gains. Our Continuous Improvement school (Stowe) also saw a significant increase.   

2013-2014 Math:  Overall, the District increased in percent proficient and the majority of schools increased in proficiency. The state’s proficiency decreased.

  • All grades increased in proficiency. The biggest gains were in grade 5 (11.1 points) and grade 7 (6.1 points). A new test was introduced for students in grade 11, so year-to-year comparisons cannot be made.
  • All subgroups increased in proficiency.
  • As with Reading, proficiency increased for students who are not of color, not from poverty and not receiving special education services, which widens the achievement gap for some groups.
  • Schools seeing steady increases in proficiency include:
    • Lincoln Park (13.8 since 10-11)
    • Lowell (10 since 11-12)
    • Laura MacArthur (37.1 since 10-11)
    • Myers-Wilkins (15.2 since 11-12)
    • Piedmont (8.6 since 10-11)
    • Stowe (9.7 since 11-12)
    • Ordean East (10.3 since 11-12)
    • East (10.4 points since 11-12)

2013-2014 MCA Science:  Overall District proficiency increased and each grade increased over last year.

  • The District increased proficiency at a rate faster than the state.
  • About half of the schools increased proficiency and half decreased.   

2014-15 Achievement Strategies:

  • Results in several schools demonstrate the power of teachers working together to address student needs.  We’re working to give all teachers this opportunity through Professional Learning Communities.
  • Individual student data will continue to guide instruction.
  • Investments have been made in curriculum alignment and updated materials to help meet student needs.

ISD 709 News

posted Aug 22, 2014, 1:31 PM by Web Developer


Duluth School Board Honors True North AmeriCorps Support for Education

   During their regular August meeting, the Duluth School Board took time to recognize True North AmerCorps for its support of on-time graduation, ensuring that youth are prepared for academic, civic and economic success.  A program of the Duluth Area Family YMCA, they partner with nonprofits, schools, and community agencies to serve Duluth and Proctor. This year True North AmeriCorps members will help support reading and math interventions during the school day and academic support and engagement activities after school in collaboration with community-based organizations.

   Tracie Clanaugh Branch Executive Director/Community Services for the YMCA accepted the recognition on behalf of the organization.   


School Board Approves Bullying Prohibition Policy

   In August, the Duluth School Board adopted the Minnesota School Board Association's Model Bullying Prohibition Policy as a foundation for involving the community and developing meaningful compliance with the state’s Safe Schools Act. The Act requires school districts to rewrite their existing anti-bullying policies and train staff to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. 


Denfeld, Duluth East Robotics Teams Present to School Board

   During the August Education Committee meeting, students from the Denfeld and Duluth East Robotics Teams presented a demonstration to the Duluth School Board and provided a recap of their successful seasons.  Both teams participate in FIRST Robotics, which prides itself in gracious professionalism and “coopertition.”  The organization focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  Graduates from local teams, such as the Duluth East Daredevils, have obtained internships at major FIRST sponsors, machining companies, and NASA right out of high school.  


Denfeld Hunters Cheer Team Receives 2014 Herkie Award

   Denfeld cheerleaders received the 2014 Herkie Award during the National Cheerleading Association (NCA) summer camp hosted by the College of St. Scholastica.  The NCA teaches young cheerleaders how to be leaders on and off the field, within their schools and communities.  The award is named after NCA founder Lawrence “Herkie” Herkimer and is given to the team that exemplifies qualities of leadership, teamwork and strong values.

   The Denfeld cheerleaders spent four days at the NCA camp attending classes and workshops, polishing their routines and competing daily. The Denfeld cheerleaders took home numerous awards including two ribbons for outstanding performance and two ribbons for excellent performance in the competitions, which judged cheers, chants and stunts. They also received the trophy for the 2014 NCA Chant Champions as well as the coveted Spirit Award.


Denfeld Robotics Team Alliance Wins Inaugural Gitchi Gummi Competition

   The Duluth East Daredevils Robotics Team hosted the first Minnesota full court summer competition at East High School for 8 teams across the upper Midwest.  The teams competed in last year’s game, “Aerial Assist,” on a full FIRST Robotics playing field.  

   The winning alliance was Denfeld Nation Automation “DNA” Robotics Team 4009 and Team 2169 KING TeC from Prior Lake, MN. The Duluth East Daredevils Team 2512 and Team 876 from Northwood, ND took second place in the competition.  


Superintendent, Principal, Fly with US Navy Blue Angels

   Superintendent Bill Gronseth and Duluth East High School Principal Laurie Knapp had an opportunity to fly with US Navy Blue Angel #7 Lt. Ryan Chamberlain this week during the Duluth Air and Aviation Expo. “It’s amazing to get a firsthand look at what these pilots and their aircraft are able to do,” said Gronseth. “It was the experience of a lifetime.  My sincere thanks to the US Navy Blue Angels for providing us this opportunity.”  


Duluth East Captains Start Leadership Training Program

  The Certified Team Captain program at Duluth East kicked off on Thursday August 14 with presenter Craig Hillier and 59 Captains from Fall, Winter and Spring Sports. The course provides leaders the tools and strategies to have a season of significance by completing a comprehensive online leadership training program that will certify each participant upon completion. 

   "I believe the Certified Team Captain online course, materials, and workshops have started us down the path of positive change in our culture at Duluth East. It has provided our leaders with a solid level of leadership understanding and skills, which will enable our young leaders to create positive relationships and lead with class and on and off the field of play,” said Shawn Roed, Duluth East AD.

   Certified Team Captain training is a blend of interactive surveys, videos by Craig Hilliar, a nationally recognized author and speaker, interviews with top-notch athletes and speakers, articles and exercises on leadership, online workbooks and meetings throughout the year.


School Board Receives Information on School Gardens, Healthy Eating Initiatives

  During the August Education Committee Meeting,  Jamie Zak, from Duluth Community Gardens, presented an overview of the School Garden Projects and Healthy Eating Initiatives activities from the past two years.  The project was funded by the Duluth Community Garden and Community Transformation Grant that will sunset in September.

Zak also presented information regarding a Regional School Garden Bus Tour available September 13.


Regional School Garden Bus Tour

Ride Free!  Catered lunch available at $10 each

Saturday, September 13, 2014

8:45AM board the bus at/4:00PM return to Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 West Third Street, Duluth

Mileage to bus stop reimbursed for regional participants

To Register:  Contact Jamie Zak, 218-310-7662 or

--Lincoln Park Middle School in Duluth:  Start here 8:45am, End here 4:00pm

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN 55806 – Front of Building

A project underway with many building and installation take-away lessons

--William Kelley School in Silver Bay:  Amazing edible schoolyard!!!  The “Fruit Bowl”, brick oven, school garden, greenhouse and on-site institutional worm composting

--Two Harbors High School:  A courtyard garden and fruit trees well-supported by the school and community.  Catered lunch here: $10.00

--East High School in Duluth:  Newly-developed agriculture science and extra-curricular-integrated

raised-bed demonstration

--Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth:  Parent-community-supported garden with connection to classroom and cafeteria

--Myers-Wilkins Elementary School in Duluth:  8, 4x12-foot, handicap-accessible raised-beds for use in various academic and social program areas


2014 Duluth East Athletic Association (DEAA) Golf Classic, Lester Park Golf Course, Sunday September 21 - Rain or Shine

Format: 4-5 Person Scramble.  Schedule:

 18 Hole Registration begins @ 9:15am

 18 Hole Shotgun Start @ 10:00 am

 9 Hole Registration begins @ 11:15am

 9 Hole Shotgun Start @ noon

 Luncheon and Ceremony @ 2:30-ish

Participation Fees (Includes Golf, golf cart and luncheon)

 18 Holes - $65 per person

 9 Holes - $55 per person

Luncheon only - $15 per person

Send Registration & Check to: DEAA, Duluth East High School, 301 North 40th Avenue East, Duluth, MN 55804.  Registrations are requested by September 15th, with payment due on September 21.  The Duluth East Athletic Association is a fundraising booster club for all Duluth East Athletic Teams. 100% of the monies raised goes to the teams. DEAA has raised >$300,000 since 1989.

For more information: Brett Hauer @ 218-481-4600,


The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Offers Free Class

   Family-to-Family is a free class for family members and friends of individuals with a serious mental illness.  The class begins on Sunday, September 7, 5:30pm-8:30pm, and continues for 12 weeks.  The location is the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth, 835 W College Street.  Preregistration is required, please contact Barb at 218-728-4397 or Cindy at 218-355-8928.  For other free classes and support groups go to


Area Learning Center Open House and Registration for the 2014-15 School Year

Tuesday September 2, 2014  8;00AM – 5:00PM  

Join us for a BBQ from 11:30AM-1:00PM

Open to students ages 15-20 for Seat based and Independent study programs

Plan to register, meet the staff, get your schedule and get your locker


ISD 709's Channel 22 Has Moved!  Charter Communications moved ISD 709’s Channel 22 to Channel 187.

ISD 709 News

posted Aug 6, 2014, 8:49 AM by Web Developer   [ updated Aug 6, 2014, 9:45 AM ]

Teachers Learn Innovative Ways to Use Technology at Tech Camp 2014

   Nearly 100 teachers and administrators attended Tech Camp 2014 at Duluth East High School in August, learning innovative ways to use technology in the classroom.  The event was organized by the ISD 709 Department of Innovation and is designed to help teachers adopt new technologies and use them to engage students and support critical thinking, collaboration, communication and

   “Imagine what it’s like for teachers, facing a room full of students that already have a full set of impressive skills – utilizing the web, social media, interactive video, audio, digital photography and more - and are putting those skills to use on a daily basis,” said Superintendent Bill Gronseth.    “Today’s young people are consumers and creators of information; they’re accustomed to immediate access to data and are gaining it through technology…as educators and adults, we can provide a model for students in the use of technology as a tool for learning.”


Denfeld Hunter Hall of Fame Honors 2014 Inductees

   Twelve outstanding individuals were inducted into the Denfeld Hunter Hall of Fame during a special ceremony held

Saturday August 2.  Nominations were made based on individual school and life achievements.  2014 Hall Of Fame Inductees include:

James Banovetz:  Senior fellow and founder of  Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies
Jean Endrizzi:  English teacher/speech coach whose career spanned nearly 30 years at Denfeld High School, inducted into the Hurley High School Hall of Fame in 2013
Fred Friedman:  Northeastern Minnesota’s chief public defender
Wayne Gatlin:  Elected to the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000
Janeé Harteau:  Minneapolis police chief
Jim Heffernan:  Longtime columnist and editorial page assistant at the Duluth News Tribune

Dave Hicks:  Member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria
Ted Litman:  Professor at the University of Minnesota, published more than 50 professional articles and reports and co-authored “Health Politics and Policy,” now in its fifth printing
Robert Lund:   Corporate vice president at General Motors,  introduced the “Seville” that made Cadillac the top luxury car company in the nation
Jack Puglisi:  Owner of the Puglisi Gun Emporium, one of the premier gun shops in the nation
Howard Sivertson:  Renowned Minnesota artist 
Betty Suliin:  40 years in the Denfeld High School office as secretary to the principal

Check the Denfeld Alumni Association website for more detail about these amazing graduates of Denfeld High School.


Look For Duluth Community Education Schedule of Classes and Activities September 6

   The Duluth Community Education Fall 2014 schedule of classes and activities will be published September 6 with the Duluth Budgeteer News.  It will also be available online for viewing and secure registration at

   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
  • Driver education
  • Aquatics classes
  • Adult enrichment and youth activities - take a class in computers, music, yoga, cooking, painting, fitness, social media, much more - something for everyone!

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

For more information about our programs email: or call 218-336-8760 or visit  www.ISD709.orgCelebrate the new season with us, see you at class!


Save the Date – September 20 UDAC Walk a Mile In Our Shoes

   Please join us for Udac’s seventh annual Walk a Mile In Our Shoes to help support STEPS, Udac’s specialized fitness center. STEPS’ specialty is providing a safe and supportive environment for people with disabilities to exercise.

Walk a Mile will be held on:

Date: September 20th

Place: UMD’s Malosky Stadium

Time: 9:00AM – 12Noon

   In addition to the walk, there will be food and a number of fun activities for folks of all ages. UMD athletes will be staffing various sport stations like football, basketball volleyball and softball, plus there will be a variety of games for the whole family to enjoy.  Come and walk a mile, or more, have some fun and help raise money for an important community program and service.

   For more information call, Dana or Laurie at 722-5867.

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