School News

ISD 709 News

posted 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.

ISD 709 News

posted Jul 18, 2014, 7:02 AM by Web Developer   [ updated Jul 24, 2014, 6:53 AM ]


--This summer, students from Denfeld High School participated in the Scott D. Anderson Leadership Forum.  The Forum provides high-quality, values-based leadership training and development opportunities for youth.  Participating students:  Ryan Benson, Lucy Billings, Kaitlin Marsaa, Brianna Montgomery, Thomas Stolee, Zane Peterson, Tyler Eaton, Liz Bergh, Crystal Armstrong and Chloe Conito- Page.

--The Duluth East Daredevils Robotic Team received a $5,000 check from the Lahti Foundation during a Duluth Huskies Baseball game in July.  The Daredevils brought their robot, Control Y, to throw foam Huskies baseballs for children to catch on the field.

--Jake Turner, Duluth East, was named to the Minnesota State High School League Baseball Coaches Association All State Team for 2014.  Turner was also honored as the Duluth News Tribune’s baseball player of the year.  Chris Olson, Frankie Hanson and Jake Turner, Duluth East, were named to the Tribunes All Area Team for 2014.

--John Rudolph, Duluth East Baseball coached was recently honored by being named to the Play Ball Minnesota North coach staff. He coached the north squad with Kyle Wojtysiak of Proctor and Frank Ivancich of Ely.  


Duluth School Board Recognizes ISD 709 Child Nutrition Department

   During their regular July meeting, Duluth School Board members took time to recognize the ISD 709 Child Nutrition Department for passing rigorous federal and state audits.  Representatives accepting the award include:

--Pam Bowe, Manager and Registered Dietitian

--Sheila Oak, Area Supervisor

--Betsy Sislo, Site Supervisor.

--Kathie Johnson, Cafe Manager, Duluth East High School

--Debbie Mckowski, Cafe Manager, Ordean East  

--Liz Russell, Cafe Manager, Lakewood  

--Jodi Puff, Summer Cafe Manager, Lester Park

--Patti Barber, Cafe Manager, Laura Mac Arthur  

--Wendy Wakefield, Cafe Manager, Stowe  

--Susan Geissler, Cafe Manager, Lowell  

   Earlier this year, food service programs at Duluth East, Lakewood and Ordean East passed a rigorous Federal/State audit by the Minnesota Food and Nutrition Department.  The ISD 709 Child Nutrition program also passed a Summer Audit and Review conducted by the US Department of Agriculture with flying colors. School district food service programs are regularly audited and must pass to remain part of the USDA food service program.

   The audits reviewed many areas including, but not limited to: Student applications; Daily business procedures in the kitchens, managers’ office and Child Nutrition Main office; HACCP compliance; Health Department Reports; Breakfast and lunch menu analysis (both nutritional and financial);  ISD 709 Wellness policy, sanitation, daily meal counts, the monthly financial claim and special diets

    The auditors were complimentary of the systems in place to serve appetizing meals to students within USDA/State regulations.


Superintendent Accepts National Award for Think Kids Project

During its annual conference in July, the National School Public Relations Association presented ISD 709 with a 2014 Gold Medallion Award for the Think Kids Community Conversation.  Superintendent Bill Gronseth accepted the award on behalf of all those who worked on this important project. 

    “There were many people involved in helping make Think Kids successful, from city, business and non-profit leaders to parents, students, teachers and staff,” said Gronseth.  “We know amazing things can happen when the community works together to support education and Think Kids is a great example.”

   The Gold Medallion Award is the highest award given by the Association in recognition of outstanding school communication programs.


Grades K-5 Social Studies Adoption

   The K-5 Social Studies Committee has completed the curriculum review process for Elementary Social Studies.  As a result of this extensive review, which included curriculum writing, review/aligning benchmarks, and evaluating materials from several vendors, it was determined that the components required for Social Studies delivery, as well as content literacy needs, will best be met with the purchase of the Pearson-Prentice Hall My World Social Studies Program. 

   The components of this program fit the need for social studies delivery as well as content literacy and allows for flexibility in terms of instructional texts and leveled readers to promote growth in reading among diverse learners.  The total cost of the adoption is $238,381.92.  


Grades 7 and 8 Social Studies Adoption

   The Middle School Social Studies Committee, including all middle school social studies teachers, has completed the curriculum review process for Middle School Social Studies.  Based on an extensive review process, which included reviewing/aligning benchmarks, curriculum writing, and evaluating materials, it was determined that Pearson-Prentice Hall American History and My World Geography are the best fit with regards to benchmarks. 

   For example, the American History text fits the unique time period set out by the benchmarks as it is a custom Minnesota version and the overall layout of the text and individual pages is student-friendly and at the appropriate level.  Differentiated reading level materials are available and included.  The total cost of the adoption is $122,048.64.


Hillside YouthTheatre presents “Constellation Revelation and the Big Space

   Students in the Hillside Youth Theatre program at Myers-Wilkins Elementary School are excited to perform an original musical play production, Constellation Revelation and The Big Space. The public is invited to attend.  

Matinee Performances:  July 23, 24, and 25 at 1:00PM

Evening Performances:   July 24 (special fund raising event beginning at 5:00 with appetizers, music, and

silent auction, $15 donation; play performance 7:00PM) and July 25 at 7:00PM

Performances will be held in the Myers-Wilkins Auditorium at East High School  (301 N. 40th Ave. East)

Admission is free (with the exception of the July 24 evening fundraiser)

Children must be accompanied by an adult.  

   The script, written by local playwright Jean Sramek, takes the audience on a comedic adventure as they explore the mysteries and wonders of space through different historical and cultural perspectives.  Mythology and science entwine as characters take you on an adventure through the universe to unravel the mystery about the true identification of Ursa Major.

   For More Information:  Jen Eddy, Executive Director

Ph: 218-336-8860 x8  or


Minnesota Immunization Laws

   Immunization laws protect everyone because high immunization levels prevent disease outbreaks. Minnesota has various laws requiring immunizations for children and adults enrolled in child care, school, and college settings. Legal exemptions are allowed - both for medical reasons and conscientiously held beliefs.

   Minnesota’s Immunization Laws require all students to provide documentation of vaccination or a legal exemption in order to enroll or remain enrolled in school or in a childcare facility.

--Students whose families do not provide documentation of vaccination or a legal exemption may be excluded from school.

--We want all children to be in school – please take steps to provide documentation of vaccination or to file legal exemption with your school.

   Note, new state immunization requirements for schools, child care and early childhood programs begin September 1, 2014. They include new requirements for students entering 7th Grade and students enrolled in childcare and early childhood programs.

--For a list of required immunizations, check the August ISD 709 Back To School Packet for a list of Frequently Asked Questions and the “Are Your Kids Ready?” Immunization Schedule. Or, check the Minnesota Department of Health Website:

--To obtain documentation of your child’s vaccinations, contact your healthcare provider or call the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection at 651-201-5503 or 1-800-657-3970.

--To have your child immunized contact your healthcare provider or the St. Louis County Department of Health at 218-725-5210 or toll free 800-450-9777.

-- Parents may file a medical exemption signed by a health care provider or a conscientious objection signed by a parent/guardian and notarized.  Notary services are available at no cost through ISD 709 Administration. Please call to make an appointment:

--ISD 709 Office of the Superintendent: 218-336-8752

--ISD 709 Human Resources: 218-336-8718

--ISD 709 Business Services: 218-336-8704

Notary services may also be available at low or no cost from banks, county government centers, local city hall or city managers.

More Information Available from the MN Department of Health:

ISD 709 News

posted Jun 18, 2014, 7:03 AM by Web Developer   [ updated Jun 18, 2014, 12:06 PM ]

School Board Approves FY 2015 Budget Investments to Reduce Class Size, Raise Achievement and Update Curriculum

   During the June 17 meeting, the School Board approved the budget for the fiscal 2015 school year. Investments include priorities identified through the Think Kids initiative, including about $1.45 million to hire additional teachers to reduce class size, $150 thousand for enriching and renewing curriculum, and $200 thousand to go towards improving student achievement. Together, they represent the $1.8 million gained through the second education levy question.

   About $3 million will be held and used to keep those investments in place over time and provide financial stability, given there’s no guarantee of an increase in the state formula beyond the 2014-15 school year. The Board also approved $275,000 toward aligning curriculum with State benchmarks and standards over the summer, $85,000 to support state mandated changes to employer contributions for pension plans, $200,000 for the modified closed high school campuses and about $275,000 in savings.

   By choosing to invest conservatively, steps taken to reduce class size and impact student achievement and curriculum can be maintained over a longer period of time.


2014-15 General Fund Reserve Projected at $9.6 Million

   The ISD 709 General Fund Reserve is projected at about $9.6 million for 2014-15. Board policy requires maintenance of a reserve of about 10% of expenditures and building the reserve comes with recommendation from Moody’s Investor Service and the ISD 709 Community Finance Committee in order to provide financial stability.


Duluth School Board Honors Pheasants Forever of St. Louis/Carlton County for Outdoor Classroom Support

   During their regular June meeting, members of the Duluth School Board took time to recognize Pheasants Forever of St. Louis & Carlton County for its work in creating the Habitat for Homecroft outdoor classroom and donating curriculum and equipment to the school. Phil Storsteen, Chapter President; Matthew Bremer, Chapter Vice President; and David Lood, Chapter Youth Director, were present for the recognition.
   Habitat for Homecroft helps provide hands-on learning about wildlife ecology, conservation and biology within a natural environment. Curriculum and equipment donated by Pheasants Forever will allow all grades to explore, photograph and study nature with a "hands-on" approach in the outdoor classroom.  During the meeting Pheasants Forever presented a check for $2,500 to ISD 709 to support the Lester Park Elementary School Forest bridge project.


ISD 709 Teachers Work Together To Align Curriculum

   Nearly 100 ISD 709 elementary, middle and high school teachers are working this summer to review and revise curriculum documents used to demonstrate alignment to the latest Minnesota standards and

benchmarks. Aligning curriculum is akin to creating a map which shows, step by step, where classrooms are going with each subject and how they’re going to get there.

   Both the Minnesota Department of Education and school districts review and update their curricular “maps” for mathematics, English language arts, science and social studies on a regular basis.

   “This is the real work of educators,” said Superintendent Bill Gronseth. “To be in deep discussions about what we want our students to know and be able to do as a result of their educational career in ISD 709 and how we ensure all students have continued access to an excellent education.”

   Aligning curriculum to state standards is an important goal in the ISD 709 4-year Continuous Improvement Plan and is an expectation of the Minnesota Department of Education. Once alignment is complete, formative assessments will be created and teachers will take part in staff development related to the standards.


Updated Biology Curriculum Approved

   The K-12 Science Curriculum Review Committee completed the review process for General and Honors Biology and presented their proposal for the adoption of textbooks and supplemental materials. The Committee recommended and the School Board approved investing $103,176 toward purchase of Glencoe Biology by Mader from McGraw-Hill.


Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) Curriculum Approved

   Members of the Automotive Program Business Advisory Committee have completed the Curriculum Review process for updating and maintaining national certification. The Committee recommended and the School Board approved purchase of the CDX Automotive Curriculum for $3,745.

   AYES provides opportunities for real-life applications of knowledge gained in the classroom, especially math, science and communication skills, and offers academic and on-the-job challenges in accordance with the highest standards for automotive technical programs in the country.


“Why We Play” Coaches Training Event

   Over 100 coaches and administrators from Denfeld, Duluth East, Cloquet, Hermantown, and Proctor gathered at Denfeld High School for a training event called, “Why We Play.” Staff from the Minnesota State High School

League (MSHSL) presented the conference, organized by school activity directors.

   Jody Redman, Associate Director of the MSHSL, and Tom Cody, Hall of Fame basketball coach, led a discussion that participating schools hope will influence a culture, approach and philosophy intentionally focused on students first, and athletes that want to challenge themselves beyond winning.

   Redman said that while winning is certainly a goal, the purpose of an athletic/extra-curricular activity is to help students challenge themselves emotionally, socially and behaviorally, to compete and grow beyond winning.

   “It’s really about creating awareness around doing what we do,” Redman said. “It’s human growth and development of kids and connecting them to their schools. Our goal is to win, we’re going to plan, prepare and do all those things to try to win but it is not our purpose.”
   Redmond added that youth-level parents and coaches might benefit from answering four questions asked in Joe Ehrmann’s book, “Inside Out Coaching;” Why do I coach? Why do I coach the way I do? How does it feel to be coached by me? How do I define and measure success?
   “If we’re only concerned about how a kid dribbles a basketball, then we’re missing an opportunity to teach kids lessons that will sustain them for their lifetime,” said Redman.



--Taneasha Muonio, recent graduate of Denfeld High School, is the recipient of a 2014 Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc. Scholarship of $2500. An avid dancer and musician, a volunteer in several organizations including Boys and Girls Club Snacktime, Take Back The Night, Blood Drive and Food Shelf, among others, Taneasha earned and maintained a 4.0 GPA while working several part-time jobs throughout her high school career.

--Nikolai Breimon, Lincoln Park Middle School, received the Apollo-Gilruth Continuum Award for academic excellence. The Duluth Aviation Institute along with the Lincoln Park Middle School science teachers presented eleven lessons in aviation science this past semester. Nikolai excelled in all classroom activities, extra credit projects, 11 plane quizzes and the post-test. The top 15% students who excelled throughout the program were rewarded with a Young Eagles Flight from Sky Harbor Airport in June.

--The Ordean East Middle School Destination Imagination team- Lauren Nyenhuis, Kianna Donnellan, Pearl Elliot and Andrea Plewa - competed at Global Finals in Tennessee. They took 19th place, out of 80 teams! The team participated in the Pandemonium Improvisational Challenge, which requires participants to create an original five-minute improvisational skit, develop the interaction between a character from the past and a contemporary character, show how those characters work, using the time period, their occupations and skills, to deal with Pandemonium, and use stage makeup to create, develop, and/or enhance one skit character. Over 16,000 people attended the global event and the girls visited with teams from around the US, as well as Qatar and Mexico.

--Jake Turner and Chris Olson, Duluth East High School, were recently elected by the Minnesota State High School Baseball Coaches Association to participate in the Play Ball Minnesota All-Star Series. Jake and Chris were selected based upon their strong 2014 season. Jake Turner is 6-1 with a 0.88 earned run average. Chris Olson was batting .528 when selected and finished with a strong .370. They are playing for the North Squad.

ISD 709 News

posted Jun 4, 2014, 8:24 AM by Web Developer   [ updated Jun 5, 2014, 6:44 AM ]

Lincoln Park Students Work On Community Improvement Projects

   Lincoln Park Middle School 7th grade students participated in the Kids in the Community Day. Students, teachers, and chaperones gathered in the auditorium for a sendoff by Mayor Don Ness and Officer Mike LaFontaine of the Duluth Police Department. They then headed into the community, focusing on West Duluth, to work on projects such as trash clean up, trail maintenance/building, gardening, tree planting, and more!

   The day provided an opportunity for students to give back to their community and learn outside of the traditional school learning environment. Each student received a Kids in the Community Day t-shirt which was designed by their classmate, Lily Bolt. Lincoln Park is looking forward to making this an annual event.


Denfeld, Duluth East Students Receive 2014 Hase Family Scholarships

   Sam Kemp, Denfeld, and Trygve Rennan, Duluth East, will each receive a $2,500 scholarship from the Hase Family Scholarship Trust. The Trust honors Fred Hase, who graduated from Duluth Central High School in 1915 and provides an annual scholarship for two Duluth high school graduates who are enrolling in a post-secondary school in the fall. Names of eligible students from each school are provided and two are chosen by random drawing to receive the scholarships.


Lowell Elementary Service Learning Project Helps Animal Allies

   Kindergarten and 3rd grade students from Lowell Elementary helped out with a Bark and Bake for Animal Allies. Nearly 30 students rolled dough and cut dog bone shapes to help create animal treats and then helped bag and label them for use at the annual Walk for Animals event in Duluth. According to a letter from Animal Allies, “The other part that is so great is the participation by families in the making of dough and the parental help the day of the event. It’s so nice to see the teamwork of teachers, parents, students to do such a positive thing for animals.”


ISD 709 Teachers Receive Grants for Creative Classroom Projects

   After a careful review of grant applications, the Trustees of the Duluth Public Schools Fund (managed by the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation) are pleased to announce awards of over $14,000 to the following 2014 Grant Recipients:

--Elizabeth Chelseth, Laura MacArthur Elementary School - iPads for Kindergarten: Purchasing of iPads and educational applications to be used with kindergarten students struggling with reading or math.

--Adair Ballavance and Ethan Fisher, Denfeld High School - Senior Wisdom Retreat: The Wisdom Retreat is a special day for seniors and the culmination for the day helps bring closure to not only the year, but closure to their public school education.

--Leann M. Udesen, Ordean East Middle School - Global Access: Purchasing 6 Chromebook computers and a world interactive globe.

--Sheila Larsen Darker, Duluth East High School - Teaching a Flipped Classroom: Purchasing Chromebook computers to support a flipped classroom model for teaching mathematics to high school students performing below grade level.

--Gwyn Curran, Congdon Park Elementary School - Individual Leveled Learning: Purchasing iPads for kindergarden students to increase reading, math and writing levels.

--Tanya Hallgren, Laura MacArthur Elementary School - Literacy in Kindergarten: Purchasing of appropriate level books and other hands-on literacy tools in a kindergarten classroom.

--Tanya Hallgren, Laura MacArthur Elementary School - Social Studies for Kindergartners: Purchasing Social Studies discovery tools -- a hands-on way to promote learning and the development of higher level thinking skills.

--Nathan Norman, Ordean East Middle School - Closing the Achievement Gap: Purchasing a license to use the web-based ALEKS mathematics software.

--Tanya Hallgren, Laura MacArthur Elementary School - Scientific Kindergartners: Purchasing Scientific discovery tools -- a hands-on way to promote learning and the development of higher level thinking skills.

--Tanya Jackson, Piedmont Elementary School - Lego Robotics at Piedmont: Funding support for a Lego Robotics Club at Piedmont Elementary School.

   Since 1996, the DPSF has distributed grants within ISD 709 ranging from $200 to $2000 for projects that show creativity and innovation to improve the classroom experiences for Duluth Public School students. Since it began making grants, the fund has enriched the Duluth Public Schools by over $275,000.

   For more information about the Duluth Public Schools Fund, its grant program, or how to contribute to the Fund, please contact Chairman Scott Fisher at 218-727- 6881 ( or Jon Blevins, Development Officer, Duluth Superior Area Community foundation at 218 726-0232 ( or



--Lauren Hesch, Duluth East High School, is the recipient of Lowenstine Honors Scholarship from Conserve School. This scholarship, valued at more than $15,000, is awarded on a competitive basis to students who demonstrate academic achievement, character, and commitment to environmental stewardship.

--Jennifer Madole, Duluth East, is the recipient of a Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Grant for School Gardens. The award of $400 will be used to purchase soil for the Duluth East High School Garden. The garden is a school-wide project led by students in the Agriculture Science classes and FFA. 

ISD 709 News

posted May 28, 2014, 7:57 AM by Web Developer

Lowell Elementary Grandparents Day/Memorial Day Event

   Last week, students at Lowell Elementary held a special day to honor grandparents. They invited their elder relatives and friends to visit the school and take part in several activities, including an outdoor program in honor of Memorial Day.  The program included raising of the American flag, several student speakers, singing of the National Anthem and an honor guard.


Volunteers Needed for 6th Annual Congdon Trail Run May 31

   Volunteers are needed to help out the day of the 6th Annual Congdon Cougar Chase Trail Run, Saturday May 31, 2014, through the beautiful trails of Lester River Park. Events start at 8:00AM and include a 0.5 Kitty K, 1K, 5K run/walk, and 10K run. Proceeds will be used to purchase Chromebooks and a charging cart for Congdon Park Elementary. If you’re willing to help, visit to sign up or visit Facebook for more information and registration.


Ordean East Middle School Duluth History Projects On Display May 29

   Ordean East Middle School 6th graders are having an open house to show off their hard work creating amazing Duluth History projects. The event will be held in the Ordean East Middle School Cafeteria, 2900 East Fourth Street, on Thursday, May 29th from 3:30PM - 5:30PM. Students will have their exhibits up and will be there to answer questions.


Enjoy Duluth’s Aquatic Facilities


Cost:  $3, bring your own suit and towel

Perfect for families and groups.  Call first if your group

 is 8 or more persons.

Lincoln Park Community Pool, 3215 West Third Street

June 9 – July 31, Monday – Thursday 1:00PM to 3:00PM

(no open swim June 30 – July 4)

Ordean East Community Pool, 2900 East Fourth Street

June 9 – July 31, Monday – Thursday 1:00PM – 3:00PM

(no open swim June 30 – July 4)


For more information:

or 218-336-8760.


Students Identify Recipe for School Cafeteria Use

   Family and Consumer Science students at Lincoln Park and Ordean East Middle Schools took part in a Hummus Recipe Test Kitchen project. Students learned about bean varieties and cultivation, then taste tested beans and executed 5-7 different hummus recipes to identify a final recipe for use in ISD 709 middle school cafeterias. 

   The project grew out of a request from the ISD 709 Child Nutrition Department for a new way to use canned beans.  The hummus test kitchen project was coordinated by the Duluth Community Garden Program’s Healthy School Food Coordinator.  

   ISD 709 is the recipient of a Minnesota Department of Agriculture Farm to School equipment grant of $24,000, which provides light processing equipment to increase use of Minnesota and Superior grown produce.  The hummus recipe developed by the middle school students will be among the first used to train middle school food service staff on this equipment. 


City’s Youth Flag Football League Registration Open Until June 6

   Flag Football is a non-contact sport which teaches boys and girls in grades 2 through 5 the fundamentals of football.  More importantly, it teaches kids sportsmanship and how to participate in sports while still having fun.  Last year, over 150 students signed up for this fun activity.  Games will be played primarily on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. All games are played at the Wheeler Softball Field Complex at 3501 Grand Avenue. Registration fee is $60. Deadline to register is June 6th.  For more information or to obtain a paper application, call Jesse in the City’s Parks and Recreation office at 218-730-4314.



-- Congdon Park teacher Cindy Miller received a $400 grant from the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation. The money will be used to purchase tools and supplies to sustain a Three Sisters Garden Integration project. Students will explore the cultural significance of the survival gardens as well as companion gardening and then implement what they learn in the Congdon School Community Garden.

-- During East High School Honor Night, the Lakewood School Foundation and the Lakewood American Legion Post 571 awarded a $1,000 dollar scholarship to Ashley Herman for her participation and leadership in school and community activities. This award will be an annual practice. The Lakewood American Legion provided funds for this scholarship, which is given to former Lakewood Elementary School students.

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