School News

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 16, 2014, 5:21 PM by Communications ISD 709

See what the teachers, staff, students and families of ISD 709 have accomplished over the past year.

This 16-minute video features school photos, video and information related to student achievement, safe and welcoming environments and effective, efficient systems.


INVITATION:  Gift Make 'n Take

Sponsored by the Department of American Indian Education

Wednesday December 17, 5:00PM – 7:30PM 

Gimaaji Building/AICHO-Trepanier Hall, 202 W. 2nd Street, Duluth

A variety of art and craft activities will be available for you to make and take home!

Dinner provided

Free and open to the community

Please contact Diana Anstett 336-8830 x4166 with questions.



Duluth School Board Honors Student Representatives

During the regular December meeting, members of the Duluth School Board took time to recognize Kobi Tremble, Denfeld High School, and Paul Manning, Duluth East High School, who have served as student representatives to the Board for the past year. 

   In this leadership role, Kobi and Paul invested time and effort to learn more about how the school district operates and how decisions are made.  They shared information with their peers and brought a thoughtful student perspective to the meetings.  Their participation has helped immensely as Board members and administrators consider decisions impacting student achievement, school climate and effective systems.

   Many thanks to Kobi and Paul for their service to the Duluth School Board. 


Feeding Local Kids Makes Donation to Fight Hunger

   During the December School Board meeting, Anne Krafthefer, a teacher at Lester Park Elementary School, and Bernie Burnham, President of the Duluth Federation of Teachers, made a special presentation to representatives from CHUM and Second Harvest.

   One in five children in St. Louis County is at risk of going hungry - in the spirit of addressing this community concern, Anne helped organize the first annual Feeding Local Kids event.  Fifth grade Lester Park students worked with WDIO-TV to help write and film a PSA to promote the event. Thrivent Financial and the Duluth Federation of Teachers provided funds for donation bags.  Over forty classrooms and student organizations took part in the event.  Donations totaled $2,675, which was split between CHUM and the Second Harvest Backpack program – enough to provide more than 300 children with a weekend’s portion of food.  Over 200 pounds of food was collected and delivered to CHUM through this event. 


INVITATION:  Please join us!

Academic Excellence Online High School Open House

Wednesday January 7, 2015

3:00PM – 6:00PM

215 North First Avenue East, Room 100  Duluth, MN

--Lessons Demonstrations


--Meet the teachers

--Take an assessment; see if online learning is a good fit

--Test personal devices for ease and compatibility

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

More Info:  218-336-8766 or


Science classes at Merritt Creek Academy conducted a hands-on study of pollywogs and tadpoles found in a pond and creek near the school this fall.  All classes were involved in taking water and air temperatures and analyzing soil samples from three different places around the school.  Students captured some of the pollywogs/tadpoles and recorded data on the size, color, back and front legs and transparency.  They identified them as Cope’s Gray Tree Frog which is not found in the Duluth area and determined they were hatching very late.  The students learned how to make observations and record data; how to identify a species; that frogs make an anti-freeze that protects them over the winter and that frogs are amphibians and that amphibian means “double life.”  Deanna M. Erickson, Education Coordinator of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, came to the school to help the students’ with this project and said she was impressed with the detail of the observations.  Working with their teacher they wrote a press release about the project.  


Merritt Creek and Northwood Students Learn From Dralion Performers

Students at Merritt Creek Academy had an opportunity to meet performers from Dralion Cirque de Solei, which appeared at the DECC in November.  The performers came from Thailand, Australia and Great Britain and demonstrated the art of clown and mime.   Students and staff from Northwood Children Services had an opportunity to attend a live afternoon Dralion performance at the DECC. 



--Devin Johnson and Jackson Churchill, Duluth East High School, earned 1st and 3rd Place at the UMD Physics Olympiad.  Physics Olympiads are competitions in Physics for high-school students and involve solving theoretical and experimental problems.  They are held regularly in many countries and are conducted at city, regional, state, country, and international levels. Close to 20 students competed in the Duluth event and took home t-shirts and Frisbees.  Check this link for more information:


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ISD 709 News

posted Dec 11, 2014, 11:16 AM by Communications ISD 709

Educators Work to Update Elementary Report Cards

   Curriculum specialists, administrators and teachers are working together on an updated elementary report card that would help provide more information to parents about where their child is making progress and where they may need additional help in math, reading, science, social studies and other subjects.  

   Development of the report card is supported by work being done by teachers and administrators across the district to update curriculum and assessments.  The report card will include a brief Curriculum Guide to help families understand more about what their children are learning and how they’re being assessed. 

   “This update is much needed and will provide our families with more insight into their child’s progress,” said Superintendent Bill Gronseth.  “I appreciate the time and diligence invested by this committee and by all involved in this important work.”


ISD 709 Researching More Elementary World Language Immersion Programs

Educators are researching the possibility of adding more elementary world language immersion programs to ISD 709.  Assistant Superintendent Ed Crawford provided an update at the December Education Committee meeting.  Next steps would include visits to successful immersion programs in Minnesota and parent and community input into which languages and elementary schools might be considered.  Lowell Elementary currently has a successful Kindergarten Ojibwe Immersion classroom. 

   “In our high schools, Spanish attracts the largest number of students, particularly those who take two years of language to meet college requirements,” said Crawford.  “Mandarin Chinese is in its seventh year and continues to grow in popularity. While French courses were dropped several years ago due to lack of enrollment, there appears to be renewed interest in this language.”  

    Students could benefit from elementary immersion programs in a variety of ways:

·         An opportunity to develop a high level of proficiency in their native language and a second language.

·         High quality academic preparation—students who participate in World Language Immersion tend to achieve at or above grade level

·         Data shows cognitive benefits come with being bilingual. 

·         Reduces the achievement gap.  African American native English speakers in dual language programs tend to score significantly higher on state tests than other African American students.

·         Students gain an appreciation for diverse cultures and become more cross-culturally competent.


Annual Independent Audit Notes ISD 709 Fund Balance Increase

   Each year ISD 709 undergoes an independent audit of financial statements as required by law and as part of the annual

budget process.  During the December Business Committee meeting, the independent audit firm presented their preliminary results.  A final report will be posted for public review at   

   During their presentation, the audit firm noted the following:

  • The General Fund fund balance increased by $2.2 million to a total of $4.1 million.
  • They noted the positive impact of passage of the 2013 Education Levy and new state legislative action related to school funding.
  • Management was cooperative and helpful, records were available and in good condition
  • No significant deficiencies or material weaknesses over compliance or internal controls over federal programs
  • No noncompliance with Minnesota Statutes tested
  • Disclosures are adequate, clear and complete

In their opinion, the statements represent a true and fair picture of ISD 709 finances.


ISD 709 Recommended Pay 2015 Levy Below State Average

   During the December Business Committee meeting, administrators provided a pay 2015 levy increase recommendation of about 1.5% or $490,000.  This is below the statewide average projected by the Minnesota Department of Education of about 5.9% for all school districts.  It’s also below the projected maximum levy of about 1.9% certified by the School Board in September.

   Preliminary estimates were developed in preparation for the maximum levy certification process required by MDE and in preparation for the annual Truth in Taxation meeting December 16 at 6:30PM in Historic Old Central High School, 215 N. 1st Avenue East.


ISD 709 Teachers Are Presenters at National Conference

   Early Childhood Special Education teachers Maureen Olek and Missie Stevenson were presenters at the National Division of Early Childhood Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.  Their workshop, “Gateway to a Collaborative Teaching Approach,” provided ideas related to co-teaching as a General Ed and Special Ed collaborative. The model allows students an opportunity to learn from one another in a general education setting where there is ample support to meet individual needs and allow increased educational outcomes.


Piedmont Pilots Second Grade Lunchtime Incentive

   Piedmont second grade is piloting an incentive program to recognize students modeling cafeteria expectations.  When a class demonstrates the expectations during their lunch period, the teacher’s name will be entered into a monthly drawing for a chance to win lunch with the principal.  The winning class will sit at a decorated table and each student will receive a goody bag to take home.


From the City of Duluth:

Free Skating Event:  Skate with Santa and Rudolph

Wednesday, December 17 • 6:30PM-8:00PM

Duluth Heritage Sports Center, 120 South 30th Avenue West

--LIVE DJ with Special Holiday Music Program

--Cookie Decorating, Holiday Crafts and Winter Science Demonstrations

ISD 709 News

posted Dec 5, 2014, 1:33 PM by Communications ISD 709   [ updated Dec 5, 2014, 2:23 PM ]

Teachers Continue Work on Updating Curriculum

  Groups of teachers from across the district are taking part in grade level curriculum and content area meetings.  It's a

continuation of work to update curriculum that began this summer and involves staff development and feedback opportunities.   

   “It’s exciting to see all the good work being done by these teams,” says Superintendent Bill Gronseth.  “For the first time in years we’re in a position to review and update our curriculum on a regular basis and develop consistent assessments across the district.  These efforts will play an important role in helping raise student achievement.” 

   A portion of funds from passage of the education levy is earmarked for updating curriculum.  Discussions regarding multi-year planning for ongoing curriculum review and updates will be included in the 2015-16 budget development process.


Many thanks to all who provided feedback regarding bullying through ISD 709 community meetings and community and staff surveys!  Your input will be used as bullying policies and procedures are updated and we work to improve our safe and welcoming schools.


Grant Provides Two Health Workers at Myers-Wilkins Elementary

   Myers-Wilkins Elementary was selected as one of Minnesota’s 12 Accountable Communities Health (ACH) sites, a program bringing health care and community organizations together to create profound change in population health. The $369,172 grant will support a two-year project at the school and provide for a family health coordinator and community health worker to be based at the school. They will help families and residents of the Myers-Wilkins neighborhood make get needed health care.      


From Elizabeth Gorski:

Chester Creek Academy hosted a presentation by US Hockey Hall of Fame member, Olympian, NHL player, author and movie maker Henry Boucha.  Mr. Boucha, a Native American, talked with students about the importance of not holding grudges, learning to forgive, setting small and attainable goals and embracing their families and their culture.  He urged students to be proud of who they are and remember to dream, and spoke of leaving a piece of his heart in the hearts of the students.    


Piedmont Students Featured on KBJR TV “Making A Difference” Segment

   Piedmont Elementary students showed their appreciation for a snow removal crew responsible for clearing hundreds of driveways and parking lots in the Twin Ports by writing letters of appreciation.  The crew at Core Landscaping responded by providing students with mittens and hats!  Click below to see more, as featured on KBJR-TV’s Making A Difference segment:


From Lila Boehland

Please join us at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, December 13th from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. for the Denfeld Media Center's B&N Bookfair.  Just ask for a Denfeld voucher when you make your purchases.  A percentage of every sale will purchase books for Denfeld's Media Center, at no cost to you. Can't be there? Then use the Bookfair ID 11514932 for your online purchases between December 13th and 18th. Thank you for supporting literacy @ Denfeld!


From Rachel Jackson:

Students at Ordean East are working to decrease tardies, increase attendance and boost their achievement.  During the first grading period, about 76% of 6th grade students, 79% of 7th grade and 74% of 8th graders made the Merit Roll or Honor Roll.  For Perfect Attendance, 21%, 14% and 12% of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students respectively made the list.  The entire school is working to increase percentages for attendance and achievement and decrease tardies over the next grading period.


From the City of Duluth:

Free Winter Skating Parties 2014-15

3:00PM – 5:00PM Sunday December 7, Amsoil Arena: Skate with the Bulldogs Day!

3:00PM – 5:00PM Sunday December 28, DECC

3:00PM – 5:00PM Sunday January 25, DECC

3:00PM – 5:00PM Sunday March 8, Amsoil Arena

All Skating Parties are Free!  Bring your own skates.  No Chairs, sticks, pucks or shoes on the ice.

Kids 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  Helmets strongly recommended for children

18 years and younger.


From Nicholas DeShaw:

Avalon Educational Institute presents the First Annual Brazilian Capoeira Batizado  

The event will include a free show and live demonstration of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira.

It will be held on Saturday December 6 at 5:00 pm, dinner at 7:15 pm at Avalon Educational Institute (404 W. Superior St) A fantastic cultural event for everyone featuring many special guests from around the country!


Green Ribbon Schools Award – Application Available

   Apply for the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award and be recognized for your school’s efforts at being Green! This award honors public and private early childhood, elementary, middle and high schools, school districts, and institutions of higher education that are exemplary in:

• Reducing environmental impact.

• Improving health and wellness.

• Providing effective environmental education.

Awardees receive a plaque and a flag for the school, local recognition, and an invitation to the national ceremony in Washington, DC. The awards are announced on Earth Day and the national award ceremony occurs in the summer. Access the application for Minnesota schools and local informationView additional information about the national Green Ribbon Schools program on the U.S. Department of Education websiteThe application is due by January 5, 2015. For assistance with questions, contact John Olson, 651-582-8673.

ISD 709 News

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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

Duluth School Board Honors Denfeld, Duluth East Key Clubs

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

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

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

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

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


Newly Tenured Teachers

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


Operation Warm :  Firefighters Deliver Jackets to Children

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


Updates to Transfer Policy Will Take Class Size Into Consideration

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


INVITATION:  American Indian Game Night

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

Trepanier Hall, 202 W. 2nd Street, Duluth

Wednesday November 19, 2014

5:00PM - 7:30PM

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

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


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



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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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

Nomination Deadline November 15 for 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

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

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

   Eligible nominees must meet these criteria:

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

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

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

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


Duluth East Students Host Walk to Raise Awareness of Bullying

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


Food For Thought Student-Run Restaurant Open to the Public

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Duluth Public Library | Downtown Family Volunteer Day

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

Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior Street

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Booths:

Great Lakes Aquarium, Salvation Army, Second Harvest Food Bank

Questions? 218-730-4334 or



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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

ISD 709 Annual Report for the Community Available Online

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

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


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

Saturday November 8, 2014

Beginning in Sister City Park (above Endion Station)

10:00AM Walk

10:45AM Social Hour

11:15AM Program

Wear blue to show support!


INVITATION:  Join the Community Conversation on Bullying Behavior

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

Tuesday November 11

Myers-Wilkins Elementary 

1027 N. 8th Avenue East

6:30PM - 8:00PM

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

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


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

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

ISD 709 News

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

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

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

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

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

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

ISD 709 News

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


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


Duluth School Board Honors School Progress in Student Achievement

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

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

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

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

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



November PTSA Community Program Presentation

Parent Involvement And Diversity in our Schools

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


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

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

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

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


Denfeld Key Club Celebrates 30 Years of Service

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


ISD 709 Construction Tech Students Building Garage in Lakeside

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


Duluth East High School Hall of Fame Honors Inductees

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

   2014 Hall Of Fame Inductees include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


School Board Meeting Coverage Moves to Channel 187 on Cable

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

ISD 709 News

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

You Are Cordially Invited:

ISD 709 Annual Report to the Community

Thursday November 6, 2014

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

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

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

Lincoln Park Middle School

3215 West Third Street, Duluth, MN


ISD 709 Community Conversations on Bullying Behavior

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

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

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

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

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

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


Teachers Train in October

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


Public Auction:  ISD 709 Surplus Equipment, Furniture

Saturday November 1, 11:00AM

330 ½ Garfield Avenue, Duluth

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

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

Removal:  No later than Tuesday November 4

Go to for photos and more listings

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


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


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

For more information:



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

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

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